Space Force's new camouflage uniforms won't help you hide in orbit. They're not supposed to.
By MARISA IATI | The Washington Post | Published: January 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, and 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 that the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force use, the Space Force said that they were more cost-effective than spending money to produce a new design.
The newest military branch also clarified where Space Force members will be located: on Earth, and 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 U.S. Department of the Air Force that is 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 Space Force name tape, which identifies a service member's branch, is the same color that the Air Force uses. 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. In response to a comment from actor and author George Takei, the Space Force said that its members would work from Earth to maneuver U.S. space assets and track space debris, among other tasks.
The Space Force has not announced its dress uniform.
The Washington Post's Alex Horton contributed to this report.