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News | March 21, 2023

18 SDS Det. 1 declares IOC, provides direct support to NSDC

By Ms. Bridget Bonnette Joint Task Force-Space Defense Public Affairs

The 18th Space Defense Squadron Det. 1 declared initial operating capability (IOC) Jan. 1, 2023.

“Bringing Delta 2 into the National Space Defense Center is a big deal,” said U.S. Space Force Brig. Gen. Dennis Bythewood, Joint Task Force-Space Defense commander. “Enhancing our domain awareness posture is a top priority for me as we drive operational readiness across the command. Integrating Det. 1 of the 18th SDS into our operations only makes us better.”

Det. 1 was initially activated during an assumption of command ceremony here, July 14, 2022.

Upon achieving this milestone, Det. 1 has fully integrated into the National Space Defense Center’s 24/7 operations and now acts as a force provider to U.S. Space Command in support of the NSDC's space superiority mission.

Det. 1 members are responsible for monitoring objects identified by the NSDC as on-orbit threats, and work in unified action with mission partners to deliver timely, threat-focused Space Domain Awareness (SDA) in support of the JTF-SD's protect-and-defend mission.

“18 SDS Det. 1 assuming responsibility for threat-focused Space Domain Awareness is a key milestone,” said U.S. Space Force Maj. Nathan Glandon, the inaugural 18 SDS Det. 1 commander. “SDA’s support to NSDC operations will improve as we transition our crew positions to a USSF combat mission ready program.”

Prior to achieving the IOC milestone, Det. 1 personnel were service-retained and acted strictly as liaisons between the JTF-SD and its sister component, Combined Forces Space Component Command (CFSCC).

This effort directly aligns with U.S. Space Force Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting, Space Operations Command commander, and his guidance to generate, present and sustain forces to the joint fight.

“Having the 18th SDS Det. 1 on the NSDC team helps normalize the services' Space Domain Awareness mission,” said U.S. Space Force Col. Stephen Lyon, dual-hatted as the JTF-SD director of operations and NSDC director. “DEL 2 and their associated squadrons and detachments are charged to provide SDA to consumers and users of that data. Getting the NSDC out of that business allows DEL 2 to do what they do best, provide world-class SDA to the NSDC for us to use in our protect and defend mission.”

Two Det. 1 operators to be first certified as battle space awareness technicians were U.S. Space Force Master Sgt. Dustin Withey and U.S. Space Force Tech. Sgt Peter Lee.

"It is an honor to be part of the first Space Force personnel providing support to the NSDC," said Withey. "Working alongside the NSDC's 24/7 crew allows us to deliver threat-focused SDA in support of the protect and defend mission."  

The 18 SDS, located at Vandenberg SFB, Calif., and aligned under CFSCC, provides the nation and its allies a continuous, comprehensive, and combat-relevant understanding of the space situation. With the establishment of the U.S. Space Force, 18 SDS is administratively aligned under Space Delta 2.

SDA remains a top mission priority of USSPACECOM, CFSCC and the JTF-SD.