COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.—Nearly two years after achieving initial operational capability (IOC), U.S. Space Command is on track to achieve full operational capability (FOC) later this year, Army Gen. James Dickinson, commander, U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM), said on Tuesday.
The command stood up in August 2019.
Since achieving IOC in August 2021, the command has been “capturing” its requirements and has developed four initial capability documents in various areas, including space domain awareness, space combat power, joint space command and control, and a joint space communications layer, he told attendees at the Space Symposium. Additional capability documents are in the works, he said.
USSPACECOM needs to be able to see, understand and characterize the space environment to be able to operate in that domain, Dickinson said. In the past two years, the command has made “tremendous” strides in space domain awareness by leveraging commercial industry, he said.
USSPACECOM also has 169 space situational awareness agreements, including 129 with commercial companies, 33 with international partners, and seven universities, he said.
Dickinson highlighted the observation and recording by a commercial satellite in January 2022 of China’s Shijian-21 satellite being used to move an older Chinese global positioning satellite 300 kilometers beyond its geosynchronous orbit (GEO) and then return itself to GEO.
China could “potentially hold” U.S. space assets at risk, he said.
The command, which is based in Colorado Springs, has more than 1,200 personnel in its headquarters, Dickinson said. It has also established joint operations centers, joint fires elements, joint integrated space teams, a joint cyber center, a joint intelligence operations center, commercial operations cells, and Air Forces Space, which is tasked with supporting human spaceflight.