PETERSON SPACE FORCE BASE, Colo. –
U.S. Army Gen. James Dickinson, U.S. Space Command commander, appeared before the House and Senate Armed Services Committees to provide his Fiscal Year 2023 Priorities and Posture in Washington, D.C., March 1 and 8.
The USSPACECOM commander testified alongside U.S. Navy Adm. Charles Richard, U.S. Strategic Command commander, U.S. Air Force General Glen Van Herck, U.S. Northern Command commander and Honorable Sasha Baker, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, March 1. Dickinson and Richards also appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington, D.C., March 8.
The hearings give committee lawmakers insight into the priorities of senior defense leaders and also give lawmakers an opportunity to ask questions.
During his testimony, Dickinson offered insight on where the command stands currently and its posture for the future aligned with National Defense Strategy.
“Today, we remain hard at work building the Command toward Full Operational Capability,” said Dickinson. “We are prepared to execute our Unified Command Plan missions and responsibilities, yet acknowledge that the challenges from our competitors in the domain are substantial and growing.”
Dickinson provided an overview of challenges presented by Russian and Chinese counterspace testing, such as Russia testing a destructive Direct Ascent Anti-Satellite (DA-ASAT) missile on Nov.15, 2021, and China conducting the first launch of a fractional orbital platform with a hypersonic glide vehicle.
“In 2021, the PRC increased on-orbit assets by 27%,” Dickinson said. “Their recent counter-space capability demonstrations include the DN-1 and DN-2 Direct Ascent Anti-Satellite tests and the Hypersonic Glide Vehicle test. In January, the recently launched SJ-21 “space debris mitigation” satellite docked with a defunct PRC satellite and moved it to an entirely different orbit. This activity demonstrated potential dual-use capability in SJ-21 interaction with other satellites.”
Dickinson explained USSPACECOM is committed to deterring the use of competitor counterspace capabilities within the framework of the Department of Defense’s Integrated Deterrence initiative. And, if called upon, the command is capable of providing options to protect and defend against such threats.
Due to the growing need and demand to provide decision-quality information to combatant commanders and the National Command Authorities, Dickinson requested the Committees to authorize and fund Space Domain Awareness programs that enable USSPACECOM to monitor, characterize and attribute behavior as well as provide combat-relevant indications and warning of potential threats to U.S. government, allied, and partner space systems.
“SDA helps us analyze, not just identify what is occurring in space, which, when combined with information from our intelligence agencies, helps develop an understanding of why things are happening,” said Dickinson. “SDA remains my top mission priority for USSPACECOM. SDA provides the backbone of USSPACECOM’s strategy for accomplishing our mission. That strategy sets the conditions to deter first, and when called upon, to defend space capabilities and deliver combat power to the United States and its allies.”
Dickinson thanked the members of the committees for their unwavering support of the men and women of USSPACECOM and for the opportunity to tell their stories of mission challenges, and their successes in meeting those challenges.
“I am honored to represent the approximate 18,000 military, civilian, and contractor personnel supporting USSPACECOM’s mission. Our success is fundamentally a reflection of their superb capabilities, their unrelenting dedication, and their steadfast perseverance,” said Dickinson. "Space is vital to our modern way of life and our people remain our most critical asset.”