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Why Won’t Space Force Bases Be Called Garrisons Anymore?
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Why Won’t Space Force Bases Be Called Garrisons Anymore?

United States Space Force bases are getting a makeover – at least in name. On August 2, 2022, it was announced that Space Force bases will no longer be called “garrisons,” an identifier that’s been used since the branch’s inception, starting with Vandenberg Garrison, in December of 2019.

The change from garrison to “delta” may not seem all that interesting on the surface, but let’s look at why this is a significant move for the USSF.

Read next: U.S. Space Force News: The USSF Is Going Digital

Some Space Force Bases Now Go By Space Base Delta 1, 2, 3

Before this move, the official name for Space Force bases supporting specific functions was “garrison,” as in Buckley Garrison and Peterson-Schriever Garrison. Though this was the USSF’s official naming convention, most civilians didn’t exactly follow it and continued to only use the generalized terms for each individual Space Force base.

But don’t get it wrong – deltas are a bit more complex than simply a name change for a singular base. A Space Delta represents more than one physical installation, and a Space Base Delta is a different thing entirely.

What Is a Space Base Delta? Why Change It Now?

Space Base Deltas are the exact base name changes you’re probably envisioning. These are a one-to-one transition from garrison to delta for a specific base. Not all USSF installations have received the new designation, but three currently have:

  1. Peterson Space Force Base/Schriever Space Force Base (Peterson-Schriever Space Force Base/Garrison): Space Base Delta 1
  2. Buckley Space Force Base/Garrison: Space Base Delta 2
  3. Los Angeles Space Force Base/Garrison: Space Base Delta 3

The term “garrison” was met far and wide with confusion because “garrison” is often associated only with a physical place. Delta, the Space Force believes, more accurately portrays the support functions provided by the bases to the USSF as a whole.

With the move to “delta,” naming conventions for the few U.S. Space Force Bases across the country will be simplified and streamlined.

Then What Is a Space Force Delta?

Space Force Deltas – officially called Space Deltas/DEL or Space Mission Deltas – represent functions, rather than specific installations, that certain groups of bases are equipped to support.

Deltas are responsible for mission support functions for the Space Force but are not one single institution. They’ve been a part of the United States Space Force structure since July 2020, less than a year after the branch’s creation.

A delta is made up of several Space Force bases and other military institutions that all support one specific function. Similarly, bases can belong to more than one delta (and these deltas are not exclusive to just Space Force installations, either).

Space Deltas are akin to Air Base Wings, as they support specific functions and are led by a colonel.

The Space Base Deltas that have already been changed from their previous “garrison” moniker are each a part of several Space Force Deltas, including the first three of many active DELs:

  • Space Delta 1 includes Peterson SFB, Schriever SFB, and Thule AB, and it focuses on training world-class space warfighters.
  • Space Delta 2 includes Peterson SFB, Vandenberg SFB, and Eglin AFB, and it focuses on space domain awareness.
  • Space Delta 3 includes Peterson SFB and the Air National Guard, and it focuses on space electronic warfare and the electromagnetic spectrum.

How Many Space Force Bases Are There?

Currently, there are only six USSF bases operating in the U.S.

  • Buckley SFB
  • Los Angeles AFB
  • Patrick SFB
  • Peterson SFB
  • Vandenberg SFB
  • Schriever SFB

Though there are only six bases in name, many USAF installations and other military institutions support USSF functions throughout America and abroad.

An Air Force official told Air Force Magazine that there are no plans to establish more Space Base Deltas past Space Base Delta 3 (Los Angeles Space Force Base). Seeing as these three bases are the ones that support and maintain the bulk of current Space Force operations, it makes sense that these are the ones that have received the change to a more mission-inclusive name.

The move to Space Base Delta makes a lot of sense for the structure of the USSF as a whole. It may seem like a weird change now, but soon these Space Force bases’ new names will become the new normal.

Suggested read: Space Force Jobs Are Critical for a Secure Future

Image: Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette

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