NATIONAL HARBOR, Md — The Space Force is set to establish a formal component command to serve two key combatant commands, Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman announced.
“In December, we will stand up Space Force’s service component for European Command and Africa Command to help integrate, collaborate and cooperate with our joint teammates, partners and allies in the region,” Saltzman said Tuesday during a keynote address at AFA’s Air, Space and Cyber conference.
Since it was established in 2019, the Space Force has begun standing up service components to the Joint Force’s combatant commands. Along with a significant contribution to U.S. Space Command, the Space Force has established components at Indo-Pacific Command and U.S. Central Command. The service also activated a component to the U.S. Forces Korea sub-unified command.
The Space Force’s newest component is set to stand up Dec. 8 and will serve both Eucom and Africom, much like the Air Force’s U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa major command. The service’s activities in the regions are currently led by Col. Max Lantz, USAFE-AFAFRICA director of Space Forces.
The unit will be headquartered at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, although Saltzman told reporters during a roundtable Tuesday that the service will also send some assignments to Stuttgart, Germany.
“In the case of Europe, we’re just taking advantage of the fact that … USAFE is also the Africa Command support. Because it’s all done from the same location, it’s easy for us to leverage that same construct and really get a two-for-one to some degree,” Saltzman told DefenseScoop during his meeting with reporters. “The service component will kind of have some people spread around to make sure we give all of the attention that both European Command and Africa Command need to be given.”
Despite not previously having an official component command to those regions, the Space Force has worked to strengthen engagement with partners and allies in Europe and Africa. The service’s Chief Operations Officer Lt. Gen. DeAnna Burt — who is charged with planning the Space Force’s service components — visited the NATO Space Center in May for a briefing on the alliance’s space operations and how the United States can integrate into its missions.
Saltzman emphasized the new service component is one more step in deepening an already “healthy” relationship with the Space Force’s allies and partners.
“Whether it’s the Space Center of Excellence being developed in France or it’s U.K. Space Command, they’re looking to the U.S. for leadership,” Saltzman said during the roundtable. “So now having a service component aligned to Eucom, which is then aligned to NATO, it’s one more open door for them to have those discussions and continue to work together.”
Meanwhile, the Space Force is still working to establish components within other combatant commands — namely U.S. Cyber Command. It’s a process that requires the right resources from both the service and the combatant command, as well as enough senior-ranking officials able to sit at the helm, Saltzman noted.
“It’ll be a balancing act between the responsibilities that those combatant commands have with regards to space — and cyber is a great example — and the resources I have to put into it,” he said. “In other words, I don’t want to establish the service component if I can’t resource it effectively.”