The United States’ top commander of space forces is actually not a member of the United States Space Force. He is actually a four-star general.
As the commander of the United States Space Command, General James Dickinson oversees all operations that involve satellites that have been into space. That means it is his responsibility to decide on a response if any American satellites are threatened by foreign powers.
“We have to ensure that we have a safe domain in which to operate,” Dickinson says. If the United States Space Command is not willing to protect any assets that we have in space, foreign governments could cause any number of long term issues. He is the first Army officer who has been chosen for this prestigious honor.
As the unified combatant command for space operations, this location plays a crucial role. It is headquartered at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. Space Force officer Lt. Gen. John Shaw is serving as his deputy.
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Shaw was recently promoted and this was confirmed by the Senate. The headquarters continue to grow and over 1,000 personnel will be hired by this time next year.
There is a basing review that is expected to take place as well. “We’ll await the decision probably early next year, we hope, from the secretary of the Air Force,” says Dickinson. General John “Jay” Raymond was responsible for leading the command initially. He served in this capacity for the first year of operations.
When it came time to choose a deputy, Raymond selected Dickinson. He previously served as the commander of the Army Space and Missile Defense Command in Huntsville, Alabama.
While there who believe that the United States Space Command is a new enterprise, this program was initially established back in 1985. It was eventually disbanded in 2002, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
Space Command’s top post was filled once Trump made the nomination back in June. The Senate confirmed the appointment soon after. Air Force generals were previously holding the post before Dickinson was given the chance to rise in the ranks.
As a leader of field artillery, missile defense, and space forces, Dickinson has spent 35 years working tirelessly to protect this country.
There are growing national security concerns that need to be addressed. He’s the perfect man for the job. Dickinson has been paying close attention to the actions of some of our biggest rivals. “Russia and China have weaponized space,” he says. “Over the past year, we have been able to hold those folks accountable for what they’re doing in the space domain.” We could not agree more!
Electronic weapons and missiles could be used by China to attack American satellites. Those that lie in lower orbits are at risk. According to Dickinson, the Space Command needed a bit of an overhaul.
He felt as if things were unsafe and unprofessional when he first came aboard. “Russia and China have weaponized space,” says Dickinson. “Over the past year, we have been able to hold those folks accountable for what they’re doing in the space domain.”
In another development, space traffic management responsibilities that were once handled by other organizations are now being transferred to this department. “I fully support that transition,” Dickinson said.
“Like everything we do with other government agencies, it will have to be a very close relationship.” He also went on to speak about the importance of working with Commerce to support the transition.
“They will ultimately have the responsibility for being able to characterize what’s going on in orbit,” he claims. There is one element that seems to confuse people here, though. The Space Force and the Space Command are not actually the same group.
They are two different organizations entirely. “It’s expected that there would be a little confusion,” says an understanding Dickinson. “It’s important that we continue to delineate what each does.” We look forward to seeing what else Dickinson has in store.