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News | Aug. 29, 2022

One year into Initial Operational Capability, U.S. Space Command is protecting, defending the space domain

By Staff Report

U.S. Space Command celebrated its third anniversary Aug. 29, 2022, by focusing on the myriad of mission accomplishments throughout the year.
USSPACECOM was established to ensure a combatant commander’s sole responsibility and focus was on the space domain to deter conflict, and if necessary, defeat aggression, deliver space combat power for the joint and combined force, and defend U.S. vital interests with allies and partners.
USSPACECOM commander Army Gen. James Dickinson declared the command achieved initial operational capability Aug. 24, 2021.  He recently spoke about where the command stands today, amidst the changing strategic landscape.
“Today, USSPACECOM is capable of delivering strategic effects and providing the National Command Authority with space domain options for achieving national objectives,” said Dickinson. “We are prepared to execute our Unified Command Plan missions and global responsibilities as we continue to work toward full operational capability.”
Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sgt. Scott Stalker, USSPACECOM senior enlisted leader, added that as the command grows, they will continue to maintain a ready, warfighting force.
“A joint, integrated, and well-trained team is what gives us an asymmetric advantage against our adversaries,” he said. “As we grow alongside our joint, combined and industry partners, the women and men of U.S. Space Command will continue to ensure we are postured for success.”
Over the past year, the command marked a number of milestones that will help achieve full operational capability.
•           The Department of Defense designated First Air Force as ‘Air Forces Space,’ the fifth service component to USSPACECOM. The change made USSPACECOM the DoD’s human space flight support manager, responsible for coordinating global support for the rescue and recovery of NASA’s manned space exploration events. Among many things, this prompted a USSPACECOM-led, astronaut recovery exercise at Patrick Space Force Base, Fl. Aug. 1-5. The USSPACECOM team will support NASA’s Artemis I and Crew-5 missions this year.
•           Managing and growing 157 Space Data Sharing Agreements to include signing 15 commercial, two academic, and two partner nation Space Situational Awareness (data-sharing) Agreements over the past year. The command has more than 30 SSA data-sharing agreements with ally and international partner nation to-date. This robust network of responsible space-faring nations enhances the overall picture of space allowing for better and safer space flight operations through the use of shared data. This network of partnering nations, organizations and universities also helps to understand the nature of irresponsible actions from revisionist powers who operate in, from and to space.
•           A signed campaign plan and new campaign orders. The Campaign Plan guides USSPACECOM’s day-to-day activities. From cooperation with allies and partners to global competition, the campaign plan enables USSPACECOM to project space power around the world at the speed of relevance.
•           Established USSPACECOM Tier 1 exercises — Space Thunder and Space Lightning— to align with other combatant command exercises. In each exercise, USSPACECOM will refine its global responsibilities, which are satellite communications and sensor management.  Also the command will continue to improve its ability to plan, integrate, conduct, and assess global space operations in order to deliver combat relevant space capabilities to combatant commanders, coalition partners, the joint force, and the nation.
•           Enhanced Space Cooperation with a key ally. Building upon the December 2021 U.S.-UK Statement of Intent between the Department of Defense and Ministry of Defence, the ESC MOU is a non-legally binding framework for deepened military cooperation in the space domain. The MOU aims to increase exchange of information, harmonize military space requirements, and identify potential collaborative studies, projects, or activities. Through these cooperative efforts, the U.S. and UK will continue to improve coordination and interoperability to maintain freedom of action in space, optimize resources, and enhance mission assurance and resilience.
“Space underpins our national security and ability to respond decisively to crises around the world. Its importance is reflected in the unwavering commitment and discipline of the men and women who make up this command,” Dickinson said. “In the year ahead, we will continue to improve our capabilities to counter continuously-growing threats, ensuring there is never a day without space.”