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Air Force Brass Lead New SpaceCom Subcommand

Posted by Theresa Hitchens on


Gen. Jay Raymond, commander of Air Force Space Command

Strategic Forces Command chief Gen. John Hyten (left); Space Command chief Gen. Jay Raymond (right)

WASHINGTON: Space Command head Gen. John Raymond will start the new component command designed to provide space capabilities to joint and allied forces in the field on Oct. 1. Although the Combined Force Space Component Command (CFSCC) is a joint command, its top two leaders are Air Force brass: Maj. Gen. Stephen Whiting has been named commander; Brig. Gen. Matthew Davidson is his deputy.

The CFSCC headquartered at Vandenberg AFB in California “provides space capabilities such as space situational awareness, space electronic warfare, satellite communications, missile warning, nuclear detonation detection, environmental monitoring, military ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance], navigation warfare, command and control, and PNT [positioning, navigation and timing] in support of USSPACECOM and the other Combatant Commands,” according to a SPACECOM press release.

Perhaps more interestingly, the release notes that the CFSCC’s mission includes executing “tactical control over globally dispersed Air Force, Army, and Navy space units that command satellites in every orbital regime.”

In addition, “CFSCC also executes command and control of assigned multinational forces in support of Operation Olympic Defender, as directed by USSPACECOM.” Breaking D readers will remember that Olympic Defender is the space warplan approved by Gen. John Hyten, head of Strategic Command, last December, and shared with allies. With SPACECOM now designated as a geographic command with possible combat-lead duties during wartime, that plan is expected to be among many being rewritten.

As well as working with Combatant Commands, the CFSCC further “supports, and receives support from, Coalition operations centers including the Australian Space Operations Center, Canadian Space Operations Center, and United Kingdom Space Operations Center.” Part of the component command’s job is to build capacity for space operations via partnerships with allies, commercial firms and civil agencies such as NASA.

The CFSCC will have four different operations centers: the Combined Space Operations Center (CSpOC) at Vandenberg; the Missile Warning Center at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station in Colorado; the Joint Overhead Persistent Infrared Center at Buckley AFB in Colorado; and the Joint Navigation Warfare Center at Kirtland AFB in New Mexico.

Whiting is dual-hatted as commander of Air Force Space Command’s 14th Air Force, and formerly served as deputy Joint Force Space Component commander at Strategic Command. Among other recent posts, he served as director of Integrated Air, Space, Cyberspace and ISR Operations at Air Force Space Command headquarters, Peterson AFB, Colorado.

Davidson is dual-hatted as vice commander 14th Air Force, at Vandenberg. Among his previous jobs, he served as commander of the 24th Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field in Florida, and Chief of Staff for Special Operations Central Command Forward HQ, at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.

Raymond announced the creation of the CFSCC last month, along with another subcommand called Joint Task Force Space Defense (JTF-SD) that will be commanded by Army Brig. Gen. Tom James.

The JTF-SD will be in charge of “space superiority operations” in order to “deter aggression, defend space capability, and when directed, defeat adversaries throughout the continuum of conflict,” according to SPACECOM’s Aug. 30 announcement. It also is the subcommand that will oversee the National Space Defense Center (NSDC) at Schriever AFB, where Intelligence Community space operations are integrated with those of the military.

The NSDC is at the heart of the new “unified defense concept of operations” announced at last month’s National Space Council meeting by Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford. As Breaking D readers know, that plan would for the first time put the National Reconnaissance Office’s fleet of spy satellites under the direction of the military during conflict.

What do you think?