Features of the construction and development of the US Space Forces

Features of the construction and development of the US Space Forces
Features of the construction and development of the US Space Forces

On December 20, 2019, the United States Air Force Space Command became an independent structure while maintaining the same goals and objectives. Currently, this US Space Force (USSF) is simultaneously engaged in the execution of their direct duties and the construction of the necessary organizational and staff structures. The construction processes will continue for several more years, after which the USSF will take on a final look that meets modern requirements and challenges.


Most of the existing structures from the USSF were spun off from the Air Force. Together with them, the place of service was changed by the personnel. At the stage of formation, such troops received some new tasks, the solution of which required the formation of subunits anew. In addition, an independent branch of the armed forces needs its own auxiliary units and support units. They continue to form to this day.

Before the withdrawal from the Air Force, he served in the Space Command for approx. 16 thousand people; they were all transferred to the USSF. Then the transformation and re-certification began, as a result of which the number of personnel was reduced. To date, due to reductions and the creation of new units and structures, the number of troops has reached the level of 6, 5 thousand people.


It is expected that in the foreseeable future, the number of military and civilian specialists will continue to grow until it is possible to ensure the staffing of all existing and new units. In addition, in the future, there may be new plans for the creation of structures and organizations, as a result of which additional specialists will be needed.

Money question

To prepare for the USSF's withdrawal to a separate structure in FY2020. allocated approx. $ 40 million. Direct service of the new service began already during FY2021. The first annual budget of the Space Forces amounted to almost $ 15.34 billion. About 2.5 billion were allocated for current labor and operating costs. Another $ 2.3 billion was planned to be spent on various purchases. The remaining $ 10.5 billion was allocated for a variety of research and design programs in the interests of military space.

A military budget for the next FY2022 will be approved shortly. The existing draft of this document provides for USSF financing in the amount of $ 17.5 billion. It allocates $ 3, 4 and 2, 8 billion for activities and purchases, respectively. Promising projects require $ 11.3 billion.


About two-thirds of the Space Forces budget falls on research and design work. This is due to the need for constant modernization and renewal of the space constellation and ground-based facilities, as well as the high cost of developing and manufacturing new products. The main expenditures under the item of purchases are related to space launches. So, the plan for FY2021. provides for three launches of carrier rockets with different loads with a total cost of more than $ 1.05 billion.

Launch Capabilities

As part of the overall development of the USSF, special attention is paid to ensuring space launches. Organizational measures are being taken right now. The troops have their own units responsible for launches.

In the near future, the Space Systems Command of the Space Force will take control of Patrick (Florida) and Vandenberg (California) airbases with launch sites for launch vehicles.The presence of our own spaceports allows us to reduce the preparation time for launches, which is necessary for solving various problems. "Quick start" will be useful both in regular operational activities and in a threatened period or during a conflict.

Features of the construction and development of the US Space Forces

The Space Forces maintain contact with the main enterprises of the rocket and space industry and continue to order the necessary equipment from them. In particular, launches in recent years have been carried out using ULA Atlas V, SpaceX Falcon 9 and Boeing Delta IV launch vehicles. The possibility of ordering other equipment is being considered, depending on the characteristics of future loads.

Activities in space

At the time of leaving the Air Force, the new branch of the military had about 80 satellites of various types and for various purposes. These are spacecraft for communication, reconnaissance, navigation, missile attack warning, etc. USSF is responsible for the operation of such equipment, and also manages the process of creating and launching new products.

The most numerous in the USSF space constellation are the devices of the GPS navigation system. Currently, there are 31 such products of various modifications in orbit. Since 2018, the Air Force Space Command / Space Force has been launching the latest GPS Block III vehicles. On June 17, 2021, the fifth launch of this project took place. Four previously launched satellites are already operational and complement older technology.


Five more launches will take place in the near future. Three spacecraft have already been manufactured and are awaiting launch. The first of them will be sent into orbit next year, the launch dates for the rest have not been determined. Two more GPS III products are still in various stages of construction.

The USSF is responsible for the space component of the missile attack warning system. The tasks of detecting launches are now assigned to the SBIRS complex, which includes 8 satellites in orbits and several ground objects. Now on alert are 4 SBIRS-GEO vehicles in geostationary orbit and the same number of SBIRS-HEO products in highly elliptical orbits. In May, the fifth GEO-type apparatus was sent into space, the launch of another one is planned for next year.

At this, the construction of the SBIRS system will stop, and the Space Forces will begin to form a new satellite constellation of early warning systems. Now, by order of USSF, the development of the new generation NGOPIR devices is underway. The first launches of such equipment will take place in the middle of the decade. In the thirties, this complex will replace the existing SBIRS.


It is assumed that in the future, USSF will be able to engage in non-military space projects. So, NASA is planning a new lunar program, and military structures can be involved in it. However, the details of such cooperation are still unknown. Probably, they will be determined in the future, in the course of drawing up the basic plans.

Preliminary results

Since December 2019, the US Space Forces have been carrying out various activities aimed at creating a full-fledged combat-ready type of troops that meets all requirements and tasks. The organizational and staff structure is being improved, specialists are being trained, etc. In parallel, the main activities related to the operation of orbital and ground systems in the interests of the armed forces as a whole continue.

According to known data, the optimal structure of the USSF has not yet been formed, and the required number of military personnel and civilian personnel has not yet been reached. Such transformations may take several more years, and therefore the Space Forces will regularly report on the implementation of certain events.

Apparently, after the implementation of the current plans, construction will not stop. The Pentagon believes that outer space in the future will become a new front of confrontation between major powers. Accordingly, various measures will have to be taken, incl. to create new samples of equipment for various purposes. However, while the USSF has more urgent construction tasks.

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