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News | Aug. 25, 2021

Space Force’s operational commander describes history of space as a contested domain

By Lt. Col. Corinna Moylan Space Operations Command

Space Force’s operational command is nearing its “fighting weight,” concentrating more on space warfighting operations as other Space Force field commands stand up.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting, Space Operations Command Commander, outlined SpOC's role as the USSF warfighting field command in a speech to the Satellite Industry Breakfast at the 36th Annual Space Symposium on Aug. 25.

“Space Operations Command is the U.S. Space Force’s fight-tonight force.” Whiting told the audience of military and commercial space professionals. “We project combat power. We are the space domain experts who provide and sustain combat-ready intelligence, cyber, space and combat support forces for Combatant Commanders, Coalition partners, the Joint Force and the Nation.”

SpOC is the Space Force service component to U.S. Space Command.
Whiting led the audiences through the history of military space from the end of World War II to the present day, highlighting milestones like the first use of space to support tactical operations in Vietnam and the use of missile warning satellites to keep U.S. and coalition troops safe during the First Gulf War. He also highlighted the growing threats to space from anti-satellite weapons being developed and deployed by nations like China and Russia. Today’s Space Operations Command, Space Force and U.S. Space Command were created to counter these threats and incorporate lessons learned in military operations.
“Now we find ourselves in this second Golden Age of Space. We take for granted now, launch and fly back of rockets, which would have been science fiction just five years ago,” Whiting said. “But at the same time we now have the right military organizations in place.  We have our new Combatant Command leading us in space warfighting. We have our new service focused on developing the guardians and systems that we need. We have the most unique relationship possible between a service and a COCOM focused on the same domain. Sitting at the nexus of these two organizations is Space Operations Command as the USSF service component to U.S. Space Command.”
Space Operations Command stood up on Oct. 21, 2020. Whiting said since October, SpOC  has taken accountability for performance and readiness of eight Deltas, two Garrisons and 11,000 personnel. This is a team made up of Guardians and Airmen, joint, DOD and coalition partners.
“We protect America and our Allies in, from, and to space. Everything we do has to be relevant to the threats that we face today,” he said. “We partner with U.S. Government, allies and commercial stake holders to execute our mission. Space by definition is a team sport. We know we do not do this alone, it takes all of us to execute our critical space mission.”