The reason Space Force is unlikely to go away is largely this: Elimination would require an act of Congress, where a bipartisan consensus holds that America’s increasing reliance on space is a worrying vulnerability that is best addressed by a branch of the military focused exclusively on this problem.

The new service also is linked to an increasing U.S. wariness of China, which is developing capabilities to threaten U.S. satellites in space and which has become, in the minds of some, the singular national security challenge. Russia, too, stands accused by Washington of seeking to challenge American dominance in space.

“They’re building capabilities to use space against us. We have to be able to respond to that,” Gen. John Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the National Security Space Association, an advocacy group, last week, referring to Russia and China.