United States Space Command

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United States Space Command
United States Space Command emblem.gif
U.S. Space Command emblem
CountryUnited States of America
TypeUnified Combatant Command
Garrison/HQPeterson AFB, Colorado

The United States Space Command (USSPACECOM) was a Unified Combatant Command of the United States Department of Defense, created in 1985 to help institutionalize the use of outer space by the United States Armed Forces.[1] The Commander in Chief of U.S. Space Command (CINCUSSPACECOM), with headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, also functioned as the Commander in Chief of the binational U.S.-Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (CINCNORAD), and for the majority of time during USSPACECOM's existence also as the Commander of the U.S. Air Force major command Air Force Space Command. Military space-operations coordinated by USSPACECOM proved to be very valuable for the U.S.-led coalition in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

It was announced in December 2018 that it will be reactivated.



The U.S. military has relied on satellite communications, intelligence, navigation, missile-warning and weather systems in areas of conflict since at least the early 1990s, including in the Balkans, in Southwest Asia and in Afghanistan. Space systems have since then been considered[by whom?] as indispensable providers of tactical information to U.S. forces.

United States Space Command was established in 1985 and coordinated the Army, Navy and Air Force space forces.[2]

As part of an ongoing initiative to transform the U.S. military, on June 26, 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced that U.S. Space Command would merge with USSTRATCOM. The Unified Command Plan directed that Unified Combatant Commands be capped at ten, and with the formation of the new United States Northern Command, one would have to be deactivated in order to maintain that level. Thus the USSPACECOM merged into an expanded USSTRATCOM, which would retain the U.S. Strategic Command name and would be headquartered at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. The merger aimed to improve combat effectiveness and to speed up information collection and assessment needed for strategic decision-making.

Within STRATCOM, responsibilities for space were first held by the Joint Functional Component Command for Space and Global Strike until July 2006 when the command was divided. As of 2016 the Joint Functional Component Command for Space oversees U.S. military space operations.

2018 restablishment[edit]

On August 13, 2018, President Trump signed into law, the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 which includes the re-establishment of the U.S. Space Command by the end of 2018. U.S. Space Command will be led by a four-star general or admiral, and will temporarily be a sub-unified combatant command under U.S. Strategic Command, until it can be separated as a full unified combatant command.[3] On 18 December 2018, President Trump formally directed the establishment of a United States Space Command as a new Unified Combatant Command, assuming the space-related responsibilities of Commander, United States Strategic Command and Joint Force Provider and Joint Force Trainer for Space Operations Forces.[4]

Awards and decorations[edit]

Joint Meritorious Unit Award: 2 August 1990 – 2 March 1991; 1 July 1992 – 26 August 1996; 1 January 1999 – 30 September 2002.


Name Photo Start End Notable offices held before or after
1 General Robert T. Herres, USAF General Robert Herres, military portrait, 1984.JPEG 1985 1987 1st Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1987–1990)
2 General John L. Piotrowski, USAF John L Piotrowski.jpg 1987 1990 22nd Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force (1985–1987)
3 General Donald J. Kutyna, USAF Donald Kutyna.jpg 1990 1992 Member of the Rogers Commission (1986–1988)
4 General Charles A. "Chuck" Horner, USAF Charles Horner.jpg June, 1992 September, 1994 Commander, 9th Air Force, and Commander, U.S. Central Command Air Forces (1987–1992), he led U.S. and allied air operations for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
5 General Joseph W. Ashy, USAF Joseph ashy.jpg September, 1994 August, 1996
6 General Howell M. Estes III, USAF Howell M Estes III.jpg August, 1996 August 14, 1998
7 General Richard B. Myers, USAF Richard Myers official portrait 2.jpg August 14, 1998 February 22, 2000 5th Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (2000–2001)
15th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (2001–2005)
8 General Ralph E. "Ed" Eberhart, USAF Eberhart re.jpg February 22, 2000 October 1, 2002 27th Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force (1997–1999)
Commander, United States Northern Command (2002–2005)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Handberg, Roger (2000). Seeking New World Vistas: The Militarization of Space. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 109. ISBN 0275962954.
  2. ^ Pike, John. "United States Space Command". www.globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  3. ^ "Trump Signs National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019". AIP. 17 August 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  4. ^ Donald J Trump (18 December 2018). "Text of a Memorandum from the President to the Secretary of Defense Regarding the Establishment of the United States Space Command". The White House. Retrieved 20 December 2018.

External links[edit]