Jan 19 2020

Oh, That Space Force

The one that isn’t actually, you know, in space.

Broadly defined space starts with the Thermosphere which is the layer of atmosphere between 53 and 621 miles high. Not thick enough to burn up Meteors it is the environment of ICBMs and at it’s outer fringes is generally called ‘Low Earth Orbit’.

If you want to escape the atmosphere entirely you have to go about halfway to the Moon.

So fundamentally ‘Air Force’ pretty much covers it but this is the UNITED STATES! so we have to have two agencies competing for the same turf and resources. You know, like the Navy which doesn’t just have floaty things but also its own Army (the Marines) and two Air Forces (Marine/Naval).

To be fair after the Army Air Corps was ripped out of it to form the Air Force, the Army re-built an Air Force based on Helicopters. Think the Air Force will do the same? What about the Navy? They’re already in space, the Aegis Radar Targeting System is basically what they’re talking about when they say “Ballistic Missile Defense” though the Army is trying to super charge the Patriot ABMD.

So, counting the actual Air Force we have no less than 4 Air Forces (sorry Coast Guard), just like we have both Customs and Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. You know who else loved to set up multiple competing bureaucracies? Nazi Germany. Didn’t work out so well for them but we’re ‘Murikans so I’m sure everything will be fine, just fine.

Space Force’s camouflage uniforms won’t help its members hide in orbit. They’re not supposed to.
By Marisa Iati, Washington Post
Jan. 18, 2020

The U.S. Space Force on Friday offered a first look at its utility uniforms with its service name tape, unleashing a torrent of mockery over the decision to use a camouflage pattern for a military branch associated with the dark endlessness of the universe.

“Space Force” soon began trending on Twitter — mostly not because of excitement about the uniform.

“Smart call on the Space Force camouflage,” one Twitter user wrote. “Never know when you’re gonna have to blend into a space jungle or hide behind a space bush.”

“I’m dressed better for Space Force than this and I’m wearing $10 leggings from Target,” said one woman, who shared a photo of leggings with images of cats floating in space.

Another person posted a picture of a camouflage pattern next to a completely black box. “Study these carefully until you can see the difference,” he wrote in response to the Space Force.

Within hours, the Space Force tweeted again to explain its decision-making. Since the camouflage uniforms are the same ones used by the Army and the Air Force, the Space Force said they were more cost-effective than producing a new design.

The newest military branch also clarified where Space Force members will be located: on Earth, not in orbit.

“Members will look like their joint counterparts they’ll be working with, on the ground,” the Space Force wrote.

The Space Force, a part of the Department of the Air Force dedicated to space warfare, was established in December. The Air Force Space Command was redesignated to form the military’s sixth branch.

The Space Command’s roughly 16,000 military and civilian employees were assigned to the Space Force. Gen. John “Jay” Raymond on Dec. 20 became the nation’s first chief of space operations.

The Space Force’s utility uniform mirrors those of other branches in more ways than just the camouflage pattern. The navy name tape, which identifies a service member’s branch, is the same color used by the Air Force. The Air Force’s space operations badge, the Space Command patch and the American flag are also embroidered on the Space Force uniform.

The administrator of the Space Force’s Twitter account spent much of Saturday responding to continued criticism of the camouflage, which did not stop after the branch’s initial tweets offering clarification.

I don’t normally cover Twit Storms but after you finish laughing (c’mon, it’s funny, not really in the hah hah sense, in the odd and ironic sense) there’s this disturbing story-

Religious liberty groups protest cathedral blessing of ‘official Bible’ of the new U.S. Space Force
By Michelle Boorstein, Washington Post
Jan. 15, 2020

Washington National Cathedral, seat of the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, tweeted an image Sunday of cathedral Dean Randy Hollerith and the Rev. Carl Wright, the denomination’s bishop for military branches and federal agencies, blessing a King James Bible along with Maj. Gen. Steven A. Schaick, the Air Force chief of chaplains.

The Space Force, part of the Department of the Air Force, is the newest branch of the U.S. military and is dedicated to space warfare.

“The men and women of our Armed Services are a microcosm of our nation’s rich diversity. An official Christian Bible for the #SpaceForce oath violates the constitutional right to exercise religious freedom that these Air Force officers swear to defend,” the Anti-Defamation League tweeted Tuesday.

Also Tuesday, the Freedom From Religion Foundation tweeted that it was “protesting a ceremony where the newly formed U.S. #SpaceForce designated and blessed its own bible. Selecting one book as the official ‘holy book’ of a governmental branch is improper and an egregious violation of the Establishment Clause.”

The Rev. Canon Leslie Nuñez Steffensen, assistant to Wright, wrote in a statement that the cathedral “misspoke” by using the word “official” in its tweet. Using a holy book of any kind or none is fine in military culture, Steffensen wrote. Wright was traveling and not available for comment.

Kevin Eckstrom, a cathedral spokesman, wrote in a statement that “we in no way believe that this sacred text or any other should be used exclusively during swearing-in ceremonies. Indeed, it would be a misuse of any sacred text for anyone to feel obligated to use it. We believe that no member of our government or Armed Forces should ever feel forced or coerced into using any sacred text to swear allegiance to our Constitution. The separation of church and state, and the individual rights of conscience and belief, are fundamental principles of our democracy that must be respected and protected.”

A spokeswoman for the Air Force said Wednesday there is no official sacred text for any branch of the U.S. military. High-ranking leaders often use a Bible or other sacred text for their swearing-in ceremonies, said Ann Stefanek, but members of the military taking an oath in the typical promotion ceremony simply raise their right hand with no text.

She said the Bible that was blessed in the Sunday ceremony was used Tuesday at the White House swearing-in of Gen. John Raymond, who leads the new Space Force.

According to NPR, Hollerith’s prayer included a plea to “Accept this Bible, which we dedicate here today for the United States Space Force, that all may so diligently search your holy word and find in it the wisdom that leads to peace and salvation, through Jesus Christ our Lord, amen.”

NPR also quoted Wright praying for Trump, who pressed for the creation of the new agency.

“Almighty God, who set the planets in their courses and the stars in space,” Wright implored, “look with favor, we pray you, upon the commander in chief, the 45th president of this great nation, who looked to the heavens and dared to dream of a safer future for all mankind.”

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation issued a statement Monday saying it was sending a formal complaint to the Defense Department.

The foundation “condemns, in as full-throated a manner as is humanly possible, the shocking and repulsive display of only the most vile, exclusivist, fundamentalist Christian supremacy,” President Mikey Weinstein wrote.

The National Archives said Wednesday that a cursory review turned up no instances of any official Bible for any federal agency. Steffensen, of the Episcopal Church’s military ministry, wrote that “every branch of the military has an historic Bible.”

The National Archives said Wednesday that a cursory review turned up no instances of any official Bible for any federal agency. Steffensen, of the Episcopal Church’s military ministry, wrote that “every branch of the military has an historic Bible.”

Charles Haynes, founding director of the Religious Freedom Center, said he had never heard of a Bible blessing and surmised that the Sunday event was primarily political posturing by the Trump administration in an era when the public role of religion — and Christianity in particular — is being debated. Haynes called the event “the wrong message.”

“This is the same kind of dance we’ve always been doing in our history,” Haynes said. “And even more recently, as we’ve become more aware that there is diversity in the United States, the semi-established Protestant order has fallen apart. And as we become more aware, these vestiges of a need to have a national public religion strike people more and more the wrong way.”

Haynes also challenged the cathedral, which is a key part of a Protestant denomination and is funded with private money, but which runs diverse programming and whose website says it was founded for “national purposes.”

“It isn’t the ‘national’ cathedral. They want it both ways,” he said. “They want to be the Episcopal Church and independent, and they also want to be seen as the place you come for the great state funerals, and state this or that.”

What makes this alarming is the U.S. Air Force is about the most aggressively Xian Evangelical of the Armed Forces. Major T. J. Kong? General Jack D. Ripper? Air Force Chief of Staff Curtis LeMay?

They’re like that. Sword and Shield baby.

This is USAF on jackboot steroids.