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Guidance from Dickinson to the space troops: Plan for a ‘violent and risky’ environment

The Commander of the United States Space Command in a new document warns that maintaining satellites protected from enemy threats would involve a concerted response, including all aspects of the United States military and allies. The U.S. military acts as a “joint force” and, stated Gen. James Dickinson, who serves as the United States Commander that space is also part of the combination. On Friday, Dickinson is scheduled to launch a “strategic vision of the commander” document calling on the Space Command to brace for “an increasingly diverse world” that is “currently far more challenging and unsafe than ever.”

Sharing with SpaceNews to prepare the publication, the Strategic Vision Plan sets out broad priorities for Space Command. This 18-month-old agency is trying to establish its role in the military tactical command system. The Space Command units are equipped to safeguard vital satellites used in any element of military operations. In an interview, Dickinson stated securing the high border is a dynamic undertaking that involves coordination between military commands as well as civilian agencies. Dickinson stated that the Space Command would cooperate closely with forces working on ground, sea, cyberspace, and air.

The command also wants to strengthen ties with allies who want to ensure, including the United States that they will have accessibility to space for the military as well as civilian activities. In the Commander’s vision paper, Dickinson stated that troops of Space Command would need to educate themselves about what other nations and future competitors are doing in space and then become knowledgeable in the use of advanced technologies. The command would develop closer relations with other government agencies engaged in space operations and, he stated, with the commercial sector. To “facilitate appropriate behavior in space,” both parties should collaborate.

Space Command is among 11 American military combatant commands that have been consolidated. It was first developed in 1985 and later deactivated in 2002 when space activities were transferred to the United States Strategic Command.    In August 2019, the Trump administration restored it. Dickinson’s key point is that the Space Command must ensure “there never is a day without space.” The military’s dependence on the satellites, and their relevance for the global economy’s everyday functioning, is why, he stated, the command remains. But this can’t be achieved alone by Space Command and requires assistance from all “elements of the national power.”