By Dr. Jarrod Sadulski
Faculty Member, Criminal Justice
To ensure U.S. prosperity and security, what’s in our outer space needs to be protected just as much as our land and water. For instance, there are thousands of U.S. communication and defense system satellites orbiting the Earth, according to Dean Chang of the Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy.
According to Chang, foreign interference with global positioning system (GPS) satellites could adversely affect U.S. shipping. Similarly, if an enemy interfered with a defense system satellite, that could obstruct the ability of a missile to hit its designated target.
To combat such threats, the U.S. Space Force was created on December 20, 2019, through the National Defense Authorization Act. It is the sixth branch of the U.S. military, falling under the domain of the Department of the Air Force, and the first new military service branch since the Air Force was created in 1947.
How the Space Force Protects Our National Defense
The Space Force has an important responsibility in national defense. For example, it is involved with the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) System, according to the Space Force website.
AEFH is a joint service communications system using protected satellites that provide global, secure, and interference-resistant communications for high-priority military assets on the ground, sea, and air. The AEHF system also supplies the Department of Defense with tactical and strategic control during periods of conflict, and it utilizes space to strengthen our national defense.
In addition, the Space Force manages other essential satellite systems that support U.S. national security and military superiority. For example, the Space Force operates:
- A ground-based, L-band phased-array radar in the northern U.S. Indio-Pacific Command
- The Defense Meteorological Satellite Program that collects weather data for U.S. military operations
- The Defense Satellite Communications System that provides communications worldwide through contested environments around the globe
- Defense Support Program satellites that are an important part of North America’s early warning systems
Defense Support Program satellites protect Americans by detecting missile launches, space launches and nuclear detonations through 22,300-mile geosynchronous orbiting satellites. This information helps our national defense by providing the opportunity for U.S. military forces to respond more quickly to threats globally.
With technological advancements continuing to increase around the world, the United States must remain vigilant. Investments in space capabilities are imperative in increasing the effectiveness of our operations in each military domain, and the Space Force will enable the U.S. military to be faster, more connected, better informed, and more lethal.
U.S. adversaries are always looking for ways to deny the U.S. of space capabilities essential for national security. The Space Force protects our interests 24/7 and defends the critical infrastructures associated with space. It provides data and intelligence to keep America safe from our adversaries through various space-related defense systems and satellites.
Related link: Behold! First Images from James Webb Have Landed
Joining the Space Force
If you are interested in joining the Space Force, talk with an Air Force recruiter. The Space Force offers commissioned officer and enlisted opportunities, similar to the other branches of the U.S. military.