Space Force looks to shift more units into ‘integrated’ structure over next year

The model brings a single mission area’s personnel, training elements, and maintenance and sustainment functions under a single commander.
Radomes providing strategic and theater missile warning for the United States and its international allies are photographed during sunset on Dec. 13, 2021, on Buckley Space Force Base, Colo. More than one thousand Guardians, Airmen, civilians, contractors, and allied mission partners execute Space Delta 4's missile defense warning mission around the clock. (U.S. Space Force photo by Senior Airman Danielle McBride)

After experimenting with a more centralized structure for its mission deltas over the last 10 months, the Space Force now hopes to transition nearly all of its units to the new organizational design in the next year, according to the head of Space Operations Command (SpOC).

The service announced the new unit structure, known as integrated mission deltas (IMDs), in September as a way to address gaps in readiness. The model brings a single mission area’s personnel, training elements, and maintenance and sustainment functions under a single commander and integrates additional cybersecurity and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operators.

The Space Force tested the structure with two pilot efforts — one that focused on positioning, navigation and timing and a second on electromagnetic warfare — and it’s now looking to scale it, SpOC Commander Lt. Gen. David Miller said Monday during a webinar hosted by the Mitchell Institute.

“We are in the process of going through the next set of what those will be,” Miller said. “My hope is that over the next year, we will complete the transition of all the deltas that need to be integrated mission deltas into IMDs in the next 12 months.”


The Space Force currently allocates operations and training to various SpOC deltas that each conduct operations for a specific mission area, such as missile warning and tracking or satellite communications. The structure did not include, however, any acquisition professionals responsible for sustainment and maintenance of capabilities — as those personnel typically work at the service’s acquisition arm, Space Systems Command (SSC).

Miller also emphasized the importance of including cyber and intelligence professionals as part of the integrated structure in order to better defend systems against potential threats. Therefore, future IMDs will be deltas where the Space Force is providing capability to combatant commanders that also need additional integration of space, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, he said.

“Missile warning and tracking — obviously we want to integrate the space, ISR and cyber capability that’s focused on protecting not just the Space-Based Infrared System and [Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared], but also our ground-based radars and the infrastructure there. That’s obviously a good candidate for an integrated mission delta,” Miller said.

During a separate Mitchell Institute event in May, head of SSC Lt. Gen. Philip Garrant said that missile warning and space domain awareness would be the next deltas to become IMDs, later followed by satellite communications. SpOC’s other mission deltas that will likely move to the new structure include Delta 5, command and control, and Delta 9, orbital warfare.

As for its two deltas that provide cyber and ISR capabilities — Delta 6 and Delta 7, respectively — Miller said he’s not entirely sure those mission areas should transition to the IMD structure, but added that the service is examining how those deltas should evolve for the future.


“That doesn’t mean that they don’t need to grow in the future and that there’s not capacity or capability that we owe them in order to improve their readiness and, particularly, what they offer the Joint Force,” he said. “It just means that I think primarily you’ll see [IMDs] focused on areas where we are providing or presenting capability to the Joint Force commanders either directly as a presentation of a force element or serviced retained.”

Overall, the Space Force has had some promising results with its two pilot IMDs that have demonstrated faster delivery of new capabilities to warfighters and improvements to capacity and lethality of systems, Miller said. For example, the electromagnetic warfare pilot has created new operational concepts that allowed SpOC “to meet more combatant commander needs with a forward base capability while leveraging an infrastructure back home.”

Mikayla Easley

Written by Mikayla Easley

Mikayla Easley reports on the Pentagon’s acquisition and use of emerging technologies. Prior to joining DefenseScoop, she covered national security and the defense industry for National Defense Magazine. She received a BA in Russian language and literature from the University of Michigan and a MA in journalism from the University of Missouri. You can follow her on Twitter @MikaylaEasley

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