OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. – U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) formalized the name change of its newest space operations center April 1. The Joint Interagency Combined Space Operations Center will move forward as the National Space Defense Center (NSDC).
More than 18 months of exercises, experiments, and concept refinement have solidified the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community’s unity of effort approach, and strengthened the commitment of each organization to a long-term partnership.
“It’s important we name organizations to accurately reflect their structure and purpose; this change does that,” said Gen. John E. Hyten, USSTRATCOM commander. “The new name reflects that preserving the space domain and defending against threats to space systems is a national priority.”
The NSDC mission to develop and improve the United States’ ability to rapidly detect, warn, characterize, attribute and defend against threats to space systems will not change and the center will remain at Schriever AFB, Colorado.
During the course of the NSDC experimentation, it was determined that the best course for allied integration will be increased presence and participation at Vandenberg AFB, California. To that end, USSTRATCOM, through the Joint Functional Component Command for Space (JFCC Space), will establish a Multinational Space Collaboration effort. While the structure and personnel makeup of the effort is being determined, allies and partners will be co-located with JFCC Space headquarters activities at Vandenberg.
At this emergent stage, USSTRATCOM is in the final stages of formalizing an agreement with Germany to establish a German liaison officer to JFCC Space as the first addition under the Multinational Space Collaboration effort. The German liaison officer is expected to be in place at Vandenberg later this summer.
This multinational space collaboration effort will expand space cooperation and information sharing efforts beyond the Combined Space Operations initiative, a framework for combined operations in space among the Five Eye allies. Participants in the Multinational Space Collaboration effort will explore methods for increased sharing, cooperation and collaboration to preserve the safety of spaceflight, and enhance mutual security.
According to Lt. Gen. David Buck, JFCC Space commander, “while the Multinational Space Collaboration effort does not yet include combined operations, we are optimistic that increased collaboration with ally and partner nations could lead to appropriate levels of combined space operations in the future.”
One of nine DoD unified combatant commands, USSTRATCOM has global strategic missions, assigned through the Unified Command Plan, which include strategic deterrence; space operations; cyberspace operations; joint electronic warfare; global strike; missile defense; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and analysis and targeting.