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The New Space Force Uniforms Are Causing A Stir

Space Force unveiled prototypes for their new service dress uniforms at the 2021 Air, Space and Cyber Conference.
Air Force Association
Space Force unveiled prototypes for their new service dress uniforms at the 2021 Air, Space and Cyber Conference.

Some people call them futuristic; others say they're a new take on the classic double-breasted tunic. But it seems everyone has a reaction to the new Space Force uniforms that the chief of space operations, Gen. John Raymond, unveiled at a conference this week.

To many, the uniforms resemble those worn by officers in the sci-fi TV series Battlestar Galactica from the 2000s. Similar design elements include the jacket's high collar and its asymmetrical, angled row of buttons.

The Space Force uniform combines a dark blue jacket with gray pants. Its buttons prominently feature the delta shape that the service adopted soon after its creation — and which has frequently been compared to the Starfleet emblem from the venerable Star Trek franchise.

The six buttons symbolize the Space Force's status as the sixth branch of the U.S. military, Raymond said Tuesday, as two guardians — the name for Space Force service members — modeled the uniform at the Air Force Association's Air, Space & Cyber Conference at National Harbor, Md.

"Every winning team needs a uniform!" the general stated on Twitter.

The uniforms are still in the prototype stage, Raymond said, predicting that they will be tweaked a bit before going into "wear testing" in the coming months. After that, he added, they'll be rolled out to the force's guardians.

"We started with the female design and then created the male prototype" for the uniforms, Raymond added.

The newly unveiled uniforms are "service dress" — the military equivalent to a coat and tie and a notch below full, formal or dinner dress. But a commenter on the Space Force subreddit says that for that purpose, "this is way over the top," suggesting that the uniforms seem too formal and constricting.

Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond stands between two Space Force guardians, as the branch unveils prototypes for its new service dress uniforms.
/ Air Force Association
Air Force Association
The chief of space operations, Gen. John Raymond, stands between two Space Force guardians as the branch unveils prototypes for its new service dress uniforms.

Other commenters took exception to the pants being a different color. And many seemed to agree with a commenter on the Space Force's Facebook page who posted an image from Battlestar Galactica, saying the new uniform echoes the series. The person also added one of the show's taglines: "So say we all."

Raymond also gave an update on how the nascent Space Force is developing. For example, the force is taking over a number of Army and Navy satellite communications operations, including their funding and ongoing missions.

"All told, 15 global units with 319 military and 259 civilian billets [job slots] from the Army and Navy combined will transfer to the Space Force," the Defense Department stated.

Describing the urgency with which the service is being created, Raymond said that the U.S. "can no longer take space for granted."

"Space is clearly a warfighting domain, and we're convinced that if deterrence were to fail, we're going to have to fight and win the battle for space superiority," Raymond said. He added, "Let me be clear: We don't want to fight in space. We want to deter that from happening."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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