The United States Space Force (USSF) has officially rolled out its capstone doctrine, titled "Spacepower," on Monday, August 10.

Marking the inaugural Space Capstone Publication (SCP), spacepower details the importance of the titular "spacepower" to the United States, how it will be wielded, and who will make up the nation's military space force. In essence, it lays out the doctrines of the new military branch and the values by which it will operate.

The 41-page publication was dated June 2020 but was published on the U.S. Space Force website on Monday. It also defines "spacepower" as a distinct form of military power - the latest addition to, and on equal footing with, landpower, seapower, airpower, and cyberpower.

Space Doctrine
(Photo: United States Space Force Twitter Account)
A missile launch, included in the latest promotional video that accompanies the release of the US Space Force's capstone doctrine, titled "Spacepower."

Answering the Why, How, and Who of Spacepower

One of the foundations of the capstone publication is answering the questions regarding the operation and the importance of the Space Force, as well as its spacepower.

Its cornerstone responsibilities answer the question "why spacepower is vital to prosperity and security." As the "custodian of military spacepower," the Spaceforce is expected to: (1) Preserve Freedom of Action; (2) Enable Joint Lethality and Effectiveness; and (3) Provide Independent Options.

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The Space Force's responsibilities are attained through its core competencies, explaining "how military spacepower is employed." Space Security, Combat Power Projection, Space Mobility & Logistics, Information Mobility, and Space Domain Awareness are the five competencies listed in the capstone doctrine.

To execute the Space Force's directive, specialization in seven disciplines are required among its personnel. From Orbital Warfare to Space Battle Management, and Cyber Operations and Engineering/ Acquisitions.

Understanding "The Space Domain"

The USSF capstone doctrine also explains space as the domain of orbital flight - a unique physical environment outside the confines of Earth. In its standard space system architecture, a model to guide its operations, three segments are identified. The orbital segment includes the spacecraft beyond Earth's atmosphere, the terrestrial segment refers to all Earth-based domains that support or launches the spacecraft, and the link domain refers to the wireless communication between the first two.

"The value of high ground is one of the oldest and most enduring tenets of warfare," reads the introduction to the doctrine's third chapter, "Military Spacepower." It argues that the space domain is a "critical manifestation of the high ground in modern warfare."

Military spacepower, defined as "the ability to accomplish strategic and military objectives" through controlling and exploiting the space domain, is valuable since its extraterrestrial high ground advantage "reduces an adversary's ability to surprise" the United States. While citing the 9/11 incident, the capstone argues the need for vigilance. With a functional space force, adversary forces would find it difficult to mount an offense against a country that has a "global, legal, penetrating, and persistent" perspective.

The United States Space Force

The Space Force is the latest branch of the U.S. Military, the last being the Air Force inaugurated in 1947. The predecessor for the USSF, the Air Force Space Command, was a department under the Air Force and was founded in September 1982.

President Donald Trump signed the legislative provisions for the USSF as a part of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. The Space Force is headed by General John W. "Jay" Raymond, appointed as the Chief of Space Operations."

Last July, the Space Force unveiled their official logo and motto, "Semper Supra," which translates to Always Above. In a tweet, the department claimed that their motto represents their "our role in establishing, maintaining, and preserving U.S. freedom of operations in the space domain."

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See the Space Force's video announcement regarding their capstone doctrine below: