Guardians of the High Frontier
Space Force took a year to decide what to call their uniformed members.
The nation’s newest military service is being roundly lampooned for its odd choice of nickname.
Defense One‘s Marcus Weisgerber (“Space Force Troops Get a Name: ‘Guardians’“)
Two days before the U.S. Space Force’s first birthday, its troops received their collective name: Guardians.
The new name for military’s space professionals, announced on Friday by Vice President Mike Pence, may appear to be a play on the Marvel superhero film “Guardians of the Galaxy.” But Space Force officials said it was a callback to a 1983 motto.
Since its standup on Dec. 20, 2019, the Space Force has grown to about 2,400 active-duty personnel, mostly Air Force personnel who were responsible for the military’s space mission before the new service was created. In 2021, the Space Force is expected to grow to about 6,400 active-duty Guardians, as Army and Navy personnel start transfering into the new service, Gen. Jay Raymond, the chief of space operations, said on a call with reporters earlier this week.
Raymond on Sunday will officially become a member of the Joint Chiefs.
The Space Force’s first year has been a “full-on sprint,” said Justin Johnson, a top defense official who is performing the duties of the assistant defense secretary for space policy.
In addition to the Space Force, there’s a handful of new space organizations around the Defense Department. There’s the U.S. Space Command, a combatant command that provides space support to military commanders around the world. There’s the Space Development Agency, a satellite buying organization that pre-dates the new service. It has ambitious goals to buy one satellite per week. And there’s Johnson’s job, a new top-level Pentagon position established by the same law that created the Space Force.
“A lot of them are still growing and maturing, but now it’s just about delivering results,” he said. “And there’s ton of work to do.”
Form the onset, the service has been an occasional target of late-night comedians. Netflix even launched a satire starring Steve Carell — and the streaming network renewed the show for a second season in January. But those involved say the service is no laughing matter.
Steve Beynon of Stars and Stripes (“Space Force troops are now called Guardians”) adds:
Troops serving in Space Force are now referred to as Guardians, Vice President Mike Pence announced Friday.
“It is my honor on behalf of the president to announce henceforth the men and women of the United States Space Force will be known as Guardians,” Pence said during a ceremony to celebrate Space Force’s first birthday, which is Dec. 20. “Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Guardians will be defending our nation for generations to come.”
The announcement comes after months of troops in the military’s newest branch being referred to using the placeholder title of “space professionals.”
“The opportunity to name a force is a momentous responsibility. Guardians is a name with a long history in space operations, tracing back to the original command motto of Air Force Space Command in 1983, ‘Guardians of the High Frontier,'” a tweet from the Space Force’s account stated following the announcement.
WaPo‘s Christian Davenport (“The Army has soldiers. The Navy has sailors. The Space Force now has ‘guardians.’“) rounds up the Twitter reaction.
Stormtroopers wouldn’t have worked. Plus, it was taken by the Galactic Empire, anyway.
So Guardians it is. The Army has soldiers. The Navy has sailors. The Marines have, well, you know. And now the Space Force has Guardians.
In a speech at the White House on Friday afternoon commemorating the one-year anniversary of the newest branch of the Armed Forces, Vice President Pence made the announcement, saying the Guardians would “ensure that America remains as dominant in space, and from space, as we are on land and sea and air.”
No, it had nothing to do with the movie “Guardians of the Galaxy,” though the jokes began immediately on Twitter and will no doubt provide more grist for the writers of Netflix’s farcical series “Space Force.”
Pence was serious about the name. And so is the Pentagon.
The jokes pretty much wrote themselves: