Soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen and Guardians. That’s the line-up for personnel in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and America’s newest armed service — the U.S. Space Force. Vice President Mike Pence announced that personnel in the Space Force will be called Guardians. He spoke during a White House event marking the first anniversary of the U.S. Space Force. The Trump administration championed establishing the U.S. Space Force culminating in the legislation signed Dec. 20, 2019, that formed the first U.S. armed force since the Air Force was established in 1947. The United States Space Force (USSF) is the space service branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, and is one of the eight U.S. uniformed services.
“It is my honor, on behalf of the President of the United States, to announce that, henceforth, the men and women of the United States Space Force will be known as ‘Guardians,’” Pence said during the ceremonies. That historic moment was a culmination of an effort that began from the early days of this administration — from almost the first moment that the president and I spoke about space when we were campaigning for these jobs. Let me urge each and every one of you Guardians to keep pushing. … Keep pushing the vision and the mission of the United States Space Force, which is to ensure that America remains as dominant in space.”
There are roughly 4,000 Guardians in the U.S. Space Force — all from the Air Force. One of the newest members of the service is in orbit aboard the International Space Station. This is a far cry from earlier this year when Gen. John “Jay” Raymond and Chief Master Sergeant Roger Towberman were the only two members of the Space Force. That space is now a war-fighting domain is not questioned. Russia and China are aggressively seeking ways to cut into America’s dominance in space. The first two space bases are up and operating: Patrick Space Force Base and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station were renamed earlier this month.
The U.S. Space Force is organized as a military service branch within the Department of the Air Force, one of the three military departments within the Department of Defense. The Space Force, through the Department of the Air Force, is headed by the secretary of the Air Force, who reports to the secretary of defense, and is appointed by the president with Senate confirmation. In terms of personnel count, it is the smallest U.S. armed service within the U.S. Department of Defense. The Space Force consists of 2,501 personnel, and operates 77 spacecraft, including the Boeing X-37B and the Global Positioning System. The military head of the Space Force is the chief of space operations (CSO).