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US Space Force announces formation of Space Systems Command

The United States Space Force will reform its acquisition organization under the new “Space Systems Command”, in the summer of 2021, Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond said.

Under the restructuring to speed up new technology delivery, Space Systems Command (SSC) will replace the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), elevating its responsibilities to a Space Force Field Command.

The new organization, headquartered at Los Angeles Air Force Base, will be charged with developing, acquiring, fielding and sustaining space capabilities.

The SSC will launch the Space Force’s new satellites, test them on orbit and sustain the constellations. Some additional Air Force units will transfer into the Space Force, but the reorganization does not include transfers from the other services, as had been suggested earlier.

“Space Systems Command’s organizational structure was purpose-built to anticipate and be responsive to the challenges presented by a contested space domain,” said Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond in a statement. “We took the SMC 2.0 transformation of 2019 to the next level, aligning missions and organizations, and pushing authorities down from the three-star level to lower echelons in order to reduce cost and go fast. This will allow us to move at speed in delivering the resilient space capabilities necessary to stay ahead of a growing threat.”

“With the re-designation of SMC as SSC, we will further build upon the success seen with SMC 2.0, while synchronizing the science and technology research, capability development, system production, launch operations, and system sustainment efforts to more effectively deliver cutting-edge space systems needed to ensure the future of our national security and prosperity,” added SMC Commander Lt. Gen. John Thompson.

SSC is the second of three new field commands to be established under the Space Force.

  • The first — Space Operations Command (SpOC) was created in October 2020 and is responsible for operating the nation’s military satellites.
  • The second is the SSC.
  • And third, the US Space Force plans to establish the Space Training and Readiness Command (STARCOM) later in 2021. STARCOM will be in charge of educating and training Space Force guardians.

The SSC is different from earlier plans, since it will not include the Space Rapid Capabilities Office and the Space Development Agency.

SSC also includes a significant shakeup of the service’s launch enterprise. The SSC deputy commander will be the Assured Access to Space leader with oversight of the entire launch enterprise.

That enterprise will be its own office under SSC.

Finally, the 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg AFB, California, and the 45th Space Wing at Patrick Space Force Base, Florida, will be redesignated as Space Launch Delta 30 and Space Launch Delta 45, respectively.

The Space Force presumably will also assume the SMC’s budget of about $9 billion annually and a workforce of about 6,300 military, civilian personnel and contractors.

About 4,000 people who work for the space launch units at Patrick Space Force Base, Florida; and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California will be reassigned to SSC. Both space launch wings currently report to the Space Force’s Space Operations Command.

Hopefully, the Space Force might actually end up in space at some point or another and not just in Qatar or elsewhere on planet Earth.


Header: The official seal of the United States Space Force, approved by the President of the United States on 15 January 2020. White background is transparent.