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News | Feb. 1, 2024

CSO formally activates S4S, Schiess assumes command

By Tech. Sgt. Luke Kitterman

U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman presided over a ceremony along with Gen. Stephen N. Whiting, U.S. Space Command commander, formally activating U.S. Space Forces-Space Jan. 31. 

S4S was established Dec. 6, 2023, when Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall redesignated Space Operations Command-West as S4S, a U.S. Space Force Component Field Command directly subordinate to the Chief of Space Operations for execution of the Secretary of the Air Force’s responsibilities under Title 10, U.S. Code for Service-specific administration and support functions. 

“With the establishment of Space Forces-Space, Space Force commits to providing a cadre of space experts who will serve as a critical part of the Joint Force, support our allies, and enable our partners as we integrate space into our shared operations, activities and investments,” Saltzman said. “As a service component focused on mission operations, it will now take on the massive responsibility of ensuring its assigned Space Force forces generate the space effects needed by the nation to deter conflict and support national interests.” 

Previously, Space Operations Command was assigned to U.S. Space Command as the Space Force service component. The service component responsibilities have been removed from Space Operations Command and realigned under S4S.  

Following the activation, U.S. Space Force Lt. Gen. Douglas A. Schiess ceremonially assumed command of S4S although he has commanded the unit since its establishment last December. 

“Today, the Space Force ceremoniously establishes Space Forces–Space, a single service component entrusted to support all space-based and terrestrial space-based operations, giving our global operations a combat edge,” Schiess said. “Here at S4S we must ‘Protect, Defend, and Deliver’ to ensure there is never a day without space for our Nation, Allies, and Partners.” 

The activation of S4S ensures space forces are most efficiently presented to U.S. Space Command to best meet challenges presented by the dynamic national security environment and the return to great power competition. 

“Our space capabilities, most of them operated by S4S, enable the joint force to communicate, navigate, derive intelligence, execute command and control and conduct military operations untethered to terrestrial networks,” said Whiting. “Space capabilities allow our joint force to be a truly global military able to see over the next hill and able to conduct operations anywhere on earth.” 

S4S’s mission is to plan, integrate, conduct, and assess global space operations in order to deliver combat relevant space effects, in, from, and to space, for Combatant Commanders, Coalition partners, the Joint Force and the Nation. 

“From this day forward, Space Forces-Space will enhance the security of our nation and our responsiveness across components,” Saltzman said. “That level of coordination will be invaluable because space has become more and more central to joint operations.  We are better connected, more informed, more precise, and more lethal thanks to the space capabilities directed by this small and mighty team here at Vandenberg.”