While all eyes have been firmly focussed on RAF Fairford over the past few days, there’s been some significant developments in the US Armed Forces taking place across the pond.
On Thursday 29th August, the 11th Combatant Command of the US Military was formally announced with the creation of US Space Command (USSPACECOM).
In a move to enhance the United States’ space superiority capabilities, President Donald J. Trump, Vice President Mike R. Pence, Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper, and Air Force General John W. “Jay” Raymond formally established the United States Space Command during a ceremony held today at the White House.
At the direction of the President of the United States, the Department of Defense established U.S. Space Command today as the eleventh Unified Combatant Command, with Raymond as its congressionally confirmed commander. Establishing USSPACECOM is a critical step that underscores the importance of the space domain and its strategic contributions to U.S. national security. The USSPACECOM establishment will accelerate the United States’ space capabilities to address rapidly evolving threats to U.S. space assets and the importance of deterring potential adversaries from putting critical U.S. space systems at risk.
“The scope, scale and complexity of today’s threat is real and it is concerning,” said Raymond. “The establishment of a Combatant Command solely focused on the space domain, demonstrates the United States’ commitment to protecting and defending its space assets against that threat.”
Speaking at the official launch, President Trump said: “It’s a big deal.
“As the newest combatant command, SPAECECOMM will defend America’s vital interests in space – the next warfighting domain.”
The president’s National Security Strategy and the National Strategy for Space highlight space as a strategic domain, and the United States must earn and maintain space superiority. USSPACECOM’s establishment will modernize and enhance our approach to space from a domain of an unchallenged environment to one of a warfighting domain.
The USSPACECOM mission is to deter aggression and conflict, defend U.S. and allied freedom of action, deliver space combat power for the Joint/Combined force, and develop joint warfighters to advance U.S. and allied interests in, from, and through the space domain. The command will be postured to protect and defend, while increasing joint warfighter lethality by executing two primary missions focused on 1) unifying and leading space capabilities for the Combined Force, and 2) maintaining U.S. and Allied advantages in space through protection and defense.
USSPACECOM is a Geographic Combatant Command with a global Area of Responsibility defined as the area surrounding the earth at altitudes equal to or greater than 100 kilometers above mean (average) sea level. The new command is globally integrated with the other geographic combatant commands and prepared to support its partners to meet today’s threat on a global scale.
“Our space capabilities underpin the security of our great nation, enable our economic prosperity, provide for our way of life, and secure our way of war,” Raymond said. “In fact, there is nothing we do as a joint and coalition force that isn’t enabled by space. Our adversaries understand this and are moving fast to develop their own robust space capabilities and to develop weapons designed to deny us the use of space and the advantage they provide.”
“This afternoon, by establishing United States Space Command, singularly focused on that warfighting domain, we send a very clear message to the world that the United States and our allies will not assume away space superiority,” he concluded.
From establishment to full operational capability, General Raymond will remain dual-hatted as the commander of Air Force Space Command and U.S. Space Command.
This isn’t the first time that space has been identified as being of massive strategic importance however. US Space Command (USSPACECOMM) was originally established in 1985 however was disbanded on 2002 following the events of 9/11 with a shift of focus and finance to combat the War on Terror.
But what does this mean for the military radio monitor? With work now ongoing to establish the US Space Force – the 6th Branch of the US Armed Forces, are we about to enter the realms of science fiction with space soldiers?
There’s already widespread speculation about the current escalation between the USA and Russia with some good old-fashioned sabre rattling ongoing. With the launch of USSPACECOM, it will be interesting to see whether Russia follow suit which could lead us into the next space race as the two nations fight for superiority of the dark horizon above us.