By Wes O’Donnell
Managing Editor, In Space News, In Military and InCyberDefense
Let’s face it: the U.S. Space Force has had a bumpy launch on the internet. Recent controversies, from their decidedly terrestrial camo uniform to the logistical nightmare of renaming numerous bases, and most recently, their logo with Starfleet Command comparisons, show that America’s youngest military branch can’t seem to catch a break.
But even though the Space Force has its detractors, the newest branch has an incredibly important role to play. America’s continued orbital dominance, in an era when Russia and China are making huge strides, is essential to not just national security, but our continued way of life.
Get started on your Homeland Security Degree at American Military University.
But wasn’t the U.S. Air Force (USAF) already performing these tasks with its Space Command? Primarily, the Space Command monitored ground-based radar, Space-Based Infrared System and Defense Support Program satellites to monitor ballistic missile launches around the world to guard against a surprise missile attack on North America.
Space Force’s Commander Must Differentiate New Branch from Others and Be Its Champion
With a new, dedicated military branch, however, comes renewed focus and budget. As a result, General John Raymond, the Air Force leader who will now head up the new Space Force, has an unenviable task. He must not only distinguish the Space Force from its sister branches, but he must be its loudest champion by continually reassuring Congress and the public that the Space Force is more than just a Trumpian campaign promise.
New Space Force Logo Drew Immediate Comparisons to Star Trek’s Starfleet Logo
As part of Raymond’s challenge to differentiate the Space Force from other military branches, he and his Department of Defense collaborators decided on a new logo that was unveiled by President Trump on Friday, January 24.
The internet made instant comparisons to a very similar logo used by Starfleet Command in Paramount Pictures’ Star Trek series. Some commenters even went so far as to suggest that Paramount should sue the DoD for intellectual property theft.
You ripped off Star Trek! pic.twitter.com/5VlSVa5JyY
— thenightbreak (@thenightbreak) January 24, 2020
The True Origin of the US Space Force Logo
While the new Space Force logo does indeed bear a resemblance to Starfleet, its real origin is much less litigation-worthy. A little research into both NASA’s logo and the logo for the U.S. Air Force’s Space Command show that the new U.S. Space Force logo borrowed and combined elements from both in what seems a completely logical provenance.
U.S. Space Force Logo. Courtesy DoD. USAF Space Command Logo. Courtesy DoD.
It makes sense to lean heavily on elements from the USAF Space Command logo as the vast majority of servicemembers under Space Command have been transferred to the new U.S. Space Force, along with their technology and assets.
As for NASA’s logo, it appears that the Space Force logo borrowed its starfield background.
NASA logo courtesy NASA/JPL
To anyone with an eye for design, you can see a very logical progression in the creation of the new Space Force logo. As for the Starfleet connection, Star Trek aired on NBC on September 8, 1966. NASA was formed on July 29, 1958. The comparisons between the new Space Force logo, which borrowed heavily from NASA’s logo, and the Star Trek logo are purely coincidental.
US Space Force Receiving Greater Criticism than Normal due to Trump Association
The true root of the problem is one of divisiveness. President Trump is perhaps the most divisive president in recent history. Because he has attached himself to the U.S. Space Force so publicly, including making announcements on behalf of the new branch, many of his opponents are quick to criticize every detail of the new Space Force.
The Space Force needs room to grow and mature as a military branch, unfettered by politics and the high temperatures that go along with it.
There are very real national security issues that the Space Force must now focus on, while simultaneously building an entirely new infrastructure. Doing so in the middle of partisan politics seems impossible.
The best thing both political parties can do is uncouple themselves from military affairs. After all, the U.S. military is one of the last nonpartisan organizations in the country.
As for the new Space Force logo, I think it is a great design with a great heritage attached to it. I’m excited to see what the future holds for America’s newest military branch.
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