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Formal recognition of JTF-SD expands US Space Command’s protect, defend mission

Air Force Gen. Jay Raymond, Air Force Space Command commander, left, presents colors to Army Brig. Gen James Thomas, to recognize the establishment of Joint Task Force-Space Defense during a ceremony held at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., Oct. 21, 2019. JTF-SD will be commanded by James, who has served in space-related assignments for the past 19 years. (DoD photo by Patrick Morrow)

Air Force Gen. Jay Raymond, Air Force Space Command commander, left, presents colors to Army Brig. Gen James Thomas, to recognize the establishment of Joint Task Force-Space Defense during a ceremony held at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., Oct. 21, 2019. JTF-SD will be commanded by James, who has served in space-related assignments for the past 19 years. (DoD photo by Patrick Morrow)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) --

Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, U.S. Space Command commander, recognized the establishment of the Joint Task Force-Space Defense along with the JTF-SD’s new commander, Army Brig. Gen. Thomas L. James, during a ceremony Oct. 21.

JTF-SD is one of two subordinate commands to the newly formed USSPACECOM, with a mission to conduct unified action with mission partners, space superiority operations to deter aggression, defend capability and defeat adversaries throughout the continuum of conflict. James, the task force’s commander, is an Army officer who has served in space-related assignments for the past 19 years.

The other subordinate command, the Combined Force Space Component Command, was recognized in a formal ceremony earlier this month. With CFSCC utilizing space assets to provide effects to the warfighting units across the globe, JTF-SD has the responsibility to protect and defend space assets from both terrestrial and space-based threats. This includes the identification and characterization of potential threats and decisive response options to handle those threats.

The JTF-SD will execute its protect and defend mission through its operations center, the National Space Defense Center, space situational awareness units and emerging space defense units.

“This is a momentous occasion,” James said during his ceremonial address.

He went on to describe the striking similarities between the development and integration of the Royal Air Force’s protect and defend mission in a multi-domain fight leading up to World War II and that of USSPACECOM and JTF-SD. Integrating space into the multi-domain fight is the exact purpose of the new operational command.

“Is there a growing threat in the space domain — yes,” he continued. “Space is integral to every military operation today, and with this task force, we transition from being the supporter in the fight to the supported warfighter to take on those threats.”

While the official establishment order for the JTF-SD was signed by Raymond as one of his first acts as the new USSPACECOM commander, this recognition ceremony provided a more formal opportunity for the men and women of the JTF-SD and NSDC to celebrate the establishment of this unique subordinate command.

Raymond opened the ceremony with remarks on the importance of space defense to all combatant commands and to all civil, government and military activities.

“All joint task forces, from anti-piracy to space, operate in complex strategic environments,” Raymond said. “That is exactly what the space domain is: complex. New risks have emerged, but we have very clear marching orders. This first-of-its-kind operational command will protect and defend U.S., allied, partner and commercial assets and interests in space.”

USSPACECOM was officially established Aug. 29, during a ceremony at the White House, as a geographic command with a designated area of responsibility defined as 100 kilometers above mean sea level.

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