NASA: The Original Secret Civilian “Space Force”

Jason Campbell, Bryn Horwege


On December 20, 2019, a new branch of the US Armed Forces was established to great fanfare and critique amongst both comedy and science fiction enthusiasts. The US Space Force was established within the Department of the Air Force to protect US interests in space and to provide space-based support to the other branches of the military.

The Space Force was not as revolutionary as it might seem. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has been like a “Space Force” since its inception, despite its civilian nature and congressional mandate. This paper explores the close relationship between NASA and the Department of Defense (DOD) through government documents, many of which were “classified” or “secret” at the time of their creation.

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