“It is my honor, on behalf of the President of the United States, to announce that henceforth the men and women of the United States Space Force will be known as guardians,” Pence said at the White House. “Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and guardians will be defending our nation for generations to come.”
The new name comes after the sixth branch of the military unveiled its logo, flag, and “Sempra Supra” motto earlier this year.
“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,'” the Space Force said Friday.
“The name Guardians connects our proud heritage and culture to the important mission we execute 24/7, protecting the people and interest of the U.S. and its allies.”
The Space Force was created one year ago with a projected size of 16,000 troops and an annual budget of $15.4 billion for now.
“What a first year it has been. The men and women of the Space Force have written an impressive, very impressive, first chapter of our history,” Gen. Jay Raymon, the chief of space operations, said at the White House Friday. “Since the dawn of the Space Age, the United States has long understood that access to space and freedom to maneuver in space underwrites our economy, our passion for science and exploration, and our national security.”
The branch’s responsibilities include “developing military space professionals, acquiring military space systems, maturing the military doctrine for space power, and organizing space forces to present to our Combatant Commands.”
As the Space Force gears up, other nations’ militaries are also venturing into space.
Russia tested a weapon system “capable of destroying satellites in low Earth orbit” on Tuesday.
China is also developing weapons that could take down American satellites, and Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard sent its first satellite to space in the spring.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.