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News | Oct. 21, 2021

JTF-SD recognizes 2 years of operations, wins

By Jennifer Thibault Joint Task Force-Space Defense

It has been two years since U.S. Space Command leaders recognized the establishment of Joint Task Force-Space Defense in a ceremony at now-Schriever Space Force Base, Colorado.

During the interim, JTF-SD has set out to execute its mission to conduct, in unified action with mission partners, space superiority operations to deter aggression, defend capability and defeat adversaries throughout the continuum of conflict.

The organization’s first commander remains at the helm and is now the first Army space officer to reach the rank of two-star general. Maj. Gen. Tom James led the organization in achieving many wins in support of several U.S. Space Command commander’s key tasks, particularly integrating commercial and interagency organizations and building the command to compete and win.

One of those wins includes establishing the Joint Commercial Operations Cell to integrate commercial space domain awareness sensors.

“We have proven we can provide high-rate monitoring, launch support, and close space object and anomaly event detection of foreign on-orbit assets using unclassified, commercially available resources,” said James. “The team proved we can generate a wide range of protect and defend notifications through commercial sources that are inherently shareable.”

Additionally, the organization developed and published threat response plans, classified capability concepts for employment and a tri-signed space defense campaign plan.

“As with every other warfighting domain, we have developed our plans to counter potential threats in our area of operations,” said U.S. Space Force Brig. Gen. Dennis Bythewood, JTF-SD deputy commander, who joined the organization in July. “We are integrating systems and capabilities to give the combatant command options to protect and defend national, allied and partner space assets.”

JTF-SD furthered the command’s focus on collaboration and strengthening partnerships as it pioneered the fusion of Missile Defense Agency sensors, commercial sensors and the legacy Space Surveillance Network.

“We provide threat-focused space domain awareness, enterprise-wide indications and warning and space superiority efforts,” said Space Force Col. Scott Brodeur, JTF-SD director of operations and director of the National Space Defense Center. “Through our integrated sensor support plan, with resources across the enterprise, we have expanded coverage and are better able to understand the threats.”

While moving the mission forward, leaders have also taken actions to ensure the resilience of its operations by completing its shadow operations center and alternate dais construction.

“We have been a Secretary of Defense priority from our original stand up as the Joint Interagency Combined Space Operations Center to today,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Derek Reimer, JTF-SD Capabilities and Resources Integration director. “We were able to complete this construction as a result of Department of Defense support in this project’s designation as a Joint Emergent Operational Need.”

JTF-SD operations are now more resilient than they were two years ago and through exercises they have integrated those operations into other combatant commands.

“We have become key players in multi-domain operations and exercises, such as Pacific Sentry, among others,” said Space Force Lt. Col. William McGillivray, JTF-SD Development Division director. “We maintain a continuous and perpetual cycle advancing readiness of current and future space capabilities. We hold a variety of exercises with varying levels of integration within the combatant command in addition to engaging in the larger, well-known space exercises such as Global Lightning.”

All of these wins support USSPACECOM’s charge of "Never a Day Without Space." 

“I am proud of our collective efforts these past two years,” said James. “We will continue this focus and commitment in support of our national security strategy because we know our adversaries are not sitting still.”