We now know quite a bit more about the goals and intentions of the United States Space Force.
The new military branch, which President Donald Trump officially established in December 2019, just published its first doctrine, a 41-page Space Force Capstone document called "Spacepower."
"Spacepower" defines that title term as a separate and distinct form of military might for the first time. The document also serves as a foundation on which to build future layers of doctrine as the Space Force evolves and reacts to changing conditions, military officials said.
Related: What is the Space Force?
"This publication answers why spacepower is vital for our nation, how military spacepower is employed, who military space forces are, and what military space forces value," Gen. Jay Raymond, the Space Force's chief of space operations, wrote in the foreword to "Spacepower," which was published online today (Aug. 10). You can read the full Space Force Capstone document here.
"In short, this capstone document is the foundation of our professional body of knowledge as we forge an independent military service committed to space operations," Raymond wrote.
"Spacepower" lays out the critical importance of the final frontier, which American military officials have long regarded as the ultimate high ground.
"Strength and security in space enables freedom of action in other warfighting domains while contributing to international security and stability," the document states, in a section called "Military Spacepower: Guiding Principles."
"The U.S. must adapt its national security space organizations, doctrine and capabilities to deter and defeat aggression and protect national interests in space," the doctrine reads.
"Spacepower" also stresses that the Space Force will prioritize flexibility and adaptability in the face of a rapidly changing threat environment.
"As a lean, mission-focused, digital service, the United States Space Force values organizational agility, innovation and boldness. Elevating these traits starts with empowering small teams and prizing measured risk-taking as opportunities to rapidly learn and adapt," the report states, in that same "Guiding Principles" section.
The Space Force is the first new U.S. military branch since the Air Force was established in 1947. The Space Force is officially part of the Air Force, just as the U.S. Marine Corps is part of the Department of the Navy.
The Space Force has a big, important and challenging job ahead of it. Over the past few years, U.S. military officials have repeatedly stressed that the nation's long-held dominance of the final frontier is being seriously challenged, chiefly by China and Russia. ("Spacepower" does not mention those two countries by name, discussing principles and priorities in a general sense.)
The work to write "Spacepower" began in August 2019, before the Space Force was officially born. In February, the Space Force hosted a summit to lay out the framework for the doctrine.
"During the summit, representatives from all military services and exchange officers from the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia offered additional recommendations on the scope and key ideas in the proposed publication," Space Force officials said in a statement today. "Given the emerging state of spacepower, this doctrine will inevitably evolve over time as it is applied, evaluated, and refined."
Mike Wall is the author of "Out There" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.