Jan. 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. Space Force was designated the 18th member of the U.S. Intelligence Community in a ceremony featuring John Ratcliffe, National Intelligence director, the branch announced on Monday.
The new service branch, founded in 2019, joins a group of government intelligence agencies and subordinate organizations that work separately and collectively to conduct intelligence activities in support of U.S. foreign policy and national security.
Ratcliffe and Space Force chief Gen. John Raymond led the proceedings in Washington on Friday.
"This accession reaffirms our commitment to securing outer space as a safe and free domain for America's interests," Ratcliffe at the ceremony.
Formed in 1981, the Intelligence Community includes eight Department of Defense elements -- 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.
It also includes seven groups within Cabinet offices, including the Energy Department's Office of Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence; the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Intelligence and Analysis and U.S. Coast Guard Intelligence; the Department of Justice's Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Agency's Office of National Security Intelligence; the Department of State's Bureau of Intelligence and Research; and the Department of the Treasury's Office of Intelligence and Analysis.
"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," said Ratliffe.
The Space Force is the newest agency to join since the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis in 2006.
Its addition to the Intelligence Community as a co-equal member indicates an interest in improving access and sharing of intelligence information across agencies, and gives the Space Force additional influence and prestige in advocating for funding.
"Today, we took action to elevate space intelligence missions, tradecraft, and collaboration to ensure the success of the Space Force, the Intelligence Community, and ultimately our National Security," noted Raymond.
"This is a significant milestone, a clear statement that America is committed to a secure and accessible space domain. Our partnership will ensure the Space Force and the nation remain always above any threat," Raymond said.