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Gen. Hyten: Future of AF is air, space, cyberspace integration

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The commander of Air Force Space Command talked about the fundamental relationship between space operations and everyday life – not only for the military, but for the American people – during a breakfast at the Capitol Hill Club, Dec. 5.

Gen. John E. Hyten, the AFSPC commander, explained the complexities of global space operations, and how they’re a seamless and invisible part of day-to-day living.

“When you look at what we do in space, it’s truly the most joint element of our military,” Hyten said. “Everything we do is critical to the operations of (all services) – it’s critical to our economy and to the world – it’s basically embedded in everything we do.”

He talked about the history behind aerospace, the integration of air and space and the fact that space is no longer a benign environment, but is becoming a domain.

“We don’t ever want to go to war in space, but we need to be prepared to fight a war in that environment,” he said. “You figure out how to operate through that threat environment. One of the oldest precepts in war is the best way to avoid war is to be prepared for war.”

His future plans for AFSPC include integrating space and cyber, the ability to command and control space assets, and increasing space situational awareness – all to prepare for that environment.

“As we look forward in the future we have to figure out how to deal with this kind of environment,” Hyten said. “We have to build resilient architectures. We have to figure out how we’re going to work with the other elements of our nation’s power to fight through any kind of threat that we have to – and we will.”

The current space programs are on track and working well, Hyten said. His focus is becoming more efficient in procurement, and working with partner agencies to make the ground capability and architecture match the current space capabilities.

“We’re going to look at a whole bunch of different ways to do business in the future,” he said. “We’re going to figure out how to be effective deliverers of capabilities and effects, and build the right tools as we walk into that. The key to our future is going to be updating the ground architecture to look at delivering integrated effects to warfighters around the world.”

The commercial sector in space operations is something Hyten said he is excited about, and sees as an opportunity to increase the Air Force’s capabilities to support the warfighter and the American people. It is one piece of his plan to modernize operations and be more prepared for any future contested environment. Another important piece of this plan is changing the perception many people, including Airmen, have about space and cyber.

“The future of the United States Air Force is the integration of air, space and cyberspace,” Hyten said, “to deliver singular effects on the battlefield in the most effective, efficient way possible and to allow the warfighters of today and the future to have unbeatable advantage on the battlefield.”

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