April 10, 2017 – The Air Force unveiled three significant space initiatives at the 33rd Space Symposium in Colorado Springs last week.
During a keynote address, General Jay Raymond, commander of Air Force Space Command, announced a new office for space at the Air Staff, a new warfighting construct for space, and improvements in space battle management command and control.
Raymond highlighted the 35-year history of AFSPC, its Airmen, and how the command has evolved from its creation during the Cold War, its first combat engagement during Operation Desert Storm, and the current space threats our nation faces today. He noted the successful test of an anti-satellite weapon by the Chinese in 2007, which created more than 3,000 pieces of space debris, and marked the beginning of a new era for space.
“That event marked the third phase of this command – the modern era for military space, where space is a joint warfighting domain,” said Raymond. “Just like air, land and sea, space is a warfighting domain and the Airmen of AFSPC are joint warfighters.”
Raymond introduced the Space Warfighting Construct, which combines transformational and warfighting-focused command initiatives to maintain space superiority in the 21st century.
This new era in space is defined by a contested, degraded and operationally-limited environment. Raymond spoke about how the command is evolving to ensure our space capabilities are available for the warfighter in this new environment.
“Building the command and integrating the capabilities of the command into joint military operations has positioned us to meet the multi-domain challenges we currently face,” said Raymond. “When our battlefield Airmen go into the fight today they do so with air, space, and cyberspace in their quiver. Space and cyber are the DNA of multi-domain integration.”
Another major space initiative announced was the development of a Battle Management Command and Control (BMC2) system. “Our space warfighting CONOPS relies on the ability to command and control across multiple domains,” said Raymond.
Space BMC2 will enable operational commanders to simultaneously maneuver space assets and direct defensive operations against multiple threats while maintaining space effects for the warfighter.
“We activated the Joint Interagency Combined Space Operations Center (JICSpOC), now the National Space Defense Center, to build unity of effort between the DOD and the intelligence community to effectively command and control in a contested domain, which ultimately provides us the capability to be able to fight and win a war if it extends into space” said Raymond.
“Let me be clear with everybody in this room, we are not interested in getting in that fight. Nobody wins that fight, but we will be prepared for it,” said the general.
In addition to the new Space Warfighting Construct and Space BMC2 program, Raymond also announced the creation of a new 3-star deputy chief of staff for space at the Air Force Headquarters in Washington.
“Just like we have a deputy chief of staff for operations and intelligence, we’re going to have a deputy chief of staff for space. They will come to work every day focused on making sure we can organize, train, and equip our forces to meet the ever increasing challenges in the space domain.”
Raymond summed up his remarks by reiterating the importance of the mission of AFSPC.
“There is no way we could do what we do today without the incredible efforts of this command,” said the general. “Our joint warfighting partners need to have space all the time. That’s not a given anymore, we’re hard at work to make sure that it is,” added Raymond. “And it is going to take the support of government, industry, and the support of our international partners.”