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While the Space Force is the newest service, the Department of Defense has been working in the space domain since the beginning of space exploration. The Space Force consolidates satellite acquisition, budget and workforce from across more than 60 different organizations into a unified, efficient, effective service for space operations.
Investments in space capabilities have increased the effectiveness of operations in every other domain. The U.S. military is faster, better connected, more informed, more precise and more lethal because of its ability to harness space effectively.
The same premise—that space is critical—holds true for the average American: Space capabilities are woven into the fabric of daily life. Satellites connect people in every corner of the globe from monitoring weather patterns to carrying television broadcasts. They also provide the positioning, navigation and timing of the GPS constellation that powers global financial networks, enable international commerce, synchronize cell phone networks and optimize critical infrastructure systems.
Access to, and freedom to operate in space, underpins our national security and economic prosperity. Yet, potential adversaries are seeking ways to deny the U.S. access to the space capabilities that are fundamental to both warfighting and our modern way of life. These adversaries have developed an array of threats—both on Earth and in orbit—that continue to grow in scope, scale and complexity.
The military and civilian Guardians who work for the Space Force protect and defend American interests in space to ensure that our forces, our allies and our people have the ability to harness space whenever and wherever they need it.
Organization and Location
The Space Force is located at the Pentagon—just like the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force. While the Space Force is a separate and distinct branch of the armed services, it is organized under the Department of the Air Force in a manner very similar to how the Marine Corps is organized under the Department of the Navy.
The Chief of Space Operations (CSO) serves as the senior uniformed Space Force officer responsible for the organization, training and equipping of all organic and assigned space forces serving in the United States and overseas. As members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Chief of Space Operations and other service chiefs function as military advisers to the Secretary of Defense, National Security Council, and the president.
In addition to its Headquarters, the Space Force has major operations in California, at Los Angeles Air Force Base and Vandenberg Space Force Base; in Colorado, at Buckley Space Force Base, Peterson Space Force Base and Schriever Space Force Base; and in Florida, at Patrick Space Force Base.
All Space Force personnel, whether civilian or military, are called “Guardians.”
As of FY23, the Space Force has more than 14,000 military and civilian Guardians.
The Space Force organizes, trains and equips personnel in order to protect U.S. and allied interests in space and to provide space capabilities to the joint forces. To that end, the Space Force manages space launch operations at the East and West Cost Space Launch Deltas. These bases provide services, facilities and range safety control to conduct DOD, NASA and commercial space launches.
Through the command and control of all DOD satellites, satellite operators provide force-multiplying effects - continuous global coverage, low vulnerability and autonomous operations. Satellites provide in-theater secure communications; weather and navigation for ground, air and fleet operations; and threat warning.
Ground-based and space-based systems monitor ballistic missile launches around the world to guard against surprise missile attacks. A global network of space surveillance sensors provides vital information on the location of satellites and space debris for the nation and the world. Maintaining space superiority is an emerging capability required to protect U.S. space assets from hostile attacks.
Joining United States Space Force
You can learn about military and civilian career opportunities with the Space Force, at our How to Join webpage.