For large swaths of America, the concept of a space-based branch of the military was relegated to science fiction until President Trump made the announcement that he was directing the Pentagon to establish a “Space Force,” but for those attuned to the defense industry, it was merely another bullet point in a long standing debate about how best to counter orbital threats to America’s national security.

That confusion was exacerbated by much of the national media coverage devoted to the Space Force — much of which focused on the President’s politics or exaggerated extrapolations of what a space branch may actually do, very little of which gave the subject at hand the due diligence it deserved. Establishing a Space Force, as SOFREP has covered in the past, would not militarize space, it would ensure the United States is keeping up in a theater that has already been militarized for years.

Whether the best way to counter orbital threats posed by the likes of Russia or China is the establishment of a new branch or the endeavor is better suited for its current place beneath the Air Force’s purview remains the subject of heated debate, but the tasks any body of the U.S. military responsible for space would be given remain the same regardless — and they’re a lot more boring than the flashy headlines and graphics may have you believe.

Initially, there would be very little difference between how a Space Force would operate and how the U.S. Air Force Space Command already conducts business. Currently, the U.S. military already employs more than 36,000 people spread throughout 134 locations as a part of the national space defense endeavor, and none of them are equipped with jet boots or laser cannons. For the most part, these professionals are tasked with providing support to the ground forces in combat, managing the launch and operation of orbital assets like communications and reconnaissance satellites, and with monitoring global activities such as ballistic missile launches.