Social media, hanging out in that slack period between Christmas and New Year’s with nothing better to do, has decided to prank aviation enthusiasts and space watchers with a totally unofficial rendition of the U.S. Space Force uniform, widely distributed on Twitter. Variously compared to crossing guard uniforms as well as those from a range of space movies (mostly of the spoof variety), the unauthorized proposals have been broadly mocked.
But they’re not real. “The uniform graphic being shared on social media is not an official U.S. Space Force uniform design concept,” Maj. Nick Mercurio told Military.com today. “The Space Force service dress uniform is still in development.”
Still, though, the U.S. Space Force, the recently announced fifth arm of the U.S. military, has been working to create itself almost out of whole cloth. Not only does it currently lack dress, physical fitness and mess uniforms, it doesn’t have a completed rank structure, official song or patch and insignia wear. “There are a couple of decisions out there that ‘good enough’ isn’t really good enough,” the Space Force’s No. 2 officer, Gen. David “DT” Thompson, the vice chief of space operations, told Military.com. “That’s the one we really want to get right, because the first time people wear it, the first time they see it, it’s going to leave a first impression.”
I would suggest just adopt the original Star Trek costumes, but, upon consideration of the fact most Space Force duty will likely require a great deal of “chair time” of one sort or another, I suspect the degree of svelte-ness needed to wear them would not create a very good look for our newest branch.
Instead of trying to come up with the “proper” unforms and ranks, maybe they should first try to figure out what the Space Force is actually supposed to do. As near as I can tell, that has not been officially defined yet.
There’s a huge amount of military orbital activity that obviously is all under their purview, also the ground-based space surveillance operations and the launch operations, both military and joint military/civilian. Then there’s research & development. There will doubtless be some friction around the edges where legacy Air Force responsibilities could go either way, but essentially it’s all set. The separate force idea is certainly defensible and probably inevitable; whether it is premature or not is the question.
What the Space Force is supposed to do? You could try reading the FAQ on the Space Force website: https://www.spaceforce.mil/About-Us/FAQs/Whats-the-Space-Force/
Q: What is the mission of the U.S. Space Force?
A: The U.S. Space Force is 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. USSF responsibilities will include developing military space professionals, acquiring military space systems, maturing the military doctrine for space power, and organizing space forces to present to our Combatant Commands.
Q: Why do we need a Space Force?
A: Space has become essential to our security and prosperity – so much so that we need a branch of our military dedicated to its defense, just like we have branches of the military dedicated to protecting and securing the air, land, and sea. Unfettered access to space is vital to national defense. Space systems are woven into the fabric of our way of life. Space affects almost every part of our daily lives and is fundamental to our economic system. For example, satellites not only power the GPS technology that we use daily, but allow us to surf the web and call our friends, enable first responders to communicate with each other in times of crisis, time-stamp transactions in the world financial market, and even allow us to use credit cards at gas pumps.
Q: What Happened to Air Force Space Command? Are the personnel now in the Space Force?
A: The organization, Air Force Space Command, was redesignated as the U.S. Space Force. The personnel who belonged to AFSPC are now assigned to the USSF, but currently remain Airmen with the U.S. Air Force. Airmen in select space-related jobs will be transferred into the USSF (becoming members of the USSF) in deliberate manner over the next 18 months, while other Airmen will remain assigned to the USSF in a supporting role.
John W.’s excellent answer lists some specific activities which are clearly relevant to a space force. I also agree with the final sentence: “The separate force idea is certainly defensible and probably inevitable; whether it is premature or not is the question.”
Actually, that’s kind of my point. Everything that the Space Force is supposed to do is already being done by the Air Force’s Space Command. Splitting it off into a separate force simply creates another bureaucracy (i.e. Command structure) that will compete for funding. That will lead to barriers to internal communication when politics and battles for funding arise. Plus, it openly signals a militarism of space that the U.S. has avoided through treaties with Russia and other nations. Yeah, I know, all nations have military based surveillance satellites in orbit, a defense-only approach for national security. But, this opens the door to possibly putting up offensive weapons, which is going down a road we don’t need to travel. Perhaps it may be inevitable, but it is certainly premature, and probably unwise. It smacks more of politics than good sense. They can always write great sounding position statements and recruiting propaganda to justify the move, but IMHO, it is unnecessary and unwise. YMMV….
Those uniforms look perfectly appropriate to “Space Force,” to me.
When they open a Space Force Academy, then we will truly have space cadets.