The United States Space Force

I mean, we do need a Starfleet, but it needs to be - nay, MUST be - a United Earth Starfleet.
— Me, upon reading the CNBC article about 45 directing DOD to create USSF

Those who know me personally know that I am a firm believe that there needs to be a Star Trek-style Starfleet, as long as it is a United Earth Starfleet. Not something controlled by one national government, but something for the benefit of all of humanity. To me, it doesn’t seem like Earth is ready for the United Earth Space Probe Agency.

However, 45 [Note 1] told the Department of Defence (DoD) to “immediately begin the process” to create a new, co-equal branch of the armed forces [2][12][17][20][23][28]. Because the Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces [Note 2] has decreed this, we have three questions to ask:

  1. Can 45 authorize a new branch of the armed forces?

  2. Do we need a new branch of the armed forces?

  3. What would this Space Force look like?

Can 45 Authorize A New Branch Of The Armed Forces?

Can a sitting president authorize a branch of the armed forces? According to my understanding of Article I Section 8 of the Constitution of the United States, no. One of the powers vested to Congress is “to raise and support armies” [4][6][12][28], as seen when the National Security Act of 1947 became law on 26 July 1947 [1][28]. Secondly, 45 has virtually no support [2][12][16][17][20][28] in creating a sixth branch [Note 3] of the armed forces.

I am hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces.
— 45 during a meeting of the National Space Council

Let’s look at the order itself (click here for the presidential memoranda). There is no mention of a new branch of the armed forces, nor is there mention of a space force [22][28]; rather, there is a lot of talk about how “space is becoming increasingly congested and contested, and that trend presents challenges for the safety, stability, and sustainability of U.S. space operations” [24], as well as the need to deal with that and future methods. Essentially, this executive order is talking about cleaning up space junk [23][24]. 45 may have been riffing, as this announcement “surprised many military officials, senior aerospace industry executives and lawmakers” [2][12][16].

Do We Need A New Branch Of The Armed Forces?

Do we actually need a United States Space Force? Is the United States Air Force Space Command not enough? Most people in government, from Defense Secretary James Mattis [2][28], to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson [17][28], to Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein [17], to Members of Congress [28], to former NASA head and Navy secretary Sean O’Keefe [28], and many more (the Wikipedia article on the USSF has a longer list of people) all believe that we do not need a space force, and that the USAF Space Command is enough.

I oppose the creation of a new military service and additional organisational layers at a time when we are focused on reducing overhead and integrating joint warfighting functions.
— 2017 letter from Defense Secretary James Mattis to the senate armed services committee

Only one nation has had a space force as a separate branch of their armed forces: the Russian Federation [Note 4] [18][19][21]. Like how the USAF Space Command is a part of the USAF, the Russian Space Forces is currently a part of the Russian Aerospace Forces [Note 4] [18][19][21]. The US and Russia are not alone in this, as there is also the People's Liberation Army Strategic Support Force [8][13][14][29] and the French Joint Space Command [9][10]. It does not appear to be necessary to have a separate branch for space, as the various space forces each are accomplishing their missions while being parts of their air forces.

What Would The Space Force Look Like?

Friend of mine send this to me - source unknown. Not shown: E-1, Basic Astronaut

I imagine that the Space Force, if it were to come into existence, would be very small. It would be divided into three subdivisions: Space Force Command, Space Force Operations, and Space Force Support. Space Force Command would have a Space Staff that looks much like the Air Staff, while Space Force Operations and Space Force Support would likely absorb the majority of the USAF Space Command, United States Army Space and Missile Defense Command, Naval Network Warfare Command, and the United States Space Surveillance Network.

The USSF might have its own basic training centers for enlisted recruits but share the USAF Academy for commissioned officers, like how the Marine Corps has their own boot camps for their enlisted recruits but use the United States Naval Academy to train their commissioned officers. There will need to be more generals to fill the Space Staff, though there may be some elimination of redundancy (if there is any). It looks to me that the Space Force will just have the same capabilities that we already have and be more expensive to operate without any gain.

Closing Thoughts

Friend of mine send this to me - source unknown.

Do we need a United States Space Force? No. Though we need to continue to reach for the stars, we’re already militarizing space. Perhaps when we all can work together for the benefit of humanity we can have a United Earth Space Probe Agency - until then, let’s not fix what’s not broken.


  1. As I have said before, I refer to the current president as 45 instead of by name - initially, it was because it was a form of shade. During the lead up to becoming president, he was the public face of hatred and bigotry, and therefore was beneath being named in public discourse. Now, as president, his intense narcissism and his continuing attempts at hiding the fact that he is poorly informed and brash makes it unpalatable to put any power to his name directly, or to link his name to the office that he holds. However, to not specify that one is talking about him is also dangerous, because he is dense enough to not understand that he is the one being talked about, and his adherents can, and have, chalked up criticism that didn’t have his name attached to it as being general political rancor. Hence, to be direct, I call him 45, or the 45th President of the United States. Let’s just hope that he’s not also the final president of the United States.
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  2. Article II Section 2 of the Constitution of the United States is the Commander in Chief clause, naming the President of the United States of America as the “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States” [5][7][22].
  3. The Coast Guard is also branch of the armed forces [3][11][25][26][27]; however, in peace time, it is a part of the Department of Homeland Security, not the Department of Defense [3][26][27].
  4. I am using the Wikipedia entries for this section due to my inability to read Russian and my lack of familiarity in how the Russian Armed Forces operates.

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Works Cited:

  1. “1947 -- The National Security Act of 1947.” Air Force Historical Support Division, United States Air Force, 28 Apr. 2011,
  2. Alexander, Harriet. “Space Force: Donald Trump's Announcement of Sixth Branch of the Armed Forces 'Surprised the Pentagon'.” The Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, 22 June 2018, 7:20PM,
  3. Allen, Erin. “Semper Paratus, Always Ready.” Library of Congress Blog, Library of Congress, 4 Aug. 2014,
  4. “Article I.” LII / Legal Information Institute, Cornell Law School, 17 May 2018,
  5. “Article II.” LII / Legal Information Institute, Cornell Law School, 17 May 2018,
  6. “Avalon Project - U.S. Constitution : Article I.” Avalon Project - Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy, Yale Law School,
  7. “Avalon Project - U.S. Constitution : Article II.” Avalon Project - Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy, Yale Law School,
  8. Costello, John. “The Strategic Support Force: Update and Overview.” The Jamestown Foundation, 21 Dec. 2016, 01:08 PM,
  9. “French Joint Space Command On Schedule to Open in July.”, 26 Apr. 2010,
  10. Gosnold. “Hearing of the French Joint Commander for Space.”, 2 June 2018,
  12. James, Deborah Lee. “Plotting a Space (Force) Time Continuum.” The Cipher Brief, 27 June 2018,
  13. “Expert: PLA Strategic Support Force a Key Force to Win Wars.” Edited by Yao Jianing, President Xi Announces Establishment of Five PLA Theater Commands - China Military Online, 6 Jan. 2016, 16:44,
  14. Kania, Elsa. “PLA Strategic Support Force: The 'Information Umbrella' for China's Military.” The Diplomat, The Diplomat, 1 Apr. 2017,
  15. Oyen, Timothy. “Congress.” LII / Legal Information Institute, Cornell Law School, 20 June 2015,
  16. Pasztor, Andy, and Gordon Lubold. “Pentagon Had Spurned U.S. Space Force, Prompting Trump's Decree.” The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company, 22 June 2018, 10:55 a.m. ET,
  17. Pawlyk, Oriana. “It's Official: Trump Announces Space Force as 6th Military Branch.”, CodyUnderwood, 18 June 2018,
  18. “Russian Aerospace Forces.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 28 June 2018,
  19. “Russian Space Forces.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 28 June 2018,
  20. Sheetz, Michael, and Amanda Macias. “Trump to DOD: 'Immediately Begin' Process of Establishing 'Space Force' as Sixth Military Branch.” CNBC, CNBC, 18 June 2018, 12:36 PM ET,
  21. “Space Force.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 27 June 2018,
  22. Strasser, Ryan. “Commander in Chief Powers.” LII / Legal Information Institute, Cornell Law School, 3 June 2017,
  23. “The Latest: Trump Signing Directive to Clean up Space Junk.” ABC News, ABC News Network, 18 June 2018, 12:57 PM ET,
  24. Trump, Donald J. “Space Policy Directive-3, National Space Traffic Management Policy.” The White House, The United States Government, 18 June 2018,
  25. “U.S. Armed Forces Overview.”, CodyUnderwood,
  26. “Understanding the Five Branches of the Military.”, 14 Mar. 2018,
  27. “Veterans Employment Toolkit.” Go to, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 26 Mar. 2014,
  28. Ward, Alex. “Trump Really, Really Wants Troops in Space.” Vox, Vox, 18 June 2018, 3:00pm EDT,
  29. Wortzel, Larry M. “The Chinese People's Liberation Army and Information Warfare.” Defense Technical Information Center,