What is the link between the Marvel superhero film, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the American military’s newest wing, the US Space Force? Probably nothing, except that the members of USSF will be officially called ‘Guardians’ from now on.
US Vice President Mike Pence announced this at an event to celebrate the one year anniversary of USSF. This marks one of the last remaining organizational changes in the USSF to keep it distinct from its parent body, the US Air Force.
Founded on December 20 last year, the branch already has its own set of unique unit designations, insignia (lapel pin), along with a new motto called ‘Semper Supra’, or ‘Always Above’.
The announcement was made by Pence at a gathering at the White House on Friday (December 18), where he was accompanied by Space Force head General John Raymond, Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett, and Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller.
“Henceforth, the men and women of the United States Space Force will be known as Guardians,” said Pence, adding, “Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Guardians will be defending our nation for generations to come.”
Following the event, the official Twitter account of the US Space Force posted, “Today, after a yearlong process that produced hundreds of submissions and research involving space professionals and members of the general public, we can finally share with you the name by which we will be known: Guardians.”
“The name Guardians connects our proud heritage and culture to the important mission we execute 24/7, protecting the people and interest of the U.S. and its allies.”
Today, after a yearlong process that produced hundreds of submissions and research involving space professionals and members of the general public, we can finally share with you the name by which we will be known: Guardians. pic.twitter.com/Tmlff4LKW6
— United States Space Force (@SpaceForceDoD) December 18, 2020
According to the US Space Force, the name ‘Guardians’ can be traced back to an old Air Force Space Command motto from 1983, which was called, “Guardians of the High Frontier”.
While the Space Force is a separate entity, it is still a part of the US Air Force, according to the National Defense Authorization Act.
The Space Force is the newest branch of the US military, established last year following the enactment of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.
The Secretary of the Air Force has the overall responsibility for the Space Force under the guidance and direction of the US Secretary of Defense.
In addition, a four-star US General known as the Chief of Space Operations (CSO), serves as the senior military member of the Space Force.
According to its mission statement, the USSF “organizes, trains, and equips space forces in order to protect U.S. and allied interests in space and to provide space capabilities to the joint force”.
USSF’s responsibilities include “developing military space professionals, acquiring military space systems, maturing the military doctrine for space power, and organizing space forces to present to our Combatant Commands”.
The formation of the US Space force came in the wake of the world’s powerful militaries developing and deploying their space-warfare capabilities.
These capabilities include reconnaissance and communication satellites, anti-satellite weapons, and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBMs) traveling through higher layers of the atmosphere.
Pentagon felt the urgent need to set up an independent space force to continue its status as a global superpower and maintain an edge over its rivals.
While the name ‘Guardians’ is now sorted for the Space Force, it is not clear how the service will be distinguished from the Air Force and other forces in terms of ranks. It was earlier demanded that the Space Force use naval ranks, however, that provision has now been dropped.
If the current version of the NDAA becomes law, the branch will be free to select its rank structure.