When President Trump directed the formation of a new branch of the U.S. military be stood up with its sights set squarely on space, many Americans scoffed at the idea, discounting it as a flight of fancy from a controversial administration. Of course, among defense officials and lawmakers, Trump’s announcement was far from the first they’d heard of a space specific branch — in fact, the formation of a “Space Corps” was even passed as a part of Congress’ 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (defense budget) the year prior.

America’s growing reliance on satellites for reconnaissance, communications, navigation and more has undoubtedly made the national defense apparatus vulnerable to a number of attacks the U.S. currently doesn’t have the means to counter. Russia and China, who both stood up space specific branches of their own militaries in 2015, have been hard at work, developing a variety of weapons platforms aimed specifically at undoing America’s orbital advantage — and the effort continues unabated. Just last week, Russia announced development plans for a new electronic warfare aircraft they touted as being capable of “disabling” enemy satellites in combat zones. There’s no question, cutting the invisible chord from America’s satellite constellations would leave the U.S. at a disadvantage, but until recently, any discussion regarding that threat had been relegated to closed-door meetings, subcommittees, and the occasional poorly received headline.

One of my challenges when I first came in this job two years ago was actually finding enough people interested and passionate about what I’m passionate about, which is where we move militarily but also nationally relative to space,” Gen. David Goldfein, the Air Force Chief of Staff, said earlier this week.

Goldfein, like many officials within the Department of Defense, has voiced his desire to keep space under the purview of the Air Force Space Command, as it has been to this point. Critics, however, have long claimed that the Air Force does not devote the necessary funding or attention to the threat looming overhead, diverting their efforts toward ongoing combat operations instead. While prioritizing the men and women in the fight makes sense to some degree, many worry that mentality will result in America falling dangerously behind in the orbital battlespace. Despite his own reservations about the president’s decision to move forward with an entirely new branch, however, Goldfein pointed out that America is finally starting to discuss and address this threat, and no matter where you stand on the subject of a “Space Force,” that is a good thing.