Listen up conspiracy theorists, schizophrenics, and other beloved readers: Some of you out there might have been wondering if Space Force will fight aliens.
Yet only a fool would pose such a question to senior defense officials. Thankfully, your friend and humble Pentagon correspondent is that fool.
During a roundtable on Friday, this reporter asked if Space Force is concerned about threats posed by extraterrestrial intelligence.
The official answer: No.
A December 2018 Defense Intelligence Agency report warns that, “potential adversaries are developing and proliferating a variety of weapons that could disrupt or deny civil and military space services.”
But the report does not mention xenomorphs, Bugs, or Cylons. (This reporter looked.)
Now it is up to Congress to decide whether to approve standing up Space Force as the sixth military service. The last time lawmakers approved the creation of a new military branch was when the Air Force became its own service in 1947.
“We want people to be recruited into the Space Force similar to the way the Marine Corps recruits Marines,” one senior defense official said. “They don't recruit them into the Navy. They actually go after the specific people with a vision that is necessary to build that culture.”
It has yet to be decided if Space Force will have its own boot camp, officials said. However, ideal Space Force personnel would be able to apply science, technology, engineering, and math skills to warfighting. (Apparently, in space no one eats crayons.)
As currently envisioned, Space Force would fall under the Department of the Air Force. The service would ultimately have about 15,000 service members and civilians, most of whom would likely be transferred from the other services, defense officials said on Friday. The Pentagon estimates that Space Force will cost $2 billion over five years.
“The Space Force will develop forces for: space situational awareness; satellite operations and global, integrated, command and control of military space forces; global and theater military space operations to enable joint campaigns (to include missile warning); space support to land, air, naval, and cyber forces; spacelift and space range operations; space-based nuclear detonation detection; and prompt and sustained offensive and defensive space operations to achieve space superiority,” according to a strategic overview of the proposed service.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has already said that Space Force would not include rifle squads to seek out and destroy new life forms.
One unresolved question is whether Space Force will have its own uniform, like the other military branches.
“They can,” said a senior defense official, who was unable to say what the Space Force uniform might look like. “That's an important detail to be worked out in the future.”
Your friend and humble narrator will be following the Space Force uniform issue as it develops.