More Steps Forward for Space Command and Space Force

More Steps Forward for Space Command and Space Force

The Senate confirmed Army Lt. Gen. James Dickinson as a General and the new Commander of U.S. Space Command today, along with four  nominations for high level positions in the U.S. Space Force. Space Command was reestablished almost exactly one year ago after a 17-year hiatus. Space Force was created anew as a sixth military service in December. The confirmations mark new milestones for both as they stand up their organizations.

Maj. Gen. James Dickinson (USA)

Dickinson will succeed Gen. Jay Raymond, who has been dual-hatted as Commander of USSPACECOM and Chief of Space Operations for the U.S. Space Force since December. Dickinson is currently Deputy Commander of USSPACECOM.

Previously, he was commander of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command and Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense.

Though it may seem unusual to have an Army General running Space Command, the Army is the biggest user of space capabilities, as Dickinson himself pointed out at the 2018 Space Symposium. “Among the military forces, the Army is actually the largest user of space and space-enabled capabilities. We rely on space to communicate, navigate and deliver precision fires.”

USSPACECOM is one of the 11 unified combatant commands responsible for warfighting. A USSPACECOM existed from 1985-2002, but was abolished as part of a reorganization of the unified commands after the September 11, 2001 terrorists attacks.  President Trump reestablished it on August 29, 2019.

U.S. Space Force (USSF) is one of the six military services (along with the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard) that “organize, train, and equip” personnel. It was created by Congress in the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which President Trump signed into law on December 20, 2019.

Raymond became the head of Space Force — Chief of Space Operations (CSO) — that day and was the only member for several months. Although 16,000 personnel from the former Air Force Space Command were assigned to the Space Force, they must voluntarily transfer into it to become members. That process is underway. In April, Raymond was joined by Chief Master Sergeant Roger Towberman and 86 cadets just graduating from the Air Force Academy. Another 2,410 personnel will transfer in on September 1.

Raymond will continue as CSO and is getting some high level help in the Office of the CSO from three individuals who also were confirmed today. All are Air Force Major Generals who were promoted to Lieutenant Generals today.

  • Maj. Gen. Nina M. Armagno will be CSO’s director of staff. She currently is director, space programs, in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
  •  Maj. Gen. William J. Liquori Jr. will be CSO’s deputy chief of space operations for strategy, plans, programs, requirements and analysis. He currently is director, strategic requirements, architectures and analysis, Headquarters Air Force Space Command (redesignated U.S. Space Force).
  • Maj. Gen. Bradley C. Saltzman will be CSO’s deputy chief of space operations, operations, cyber, and nuclear. He currently is deputy commander, U.S. Air Forces Central Command; and deputy commander, Combined Forces Air Component Command.

In addition, Air Force Maj. Gen. (now Lt. Gen.) Stephen N. Whiting was confirmed as commander, Space Operations Command (SPoC), at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. He currently is deputy commander, Headquarters Air Force Space Command (redesignated U.S. Space Force).

SPoC is one of three field commands that were just created under USSF.  It will be the primary force provider of space forces and capabilities for combatant commanders, coalition partners, the joint force and the nation.

When USSF was created, Raymond said there were “thousands and thousands of actions” that need to take place as the service stands up.  These are a few of them.

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