The United States Space Force, the newest branch of the American military, created to protect the country’s galactic interests, has given its members an official name: Guardians.
The new name came after a yearlong selection process drawing on hundreds of submissions from the general public and research from space professionals. The Guardians name goes back to the original command motto of the Air Force Space Command in 1983, “Guardians of the High Frontier,” the Space Force said on Twitter.
Overseen by the Air Force, the United States Space Force was created to protect American interests in outer space. In 2018, President Trump directed the Pentagon to establish a sixth branch of the armed forces to monitor commercial traffic and debris, initiatives he said would be “great not only in terms of jobs and everything else, it’s great for the psyche of our country.”
“On behalf of your commander in chief, let me urge each and every one of you Guardians to keep pushing,” Vice President Mike Pence said in prepared remarks on Friday, the Space Force’s first anniversary.
“Keep pushing the vision and the mission of the United States Space Force, which is to ensure that America remains as dominant in space, and from space, as we are on land and sea and air,” he added.
The creation of the force was met with broad criticism and received little initial support at the Pentagon. Some legislators and aerospace experts said there was a need for a space force, citing concerns about China, Russia and antisatellite weaponry. Critics of the Air Force said the branch would never make space its top priority.
Many mocked the announcement of the name, a step toward formalizing the command, with jokes about the Marvel superhero movie “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
The Space Force also unveiled its new utility uniforms in January, sparking confusion on social media as users homed in on the camouflage uniform that inspired jokes about “Star Wars.”