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News | March 15, 2023

USSPACECOM commander testifies on readiness

By Staff Report U.S. Space Command

U.S. Army Gen. James Dickinson, U.S. Space Command commander, testified before the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee and the Senate Armed Services Committee March 8-9, 2023.

Dickinson fielded questions from both congressional bodies on a variety of issues, however, his responses focused primarily on his organization’s readiness in the face of threats posed by China and Russia.

“We must maintain our position of advantage in the space domain and ensure it remains sustainable, safe, stable, and secure for all,” Dickinson said in his opening statements. “The joint force relies on space-based capabilities to project and employ power.”

The hearings are an annual opportunity for USSPACECOM to provide insight on the threats facing the command’s astrographic area of responsibility and what the command requires to not only challenge competitors but continue to stay ahead of future advancements.

In much of his remarks Dickinson described how USSPACECOM mitigates threats in the space domain. In a dynamic area of responsibility like space, the ability to “fight today” is vital to mission success.

“We must prevent today’s strategic competition from growing into a conflict in space; we achieve this by deterring aggression, defending national interests, and, if necessary, prevailing in any domain,” Dickinson explained. “We must be ready to fight today – the threat will not wait. To this end, we are leveraging the joint force, our allies, and our partners to integrate and maximize the capabilities we have today. At the same time, we look forward to the capabilities the services are developing for the future fight.” 

In addition to coordinating with other defense organizations, USSPACECOM integrates commercial capabilities and entities during daily operations. This type of collaboration is particularly successful in the area of Space Domain Awareness, which remains Dickinson’s top priority. To accomplish the SDA mission, which includes the continuous characterization of on-orbit objects to gain a broader understanding of what activities are taking place in the space domain, Dickinson described the command’s utilization of non-traditional sensors.

“We’re taking steps to be sure we’re leveraging sensors around the world that are traditionally not used for SDA,” he said. “We look at these assets to understand how we integrate them into a comprehensive architecture.”

Just as important as USSPACECOM’s collaboration with commercial industry is the command’s collaboration with allies and partners. For example, Dickinson detailed one of the ongoing efforts to increase cooperation with like-minded spacefaring nations, the Global Sentinel capstone, an unclassified program focused on Space Situational Awareness that recently brought together an unprecedented 24 participating nations in 2022.

In just more than three years since its reestablishment, USSPACECOM has evolved to meet the demanding complexities of the ever-changing space domain, to include raising awareness of its congested, competitive and contested nature and its implications to both security and the global economy.

“Space powers our way of life and is a critical component of national security,” he said opening statement. “…I want to emphasize to the American people, my pledge that U.S. Space Command will ensure that there is never a day without space.”