Air Force’s Joint Forces Space Component Command Missions to Move to U.S. Space Command
When the future U.S. Space Command is stood up, the Air Force Space Command’s Joint Forces Space Component Command (JFSCC) two main mission areas will be reborn under the new combatant command to help facilitate cooperation with both commercial and multi-national partners in space, a senior Air Force official said June 11.
Cooperation with commercial partners and allies to address shared space concerns is “vitally important to our nations’ strategic posture,” said Maj. Gen. Stephen Whiting, 14th Air Force commander and JFSCC deputy commander Tuesday. Speaking at the SMI Group’s first-annual Military Space USA conference hosted in Los Angeles, Whiting said that plans are in place to stand up a new Combined Forces Space Component Command (CFSCC) within the forthcoming U.S. Space Command.
“To facilitate more cooperation in the future, we plan to have a component … whose job it will be to strengthen and widen the partnerships we need to preserve our space advantages across a wide variety of stakeholders,” he said.
The standup of the new component command is incumbent upon the Senate confirmation of Air Force Gen. John Raymond to be the new leader of SPACECOM, he told Defense Daily at the conference. The Senate Armed Services Committee held a nomination hearing for Raymond — who currently leads Air Force Space Command — June 4.
Whiting’s position as the 14th Air Force commander at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, would become dual-hatted as the commander of CFSCC. As such, he would provide space effects to terrestrial warfighters to include the geographic combatant commands and close allies such as Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, Whiting said.
In his current role as the deputy commander of the Joint Forces Space Component Command, Whiting is responsible for directing all assigned and attached space forces from U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) on behalf of the JFSCC, and provide theater and global space effects. He is also responsible for protecting and defending critical U.S. and allied space capabilities.
A spokesperson for Air Force Space Command confirmed to Defense Daily Tuesday that plans are in place for the JFSCC’s two main mission areas — space effects support for terrestrial missions and the defense of on-orbit assets — will be addressed by two new component commands under U.S. Space Command, with the terrestrial mission support being addressed by the CFSCC and the on-orbit systems defense mission handled by a second command, which was not named.
“There will be a separation between roles and responsibilities that will be directed by the U.S. Space Command to the CFSCC and the other organization that will do that space defense mission,” the spokesperson said, emphasizing that the plans are dependent upon Raymond’s confirmation as SPACECOM commander.
Various Air Force officials have expressed the need to work more closely with commercial and multinational partners in the space domain.
At the annual Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado this past April, U.S. STRATCOM Commander Gen. John Hyten described how the U.S. military was sharing its space plans for the first time with allied nations under Operation Olympic Defender. At the same conference, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein congregated a meeting between international air chiefs in the inaugural Air Chiefs Space Conference.
At the Military Space USA conference, Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (AFSMC) Chief Partnerships Officer Deanna Ryals said in her keynote speech that 28 nations are now reported or registered to operate satellites, meaning “more countries than ever before” are interested in space operations.
She told the audience that there is not a single capability in SMC’s portfolio that they are not exploring potential partnerships with industry and multi-national allies.