US Space Force announces future rank structure, outlining 3 major commands

The U.S. Space Force, in collaboration with the Air Force, announced Tuesday its future organizational structure that will mimic the traditions of the other military services but will have its own uniqueness.

The newest branch of the military will be organized into three major field commands: Space Operations Command (SpOC), Space Systems Command (SSC) and Space Training and Readiness Command (STARCOM).

“This is the most significant restructuring of space units undertaken by the United States since the establishment of Air Force Space Command in 1982,” said Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett. “Innovation and efficiency are driving our mission as we position the Space Force to respond with agility to protect our nation’s space capabilities and the American way of life.”

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SpOC and SSC will be led by three-star general officers, and STARCOM will be led by a two-star general, according to a Space Force news release.

The hierarchy of the USSF will be: field commands, deltas and squadrons.

Deltas are part of “our legacy and heritage,” Lt. Gen. David “DT” Thompson, vice commander of the U.S. Space Force, told Space News. “It connects space operators, it’s a symbol we connect with. We want it to be a signature element of our culture and our identify in the future.”

Thompson told Space News that they chose the name “delta” to designate Space Force units because the delta symbol has long been a main feature in military space badges.

The deltas will be aligned with space war combat while base operations and support will remain under the Air Force’s responsibilities.

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Each of the three major field commands will be in charge of the following:

Space Operations Command (SpOC)

The primary force provider of space forces and capabilities for combatant commanders, coalition partners, the joint force and the nation. The staff and operations elements of USSF at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, which is also the former Air Force Space Command will become the headquarters SpOC. There is an existing unit at Vandenberg AFB, California, named Space Operations Command, which will be renamed upon activation of the field command SpOC.

Space Systems Command (SSC)

Responsible for developing, acquiring, and fielding lethal and resilient space capabilities for warfighters. Additionally, SSC will be responsible for launch, developmental testing, on-orbit checkout, and sustainment and maintenance of USSF space systems, as well as oversight of USSF science and technology activities. Acquisition and development organizations to include the Space and Missile Systems Center, the Commercial Satellite Communications Office, and program offices of space systems transferring to USSF from other DoD organizations will form the building blocks of the new command, which will be built out in the months to come.

Space Training and Readiness Command (STARCOM)

Train and educate space professionals, and develop combat-ready space forces to address the challenges of the warfighting domain of space. Complete stand up of STARCOM is scheduled for 2021. In the interim, a provisional Space Training and Readiness Delta, led by an O-6, will be established in July at Peterson AFB. This unit will serve as the parent organization for a number of education, training, and operational test and evaluation units transferring to the Space Force in summer 2020.