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Securing Us ‘In, From, and to Space’: New Space Force Mission Statement Has Our Heads Spinning

The new mission statement is shorter and simpler, but somehow even more confusing.

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Air Force Band members singing the new U.S. Space Force theme song during the 2022 Air, Space and Cyber Conference in National Harbor.
Air Force Band members singing the new U.S. Space Force theme song during the 2022 Air, Space and Cyber Conference in National Harbor.
Photo: U.S. Space Force

In an attempt to reinforce its identity as the youngest military branch, the U.S. Space Force scrapped its original, lengthy mission statement in exchange for a snappy, nine-word phrase that’s still hella ambiguous.

The U.S. Space Force unveiled its new mission statement on Wednesday, which is meant to better reflect the work carried out by its Guardians (the name given to Space Force personnel). The new mission statement reads, “Secure our nation’s interests in, from, and to space.”

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“We did not hire a corporate marketing team to develop a catch phrase. Nor did generals sit around a table in the Pentagon debating what the statement should be,” Chief of Space Operations General Chance Saltzman said in a statement. “Our mission statement was sourced from a Guardian-driven process.”

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Saltzman was not a fan of the Space Force’s original mission statement. In May, he sent out a memo to the Guardians to express his concerns regarding the old mission statement and called for a new one that better describes the Space Force’s function.

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It’s certainly shorter than the original statement, which stated that Space Force is in the business of “organizing, training, and equipping Guardians to conduct global space operations that enhance the way our joint and coalition forces fight, while also offering decision makers military options to achieve national objectives.” While the old mission statement was wordy and somewhat unclear, it did a lot of work. The new one, however, doesn’t seem to contribute much.

Each portion of the new statement is meant to emphasize a key aspect of the Space Force’s mission, the military branch wrote in its statement. Let’s break it down. “Secure” refers to the Space Force’s purpose of contesting and controlling the space domain, while “our nation’s interests” is meant to represent the “Guardians’ focus on protecting the security and prosperity the U.S. derives from space,” according to the Space Force.

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The next part is where it gets tricky. “In, from, and to space” represents the Space Force’s three functions: protecting the U.S. from space and counterspace threats, delivering global mission operations like satellite communications, navigation, and missile warning activities, and guaranteeing access to space.

The Space Force was established in 2019 to protect the interests of the U.S. in space. So, what does it do exactly? It manages space launches, tracks objects in orbit, and maintains Global Positioning Satellites and various weather and communications satellites, in addition to developing space-based capabilities. The U.S. Space Command, by contrast, is a combatant command (not related to the Space Force) that responds to threats and conducts operations in the space domain to defend the interests of the U.S. and its allies.

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Unlike the Space Command, the Space Force has more of a managerial position in space by providing organizational support. The new mission statement’s wording doesn’t seem to capture the true intent or depth of what it’s trying to convey, unless the Space Force provides further clarification on its underlying meaning.

“Our mission statement is a call to action that concisely encapsulates our purpose and identity as Guardians and members of the profession of arms,” Saltzman said.

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The Space Force is all about reinforcing its role by way of personal branding. In September 2022, Space Force released its own theme song, describing itself as the “mighty watchful eye” and an “invisible front line.” That new mission statement might still need some work though.

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