WASHINGTON — U.S. Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman on Sept. 6 unveiled a new mission statement for the service — in an effort to more clearly communicate what the Space Force does and why it was created. 

The new mission statement — “Secure our nation’s interests in, from, and to space” — was crowdsourced from across the ranks of the Space Force. 

Saltzman in May put out a call for ideas from the force — after realizing that the original mission statement adopted when the Space Force was established in December 2019 was convoluted and difficult to communicate to the public and Congress. 

The previous mission statement said the “U.S. Space Force is responsible for 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.”

A simpler statement

Saltzman set out to formulate a new mission statement that was simpler and that did not sound like something written by a corporate marketing team.

The use of the word “secure” in the new statement is meant to reflect the Space Force’s responsibility for the protection of U.S. space assets and also ensure all branches of the U.S. military and allies have access to satellite-based capabilities at all times.

As the other military services, the Space Force is responsible for organizing, training and equipping forces. But officials have cautioned that, as a new branch, the Space Force needs to establish its brand and build an identity.

The phrase “in, from, and to space” refers to the different functions of the Space Force. 

Saltzman has defined securing interests “in space” as the ability to dominate and counter adversaries’ use of anti-satellite weapons. Capabilities “from space” refers to satellite services the military relies upon, such as communications, navigation and  missile warning. 

The protection of interests “to space” refers to providing assured access to orbit via launch vehicles and ground infrastructure. 

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...