U.S. Space Force Activates Europe, Africa Command

The move emphasizes the military significance of the space domain and strengthens bilateral military partnerships, according to military leaders.

USSPACEFOR-EURAF flag is unfurled during a ceremony at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Friday, December 8. [Courtesy: U.S. Air Force]

U.S. Space Force (USSF) has officially activated its Europe and Africa component in Europe, launching a new headquarters at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

The move emphasizes the fast-growing military significance of the space domain and strengthens bilateral military partnerships, according to military leadership at a command ceremony at the air base Friday.

Integrating Space Forces at the component level is "something that will provide a cadre of space experts who can work with the Joint Force, our allies, and partners to integrate space activities into our shared operations, activities, and investments," said General Chance Saltzman, chief of space operations for USSF. "The joint force's missions increasingly rely on space, and the Space Force is committed to ensuring that the force has the space resources it needs to succeed."

The new command, known as USSPACEFOR-EURAF, is the latest service component under U.S. European Command (EUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), which are the most recent combatant commands to establish a space component, according to USSF.

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and U.S. Central Command also have space components.

Around 30 service members will staff  USSPACEFOR-EURAF, which will be commanded by USSF Colonel Max Lantz. According to the service, the command will play a role in supporting EUCOM's needs, such as satellite navigation, communications, and integration with NATO Allies and partners.

“For Germany, the U.S. [is] the most important partner in developing and expanding space capabilities," said Boris Pistorius, the German defense minister. "The activation of the U.S. Space Forces Europe and Africa component at Ramstein Air Base emphasizes both the fast-growing military significance of the space domain and the importance of Germany as a reliable ally and base for the U.S. Armed Forces.”

CSpO Meets

Last week while in Germany, Saltzman also attended the Combined Space Operations (CSpO) Initiative Principals Board, an annual event that seeks to improve coordination and operational cooperation in the space domain. Also participating were defense and military space leaders from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, United Kingdom and U.S.

"Cooperation with our allies and partners is essential to promoting responsible space operations and protecting our interests in the domain," said Dr. John Plumb, assistant secretary of defense for space policy, who participated in the event. "Expanding this cooperation in the space domain is one of my top priorities, and I was extremely proud to have Italy, Japan and Norway participate at the principals' board for the first time. Through CSpO, we will collectively work to reinforce the safety, security, stability and long-term sustainability of space." 

Kimberly is managing editor of FLYING Digital.

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