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US Space Force releases first doctrine, defining ‘spacepower’

Stephen Kuper

Americas newest military service, US Space Force, has formally published its first doctrine: ‘Spacepower’ – the first articulation of the nations strategy and doctrinal approach for operating in the increasingly contested space domain.

US Space Force releases first doctrine, defining ‘spacepower’
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The SCP, which is the first articulation of spacepower as a separate and distinct form of military power, serves as a foundation upon which to build additional doctrine as expanding challenges are continually addressed in the changing space domain.

General Jay Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, US Space Force, said, "One of the principles of an independent service is the creation of doctrine. 

"The Space Capstone Publication explains why spacepower is a vital element of US prosperity and security – now and in the future – and guides its employment in multidomain operations. As the USSF continues to grow and mature, we will continue to evolve our doctrine to stay on the cutting edge of defending our interests in space."

The SCP embodies the Department of the Air Force’s continued commitment to establishing the Space Force in a manner that minimises cost and bureaucracy and maximises focus on space doctrine, training, and capability. 

Covering a series of topics to include unique aspects of the space domain, the relationship between national and military spacepower, and the employment and development of space forces, this foundational doctrine serves as a key guidepost for the ethos and values of the nation’s newest armed service.

While existing joint and Service documents provide space-related doctrine, they were authored when space was still regarded as a benign domain. The new capstone publication is tailored to the present reality that our adversaries have made space a warfighting domain.

Gen Raymond added, "Agility, innovation, and boldness have always been the cornerstone traits of military space forces. We must continue to harness these traits as we build our new service and a new professional body of knowledge."

Colonel Casey Beard, commander, Space Delta 9 explained the details about the small team leveraged to design the doctrine: "It was a coalition of the willing. We started work in August 2019 and met every two weeks — brainstorming, debating, building an outline, and assigning sections to draft."

The team ranged in rank from Technical Sergeant to Colonel and also included a space professional from the US Army.

In February, the USSF hosted a summit to develop the initial framework for Space Force doctrine. During the summit, representatives from all military services and exchange officers from the UK, Canada, and Australia offered additional recommendations on the scope and key ideas in the proposed publication. 

Given the emerging state of spacepower, this doctrine will inevitably evolve over time as it is applied, evaluated and refined. 

As the USSF defends the nation’s interests in the space domain, it will leverage the strategic foundation of the Space Capstone Publication to support the development of operational and tactical USSF doctrine, intended to guide the development and employment of military space forces.

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