With the establishment of the Space Operations Command, the U.S. Space Force has its first field command, after the redesignation of Air Force Space Command at Peterson in the Colorado Springs area earlier this month, according to a Space Force description of the milestone.
Space Operations Command will provides the troops U.S. Space Command needs to perform its mission.
“This is an appropriate time to acknowledge that what we are doing is significant. It’s history in the making today,” Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond said, according to a Space Force account of the command activation.
Space Force and Space Command are distinct. Space Force is a U.S. military branch, like the Air Force. Space Command is one of 11 unified combatant commands. The services — Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Space Force — organize, train and equip forces and capabilities to these 11 combatant commands so that they can perform their missions.
Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting assumed command of the new unit, which is mostly formed from the former Air Force units 14th Air Force and Air Force Space Command, according to the Space Force.
The military is holding a nationwide competition to host the permanent headquarters of Space Command, including the Dayton area. Some see the establishment of the Space Operations Command as indicative of what defense leaders might be thinking.
“The operational piece of the Space Force was established here Wednesday and it may offer the strongest argument yet for why U.S. Space Command should stay in town,” said The Gazette, a newspaper in Colorado Springs.
Messages seeking comment were sent Monday to spokespeople for the Air Force and Space Force.
“The establishment of Space Operations Command adds powerful depth to our collective space combat capability,” said Gen. James Dickinson, head of U.S. Space Command. “Make no mistake, we are the best in the world in space. With the stand up of Space Operations Command today, we are even better aligned to deliver combat power more effectively.”