The Space Force Initiative

For the past few decades, advancements in space have been sought after by multiple world powers, including Russia, China, and the United States of America. The idea that space can be utilized for military purposes has been present from nearly the beginning of space exploration, resulting in a competition for the development of space technology among participating world powers. The United States has taken a modern initiative in space development by forming a new branch of its military solely dedicated to defending the United States and its allies in the unexplored frontier of space.

The United States Space Force (USSF) is a branch of the United States Military that was established on Dec. 20, 2019 with the National Defence Authorization Act. Similar to how the United States Marines falls under the United States Navy, the USSF falls under the United States Air Force. The USSF is charged with the protection of the United States and its space assets by collecting data on locations of satellites, missile launches, space debris and other operations from foreign powers. The USSF will also develop technology to maintain space superiority in relation to foreign powers.

The USSF will be extremely limited in what it can do according to the parameters of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, which dictates what a country can do in and above Earth’s atmosphere. For instance, no military installation can be constructed on any other celestial body than Earth, and no weapon tests can be conducted on other planets or natural objects. However there are some loopholes in the treaty. For example, a country may test weapons on space stations or artificial satellites it has constructed.

As promising as the USSF seems, there are logistical questions concerning its effectiveness. According to National Geographic, the USSF would most likely subsume the already established Air Force Space Command, which monitors active military satellites for the US. The USSF creates an unnecessary escalation of conflict in the world, as a strategic military advance towards space signals to the rest of the world that the United States has hostile intentions. NASA represented a global and cooperative mission when exploring the final frontier, as it worked with the Russian and European Space Agencies on numerous occasions. On the other hand, the USSF represents a bold move for the United States, the first nation to send a strong message that the next step of warfare lies in the stars. The establishment of the USSF creates the possibility to tear down all of the progress made in making the exploration of space a unifying and cohesive experience for the globe.