The Space Force’s new Space Systems Command will oversee the new service’s acquisition and launch services under one command, with the soon-to-be-former Space and Missile Systems Center serving as its headquarters.
Space Systems Command, one of three commands within the Space Force, will officially stand up this summer after a commander is nominated and confirmed. SMC’s current offices at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., will be the headquarters, and launch operations at Patrick Space Force Base, Fla., and Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif., will be realigned under the SSC.
The overall goal of the organization is to acquire and launch space systems more quickly. The SSC will work directly with the Air Force Research Laboratory and other groups like the Rapid Capabilities Office.
“We have to go fast,” Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond said during an April 8 press conference. “It is a national imperative that we go fast.”
Under the new design, SSC will be commanded by a three-star general with a two-star deputy who will serve as the “assured access to space leader” overseeing the launch enterprise. Once officially stood up, more units from the Air Force and personnel from other services will re-designate to part of the SSC. There will not be any geographic moves of units as part of the establishment, and current SMC boss Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson said the change is intended to be resource neutral.
The announcement comes about a year and a half after SMC redesigned itself into SMC 2.0 with the goal of acquiring space systems faster. There are about 6,000 personnel in SMC now, and once the launch bases are realigned under SSC, the command will grow to between 10,000-11,000, Thompson said.
Additional changes include:
- The 61st Air Base Group at Los Angeles Air Force Base will be redesignated the Los Angeles Garrison.
- The 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg will become Space Launch Delta 30 and the 45th Space Wing at Patrick will become Space Launch Delta 45.
- SLD 45’s commander will be a one-star USSF general, director of the eastern range, SSC operations director, and acquisition lead for the “range of the future.”
- Group-level organizations at the 30th and 45th SW will inactivate, with subordinate units aligning under the Deltas.
- The 45th Range Squadron at Patrick will be redesignated the 1st Range Operations Squadron, and the airfield management and maintenance responsibilities will be transferred to the 45th Logistics Readiness Squadron.
- AFRL unit manpower and funding that perform space science and technology functions will be administratively controlled by SSC, but will stay aligned to AFRL.
- The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Strategic Warning and Surveillance Systems Division will move to SSC.
- SSC will provide select support to the Space Rapid Capabilities Office at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.
- SSC will provide administrative and integration support to the Space Development Agency when it transfers from the Defense Department to the Space Force in October 2022.