TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (WMBB) The U.S. Air Force has named First Air Force as the future air component to U.S. Space Command, the Air Force said in a news release.
Following this reorganization, First Air Force will continue to provide uninterrupted air component support to North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command while also exercising command and control over Air Force forces supporting U.S. Space Command, the news release states.
“The U.S. Air Force is a critical contributor to the U.S. Space Command mission as evidenced by their support to Human Space Flight,” said U.S. Army Gen. James Dickinson, USSPACECOM commander. “We welcome First Air Force to our joint team.”
First Air Force is responsible for ensuring the aerospace control and air defense of the continental United States, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
“First Air Force was the natural choice to serve as Air Force component to U.S. Space Command,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. “In this new role, First Air Force will be better able to identify and address gaps and seams when integrating spacepower into the support of the homeland defense mission. This will also inform efforts to better fuse space operations into air operations centers around the globe.”
Implementation is still in the early development phases as Air Combat Command plans how to organize, train, and equip First Air Force for this new role, officials wrote. The new air component is currently expected to achieve initial operating capability by the end of 2021.
“It’s an honor for this command to be named as the Air Force’s component command to U.S. Space Command,” said Lt. Gen. Kirk Pierce, First Air Force commander. “We have a staff of seasoned professionals with decades of proven success in protecting the air domain in defense of the homeland. We look forward to supporting USSPACECOM in their efforts to defend against threats to the space domain.”