WASHINGTON— The U.S. Space Force on Jan. 8 officially became the 18th member of the U.S. intelligence community.

The addition of the Space Force to the intelligence community was formalized at a ceremony Friday afternoon held at a classified facility in Bethesda, Maryland. 

“Today we welcome Space Force to the intelligence community,” Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said in a news release.

Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond said the service stood up the U.S. Space Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Enterprise to support the intelligence community. The new office will focus on providing technical intelligence to defend space systems from anti-satellite weapons such as those being developed by China and Russia.

The Space Force is the first new organization to join the intelligence community since the Drug Enforcement Administration — which is part of the Department of Justice — was added in 2006.

At the Dec. 9 meeting of the National Space Council, Ratcliffe announced that the Space Force would be joining elements of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force that already are part of the U.S. intelligence community. 

The intelligence community has two independent agencies—the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Central Intelligence Agency. There are eight Department of Defense elements — the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the National Geospatial- Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office and intelligence elements of the four armed services.

The other seven are elements of the Department of Energy, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice,  the Department of State and the Department of the Treasury.

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...