The U.S. intelligence community (IC) grew on Friday with the addition of the Space Force as the 18th member of the community and the ninth component from the Department of Defense.
“This accession reaffirms our commitment to securing outer space as a safe and free domain for America’s interests,” Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said during a Friday ceremony. “American power in space is stronger and more unified than ever before. Today we welcome Space Force to the Intelligence Community and look forward to the power and ingenuity of a space security team unrivaled by any nation.”
The IC is a group of separate government agencies and organizations that conduct intelligence activities and work in the interest of the country’s national security. Space Force is the first new entity to join since 2006, when the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Office of National Security Intelligence became a member.
The addition highlights how space intelligence can be a key element in national security. By making the Space Force a co-equal member of the IC, the military branch can better coordinate intelligence activities and share space-related intelligence with other agencies.
“This move not only underscores the importance of space as a priority intelligence and military operational domain for national security, but ensures interoperability, future capability development and operations, and true global awareness for strategic warning,” Ratcliffe said.
The other IC members from the DoD include the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, and intelligence elements of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force.
“Today’s change aligns our newest service with the other members of the Defense Intelligence Enterprise and will help ensure our efforts are coordinated and synchronized across all domains of warfare,” Ezra Cohen, acting Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security, said in a statement.