Air Force to Establish Washington-Based Vice Commander for Space Command

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson says the service wants to create a three-star vice commander of space position in an effort to meet requirements outlined in the defense authorization bill. USAF photo by Van Ha.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson has told congressional defense committees the Air Force plans to establish a three-star vice commander of Air Force Space Command who will serve in the Washington, D.C, area, USAF spokesman Maj. William Russell said.

The new position would be responsible for a variety of tasks related to coordinating with Air Force headquarters and other national security agencies.

Air Force Space Command would still maintain its two-star deputy commander billet in Colorado Springs, Colo., and those responsibilities would not change. The deputy commander, the two-star position, currently helps the AFSPC boss maintain space and cyberspace forces, provide missile warning and other capabilities for a number of commands, and directs the daily activities of the headquarters Air Force Space Command staff at Peterson Air Force Base.

Russell said he could not speculate on potential nominations, but this position, like all three-star positions, must be confirmed by the Senate. The new position is being created as part of Air Force actions to implement language in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act dealing with the command.

The Air Force had created a position for a deputy chief of staff for space to solely focus on integrating space operations into the overall US military, and Maj. Gen. David Thompson was confirmed for the position last year. However, the NDAA eliminated that position, with Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) and Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), calling the position “a hastily developed half-measure, … which at best only added a box on the organization chart.”