Space Force set to establish CENTCOM-focused component
Stars and Stripes November 30, 2022
The Space Force will establish its second geographically focused command on Friday when it activates U.S. Space Forces-Central at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., military officials announced Wednesday.
The new command will report directly to U.S. Central Command leaders and take responsibility for space-based operations within Central Command’s area of responsibility, according to a CENTCOM statement. CENTCOM, also headquartered at MacDill, is responsible for military operations throughout the Middle East and central Asia, where the command has spent recent decades overseeing wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.
The new organization, which will be known as SPACECENT, will be responsible for ensuring satellite-based navigation and communications for troops in the CENTCOM region and conducting missile detection, among other things, according to CENTCOM. It will initially include about 28 Space Force guardians and be commanded by Col. Christopher Putman. A longtime, space-focused officer in the Space Force and Air Force, Putman has been serving recently as the director of Space Forces for U.S. Air Forces-Central, which is also headquartered at MacDill.
“Just as the evolution of space as a warfighting domain necessitated the establishment of a separate service, SPACECENT provides CENTCOM a subordinate command focused solely and continuously on space integration across the command — with all domains and all components,” Putman said in the statement.
SPACECENT’s activation comes just days after the establishment of U.S. Space Forces Indo-Pacific on Tuesday at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii. That command was the first geographic-focused Space Force component established. The Pentagon’s newest military service established its first component command in October 2020, which provided Space Force troops to U.S. Space Command.
Pentagon officials said the Space Force is expected to establish additional geographic component commands in the future, including a component assigned to U.S. European Command. It was not clear Wednesday when those additional Space Force elements would be established.
The Space Force was initially established in 2019 as a separate military service within the Department of the Air Force. By far the smallest of the military services, the Space Force is charged with providing troops trained to ensure the safety and operation of U.S. space-based assets such as satellites and conduct other space-based missions such as early warnings of incoming missiles.
CENTCOM said Wednesday that the new Space Force element would enhance its “ability to promote security and regional stability, while also advancing U.S. partnerships in the region throughout the space domain.”