US Space Command Reaches Full Operational Capability
US Space Command Reaches Full Operational Capability

By Frank Fang

The U.S. Space Command, the Pentagon’s newest and 11th combat command, has reached full operating capability, according to its commander Army Gen. James Dickinson.

Gen. Dickinson made the declaration during a headquarters town hall on Dec. 15, according to a press release.  The U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM) was created in 2019 at the direction of former President Donald Trump.

“Since its establishment in 2019, USSPACECOM has been singularly focused on delivering exquisite capability to the joint force to deter conflict, defend our vital interests, and, if necessary, defeat aggression,” Gen. Dickinson said.

“Thanks to the disciplined initiative of our people and the support of our joint, combined, and partnered team, I can confidently say we have reached full operational capability,” he added.

Gen. Dickinson explained that the decision was made following an “in-depth evaluation of the command’s capabilities,” including the ability to execute its mission on “our worst day, when we are needed the most.”

The declaration of full operating capability met certain criteria, including having the appropriate numbers of skills across the human capital and having the necessary command processes and functions in place, according to Gen. Dickinson.

He named both China and Russia as key adversaries whose space capabilities pose a threat to the United States.

“As the command has matured, challenges to a safe, secure, stable, and sustainable space domain have significantly increased,” Gen. Dickinson said. “Both the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation are fielding counter space capabilities designed to hold U.S., Allied, and partner space assets at risk.”

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has said it will become a “major space power” sometime around 2030 and it is planning to double the size of its space station in the next few years.

Rick Fischer, a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, in a commentary published by The Epoch Times last month, warned that “China has no hesitation to arm its space stations and other large manned space platforms, including its bases on the moon and beyond,” despite what China’s state-run media have said.

“Until the CCP expires or abandons its ambitions for hegemony on Earth, the United States and its partners in space will need to achieve security, meaning they will require military capabilities in space to use against Beijing’s manned and unmanned space systems intended to attack the democracies,” Mr. Fischer concluded.

The command had completed its first training exercise with the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, which “served as a major step in validating the headquarters staff as a ready, joint force,” Gen. Dickinson said.

“Our work continues,” he said. “As the complexity of the domain grows, so must our capability to deliver operational and strategic effects to our nation and preserve the safety and stability of the domain.”

In July, President Joe Biden said the U.S Space Command’s headquarters would remain at Peterson Air Force in Colorado Springs, reversing President Trump’s plans to move it to Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal in Alabama.

Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) both released statements on Friday welcoming the command’s news.

“Colorado was selected as the rightful home for U.S. Space Command because of our state’s extensive space and national security assets and robust aerospace economy,” Mr. Bennet said. “In the face of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s saber-rattling worldwide, U.S. leadership in space is more critical than ever. Space Command is now at Full Operational Capability in Colorado Springs, and our national security is stronger as a result.”

Mr. Hickenlooper said, “The dedication of the service members and civilians at USSPACECOM made it happen and our country and the world will be safer for it.”

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), chairman of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, said in a statement on Friday applauding the command’s achievement.

“This achievement continues to show that Colorado Springs is the right location for USSPACECOM for our nation’s readiness,“ Mr. Lamborn said. “I am confident our Guardians will do what is necessary to maintain the highest levels of readiness to counter our adversaries’ malign ambitions in space. Our nation and its Allies are counting on it.”

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