Hyten Lays Out Space Mission Force Plans

Air Force Space Command must transform its culture, the way it trains, and the way it fields its forces to ensure it can continue to operate in today’s contested environment, AFSPC boss Gen. John Hyten said in a white paper released Friday. The eight-page document lays out Hyten’s plan to make that transformation by implementing the space mission force. Space operators need to be trained to counter military threats, not just mitigate environmental and manmade risks, Hyten said. “Our space forces must demonstrate their ability to react to a thinking adversary and operate as warfighters in this environment and not simply provide space services,” he wrote. To that end, the ready space crew program will emphasize innovation, low-level decision making, the development of new tactics to counter threats, and continual skill improvement. A renewed emphasis on robust, actionable intelligence, comprehensive analysis of potential adversaries’ capabilities, and employment doctrine will underpin the training. AFSPC is also overhauling the way it organizes its space operators, shifting to space crews that alternate between combatant rotations and periods of dwell, which will be used for training and service-related duties. The 50th Space Wing—the first to implement the SMF construct—began rotations in February, according to a release announcing the White Paper. The 21st Space Wing adopted the SMF construct on July 1, and the 460th Space Wing will transition later this year. “If we do not adopt this transformation quickly, we will lose our competitive advantage in space and jeopardize our ability to successfully confront adversaries in all domains,” Hyten wrote in the white paper. (See also: Space Mission Force: The Next Frontier.)