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Preparing Space Force For Army Forces
by U.S. Army Carrie Campbell and Lira Frye
Space and Missile Defense Command
September 2, 2020

During an historic ceremony solidifying the relationship between the Army’s and the Department of Defense’s space commands on August 21, 2020 ... the Army’s senior space officer highlighted the importance of a warfighting culture and preparing the U.S. Space Force to accept Army forces.

During the flag unfurling ceremony with U.S. Space Command at Schriever Air Force Base, Lt. Gen. Daniel L. Karbler, USASMDC commanding general, emphasized readiness, stressing that any transfer of forces into the U.S. Space Force is conditions based to ensure no readiness gap.

Gen. James H. Dickinson, U.S. Space Command commander, left, and Lt. Gen. Daniel L. Karbler, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command commanding general, unfurl SMDC's colors to officially recognize the command as the Army Service Component Command to USSPACECOM during a ceremony at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado on August 21, 2020. (U.S. Army photo by Dottie K. White)
Gen. James H. Dickinson, U.S. Space Command commander, left, and Lt. Gen. Daniel L. Karbler, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command commanding general, unfurl SMDC's colors to officially recognize the command as the Army Service Component Command to USSPACECOM during a ceremony at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado on August 21, 2020. (U.S. Army photo by Dottie K. White)

“As we look down the road and we look at the potential for transfer of Army forces to the USSF, we have to make sure that it’s a conditions-based transfer and that before we do that, it’s done with meticulous analysis,” Karbler said. “My commitment to you (USSPACECOM) is that we retain that warfighting readiness with any kind of transfer decisions.”

Transfers from the Air Force to the U.S. Space Force started in fiscal year 2020. The timeframe for Army or Navy space requirements to move to the Space Force remains no earlier than fiscal year 2022 or 2023.

The flag unfurling designated USASMDC as the Army Service Component Command for USSPACECOM. In this role, USASMDC integrates Army space into the USSPACECOM warfighting culture through trained and ready Army forces performing crucial no-fail missions around the globe while continuing support to other combatant commands.

“We’re the ASCC to U.S. Space Command for the space mission; we’re the ASCC to U.S. Strategic Command for the strategic deterrence mission; and we’re also the supporting command for U.S. Northern Command for our homeland missile defense mission,” Karbler said. “We talk about securing the high ground, but we occupy some pretty key terrain in what I like to call the ‘integration nexus’ of three very important strategic missions. That integration nexus really allows me to provide good advice, good recommendations and good information to all the combatant commands that we service.”

In his first official act as USSPACECOM commander, Gen. James H. Dickinson participated in the unfurling ceremony that formalized USASMDC’s role as a part of USSPACECOM.

“It’s interesting to look at the responsibility that Lt. Gen. Karbler and the team at SMDC will have in terms of being a dual-hatted ASCC to both USSTRATCOM and USSPACECOM,” Dickinson said. “In my mind, this is a great integration opportunity for some of our very important mission areas between USSTRATCOM and USSPACECOM.”

During his Change of Command Aug. 20 in a ceremony at Peterson Air Force Base, Dickinson focused on USSPACECOM’s warfighting culture.

“To be clear, our objective is to deter a conflict from beginning in, or extending to space and to enable our nation to compete in space from a position of strength,” Dickinson said. “However, should deterrence fail, our imperative is clear: we will win. To do so, we will require a space warfighting culture that permeates our entire command.”

Karbler said his command will support USSPACECOM’s warfighting mindset.

“I will provide today, and in the future, trained and ready Army space forces,” Karbler said. “Tied closely to warfighting culture is warfighting readiness. My commitment to you is to make sure our operational brigades and the developmental work we do is at the forefront of that warfighting readiness.

“Winning matters,” Karbler said. “But I will tell you that in space, winning first really matters.”

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