Space Force Outlines Culture Goals in Handbook

This new handbook for Space Force Guardians outlines the service’s cultural goals and lays out a roadmap for leaders and enlisted troops. Credit: Space Force

America’s newest military service in April got its first document outlining the culture Space Force leaders want their troops to embrace.

“The Guardian Spirit,” is a manual for Space Force officers and enlisted Guardians that lists the behaviors they are expected to emulate and is considered the service’s guidebook on culture. It’s a work that’s been underway since the service was founded by act of Congress in 2019 and was wrapped by Space Force boss Gen. B. Chance Saltzman, the service’s second Chief Space Officer.

“The handbook aims to set the foundation for Guardians to advance the five aspirational objectives listed in the Guardian Ideal, the Space Force’s foundational talent management document: Connect in a Collaborative Environment, Lead Digital Enablement, Generate and Engage Talent, Develop and Employ Talent, and Integrate Resiliency,” Space Force stated in a news release issued by its Pentagon headquarters.

Saltzman and Chief Master Sgt. of the Space Force Roger Towberman, the service’s top enlisted Guardian, sent the book to every member of the Space Force along with a letter emphasizing the document’s importance.

“This handbook represents an undeniable truth: Guardians are our most important asset,” the pair wrote.

Establishing a distinct culture hasn’t been easy for Space Force, the smallest American armed service with fewer than 8,400 troops. The Space Force split from the Air Force came rapidly and amid challenging times, as leaders dealt with rising threats in orbit from Russia and China. The Russian invasion of Ukraine was preceded by an antisatellite test that littered low-Earth orbit.

The pace of work to defend American assets in orbit and deter its rivals meant that items such as uniform changes and penning a new service song have taken months and years.

A new handbook for Space Force Guardians lays out expectations for leaders and enlisted troops.

Despite its rapid development under pressure to meet other pressing mission requirements, the Guardian’s handbook isn’t slapdash. Instead, it creates a framework of accountability for leaders and followers that’s unlike other American services, encouraging personal growth in all ranks and requiring Guardians at all levels to deliver their input on how to solve problems with two words: “Be bold.”

“Being a bold problem-solver is central to our Guardian spirit and it is simply not possible without courage,” the service wrote.

In the book, Space Force troops learn expectations with a series of pledges called “I will” statements. which the service calls “personalized and action-oriented expressions of the Guardian values.”

It’s a bid to make the values mesh with day-to-day operational missions of the service, which organizes, trains, and equips America’s space troops. And the manual keeps its eyes pointed up, with statements that make continued references to what the service does on Earth to sustain missions in orbit.

“We rely on an inner moral compass, character, and connection with fellow Guardians as we pursue the mission of the Space Force with commitment and courage,” the handbook tells Guardians. “Our values are our North Star, and much like Polaris, they serve as a guide for daily action as we navigate a complex strategic environment.”

— By Tom Roeder,

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