The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 created the first new branch of the U.S. military since the U.S. Army Air Forces became the U.S. Air Force in 1947. Ultimately, about 16,000 Air Force personnel will be reassigned to the new U.S. Space Force, which will serve within the Department of the Air Force much like the Marine Corps serves within the Department of the Navy. The Space Force will organize, train, and equip forces to provide space capabilities to the joint force.
A key component of the legislation that created the Space Force is that its commanding general, the Chief of Space Operations, will have membership on the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).1 When that happens, the five services within the Department of Defense (DoD)—Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Space Force—will have a seat at the table. Still missing from the JCS, however, is the nation’s sixth service: the U.S. Coast Guard.
1. Jim Garamone, “Trump Signs Law Establishing U.S. Space Force,” U.S. Department of Defense, 20 December 2019. Conceivably, a future Chief of Space Operations will someday get selected to serve as chair. According to the U.S. Space Force official website, www.spaceforce.mil, the chief is a “full member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”
2. Public Law 99-433, 99th Congress, Goldwater–Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986.
ν Captain Teska served for more than 30 years in the U.S. Army and Coast Guard, both active and reserve. His last assignment before retiring in 2015 was on the Joint Staff/J4 (Logistics Directorate). He currently works for the federal government in Kansas City, Missouri.