There has always been competition between the Armed Forces branches. And with competition come jokes, memes and stereotypes. But when the U.S. military minted the country’s Space Force all the branches — even the Coast Guard — got a renewed chance to flex their muscles and make fun of the new guy. It didn’t help matters when Netflix secured the copyright for the name before the U.S. government did.
Space Force? Why not just call it Nerd Command, right? Wrong.
What Does Space Force Do?
The primary mission of the Space Force is to maintain, protect, and expand the U.S. fleet of advanced military satellites. These satellites comprise the backbone of U.S. global military operations. Think about it. In today’s day and age, there are increasingly fewer tasks that do not rely on some kind of satellite link.
“Satellites allow for instantaneous communication across battle-zones, identify enemy positions and movements, track weather patterns, guide navigational systems, and allow for precision strikes,” reports the American University School of International Service. “These advantages have bolstered the U.S. position as the leading military power in the world as the U.S. satellite fleet far outnumbers that of any other country.”
But Space Force is slated to be much more than a satellite maintenance crew. Increasing cyber threats and a rapidly developing data economy mean that our satellite communications and infrastructure are endemic to our functionality as a nation. Further, satellites are vulnerable to attack: crippling American satellites could cripple our military operations globally.
“China in particular,” writes the American University, “has homed in on this vulnerability by building a growing arsenal of anti-satellite missiles and technologies, including cyber-attacks. The Space Force’s most urgent mission is finding ways to defend satellites in order to maintain America’s preeminence in space.”
Still skeptical? Watch this video from U.S. Space Force. It frames the mission of the United States’ newest military branch in an incredibly compelling way. No more nerd jokes from us. (Maybe just a few, you know, to keep ’em honest.)