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Air Force Space Command At 21

General Lance Ford
by Gen. Lance Lord
Air Force Space Command Commander
Peterson AFB - Sep 22, 2003
This month we celebrate Air Force Space Command's twenty-first anniversary. When Space Command was activated on Sept. 1, 1982, our first commander, Gen. James Hartinger, said it was "a crucial milestone in the evolution of military space operations."

The command's activation marked the culmination of a long effort to create a separate military command for space operations. In 1959, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Thomas White said, "The United States must win and maintain the capability to control space in order to assure the progress and pre-eminence of the free nations. If liberty and freedom are to remain in the world, the United States and its allies must be in position to control space."

For the last twenty-one years, under the superb leadership of AFSPC commanders: Gen. James Hartinger, Gen. Robert Herres, Maj. Gen. Maurice Padden, Gen. Donald Kutyna, Lt. Gen. Thomas Moorman, Gen. Charles Horner, Gen. Joseph Ashy, Gen. Howell Estes, Gen. Richard Myers and Gen. Ralph Eberhart; AFSPC has grown, developed and matured toward General White's vision. We have lived up to the Air Force mission statement, which was revised in 1992 to read, "Defend the United States through control and exploitation of air and space."

It has been said that Operation Desert Storm was the first space war. However, we've worked even harder over the last few years to integrate the high-tech advantages provided by speed of light space capabilities with all our forces to significantly improve our American joint way of war. Space has become, as the Secretary of the Air Force James Roche has stated, "an equal partner" and completely integral to combat operations in every medium air, land, sea and space.

In Operation Iraqi Freedom, American forces set benchmarks for speed, precision, lethality, duration and effects. In a matter of minutes, not weeks, hours or days as in past wars, commanders identified and engaged targets and received battle damage assessment largely due to space power. Iraqi Freedom Air Component Commander, Lt. Gen. Buzz Moseley, said "The satellites have been just unbelievably capable... supporting conventional surface, naval, special ops and air forces. They've made a huge difference for us."

You have done well... and the world has taken notice. Space is now a necessity to combat operations and it must not become a vulnerability. First and foremost, AFSPC is a combat command and it's about full spectrum operations and bringing the full weight of space power to bear. Our charter for the future is to maintain the highly successful force enhancement roles we provide our military today and increase our focus on producing warfighting effects with space superiority and strike capabilities.

This presents a fundamental shift in our thinking, from focusing largely on the force enhancement role of our space systems and the deterrence role of our nuclear forces, to developing and projecting combat power. Space superiority is our imperative it requires the same sense of urgency that we place on gaining and maintaining air superiority over enemy airspace in times of conflict. This imperative requires a full understanding of the medium of space, and we will pursue robust space situation awareness leading to space superiority.

Our new AFSPC strategy, Commanding the Future, is our vector for transformation. It involves what we've termed seven strategic thrusts. These thrusts are each headed by a general officer and each has an execution plan and vision which aligns with one of our three roles as a command: component to United States Strategic Command, major Air Force command and support to the executive agent for space. Each of these strategic thrusts is essential to our future, and I'll briefly outline them in no order of priority, except for the first one. The analogy I draw is the "Command the Future" thrust forms the hub connecting each other thrust, like spokes, to the wheel that is AFSPC.

THRUST 1: Command the Future. This is the organizing and integrating intellectual framework that ensures we're progressing toward true transformation. Headed by the AFSPC Vice Commander, Lt. Gen. Dan Leaf, it is the guiding force for envisioning, planning, integrating, and executing wins in each thrust area and lays our foundation for more far-reaching change in the future.

THRUST 2: Enterprise. Our Director of Plans and Programs, Brig. Gen. Ted Mercer, heads the Enterprise thrust. Over time, this thrust will lead the deployment of a new generation of capabilities, to include responsive/assured space access, integrated Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, prompt global strike, space superiority and defensive and offensive counterspace programs.

THRUST 3: Partner. Our Director of Logistics and Communications, Brig. Gen. Dick Webber heads the Partner thrust. It is critical for AFSPC to forge and foster needed civil, commercial and military partnerships for our mission and future.

THRUST 4: Unleash Human Talent. Together with the command's Space Professional Task Force team, Brig. Gen. (sel.) Rob Worley and the Mission Support Directorate's Personnel Division have the task of developing our cadre of space professionals.

THRUST 5: Warfighters. Our focus will remain on our ability to operate from, in and through space with combat ready forces. We stand ready to develop the "Concepts of Operations" that present highly trained space and missile forces to U.S. Strategic Command that come with robust command and control. A team composed of the Director of Operations, Maj. Gen. (sel.) Doug Fraser, 20th Air Force Commander, Maj. Gen. Frank Klotz and 14th Air Force Commander, Maj. Gen. Mike Hamel leads this thrust and our focus for the command.

THRUST 6: Wizards. Headed by the Space Warfare Center Commander, Brig. Gen. Dan Darnell, Wizards are chartered to both think inside and outside the box. They understand how, what ... and most importantly why we do what we do. From this thrust, we will derive new space doctrine and theory.

THRUST 7: Technology to Warfighting. Our Director of Requirements, Brig. Gen. Tom Sheridan and the Space and Missile Systems Center Commander, Lt. Gen. Brian Arnold, are the thrust champions for technology to warfighting. They are hard at work refining requirements to field and fund the capabilities we must bring to the fight.

Each thrust mentioned above does not operate independently. They are not stovepipes. Rather, as stated earlier, they form the hub and spokes on the wheel that is AFSPC. This is about leading change and shaping the future. We need each thrust ... and each of you ... working together so we can Command the Future.

Who are the people of AFSPC? We are warriors that provide the nation an asymmetry on the battlefield that no other nation can match; we maximize combat power and we have changed the face of battle; we are transforming our military ... and we must be ready to dominate any potential adversary of tomorrow with full-spectrum warfighting effects. We must be an operationally responsive command experts in the application of space power, good stewards of resources and well integrated within our Air Force.

Happy 21st birthday, Air Force Space Command! The next 21 look even brighter, thanks to each of you, our brilliant and dedicated space professionals.

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