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US Space Command achieves Full Operational Capability

By Defence Industry Europe

US Space Command has achieved Full Operational Capability. As the nation's 11th and newest military command, established in 2019, USSPACECOM has been rigorously working towards this goal.

 

“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,” said Army Gen. James Dickinson, US Space Command commander.

This declaration follows an intensive evaluation of the command’s capabilities, ensuring readiness even under the most challenging circumstances.

Key criteria for this operational status included the ability to fulfill the Unified Command Plan mission, adequate skills across human capital, necessary infrastructure to support command and control, established command processes and functions, and readiness for future combat scenarios.

 

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This announcement builds upon the preliminary declaration of Initial Operational Capability made on August 24, 2021. Since its inception, USSPACECOM has faced growing challenges in the space domain, notably from counter-space capabilities developed by China and Russia, and emerging space enterprises from North Korea and Iran. The domain has also become increasingly congested and contested due to commercial activities and space debris, which has risen by 76% since 2019.

USSPACECOM’s response to these challenges includes the rapid establishment of a 24/7 Joint Operations Center in 2019, which has played a crucial role in monitoring space activities and providing critical information for national decision-making. The command’s competence was further refined and validated through real-world events and exercise scenarios, including the response to Russia’s anti-satellite missile test in November 2021.

USSPACECOM has completed its first Secretary of Defense-approved operational plan for space and conducted joint exercises, contributing to the evolution of space warfighting doctrine and the normalization of space with other domains.

 

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Currently, USSPACECOM supports global operations by providing space capabilities, including weather monitoring, space control, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, and missile warning. Although reaching Full Operational Capability marks an important milestone, the command will continue to develop and adapt to keep pace with competitors and evolving threats.

Gen. Dickinson expressed gratitude to the Department of Defense, the Department of the Air Force, Congress, and the Colorado Springs community for their support, emphasizing the ongoing commitment of USSPACECOM to ensure the safety and stability of the space domain.

 

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