Pop-culture phenomena like Star Wars and Star Trek have influenced how the public views space force and how we view our part in it. While technology is still far away from achieving ‘Warp Speed’ and may never reach the militaristic power of the ‘Death Star’ (nor would we want it to), space plays a vital role in our world and the need to assert dominance there is about as important as the air, land, and sea. While many people mock President Trump’s decision to create the Space Force, the newest branch of the U.S. military has begun to provide important utility to military operations and can help protect the fundamental technologies people take for granted each day.

There are plenty of things that people believe the Space Force will do, that it actually won’t. According to NPR, the Space Force will not be putting military service members in space, nor will it be looking to protect Earth from asteroids or aliens– which falls into NASA’s jurisdiction. There won’t be intergalactic war vessels or super lasers, but the Space Force does have an important role to play in protecting the United States and its allies.

So, if it isn’t going to fight off aliens or colonize Mars, what is the Space Force meant for?

On the official Space Force web page, the Space Force is described as “a military service that organizes, trains, and equips space forces in order to protect U.S. and allied interests in space and to provide space capabilities to the joint force.”

What this means is that the Space Force will be responsible for developing Space Force members, or ‘Guardians’, as well as acquiring military space systems. These systems provide crucial information to troops, like GPS satellites that help the military hit targets precisely. These intelligence-gathering satellites will detect threats, assist in long-range communication, and collect data on the weather.

The Space Force will also be used to enhance the U.S. space power and organize space forces to present to Combatant Commands. In essence, the Space Force will be imperative to create a dominance of space-related powers by the U.S., providing fundamental protection to space technologies, like satellites, and creating more systems that further the technological superiority of the U.S. military.

Since its formation by President Trump in 2019, the Space Force has transformed into real military service. The Space Force has received a seal, an official organizational structure, as well as distinct terminology, such as ‘Guardians’. What all this means is that while many speculated that Biden’s administration would quickly dismantle the “joke” force, the Space Force is here to stay. During the Biden inauguration, the Space Force flag was flown, a good indication that the newly added military branch will be a long-standing one in the history of the U.S. And as more and more technology becomes dependent on space systems, the Space Force becomes more and more imperative.

Ultimately, the Space Force will provide much-needed support to current military operations, and has already begun to do so. The Space Force has already supported combat operations in the Middle East, deploying its first troops to the Arabian Desert. There will be much more utility in the Space Force to come, but as of now, the first steps have been taken- one small step for man, but one giant leap for the Space Force.

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