Throughout its first year of existence, the US Space Force focused on the “macro,” that is, developing the overall structure by which the all-new service would be organized. Now, as it heads into Year 2, the USSF will look to “really operationalize” this new structure, said Col. Matthew S. Cantore, commander of Space Delta 2.
Speaking at an “Air and Space Warfighters in Action” event hosted by the Air Force Association on June 3, Cantore and Chief Master Sgt. April L. Brittain, Senior Enlisted Leader of Space Delta 2, explained how this new structure differs from the traditional Air Force one and how it will continue to evolve in 2022 and beyond.
Cantore and Brittain being both from the Air Force, they both “bleed blue inside,” Cantore joked at the start of Thursday’s event, and they recognized the close connection between air and space forces. But in years to come, that blue “turns dark black” as the makeup of the Space Force changes.
Specifically, inter-agency transfers from the military and navy are expected to increase in 2022 and 2023, Cantore said, and as they come on board, the culture of the Space Force will change.
“We’re thrilled with this and I think it will make us stronger,” Cantore said. “We talk about diversity in many ways – this diversity from other services may force us a little outside our traditional Air Force comfort zone, but it is not the Air Force as a service is a new service, so we are finding our way.
A new way to operate
Compared to the Air Force, the new space force delta and garrison structure has fewer levels, Cantore explained.
“We got rid of the numbered Air Force echelon, and we took the wing and the group echelons, which we had all known and loved for many years, and put them together, smashed, then shattered, Cantore said. “So we took the base operational support, all of these combat support functions, and we took them and put them in a garrison, which is so essential to support the mission, and now we have the Delta, which is singularly focused on the operational mission entrusted to us.
With fewer levels of command and a smaller overall force, training for the Space Force will need to be different and more comprehensive, Cantore said.
“As we prepare for important events, we prepare, we perform large-scale exercises, but that is not the norm in a daily setting,” Cantore said. “And so our training, I think, has to evolve towards a holistic and corporate level evolution.”
The Delta, not the squadron, is the “showcase force” for Space Force. And relative to the size of Air Force wings and groups, deltas are small, at least when it comes to personnel.
“I think when I was a task group commander I started with about 2,000 people, if you add all the contractors, all the civilians. … Now we’re seated at about 400, 450 in total when we add everything up, ”Cantore said.
Understanding a crowded area
In addition to bringing in new people, Cantore said he expects new systems to come online in 2022, which will expand the capabilities and responsibilities of Space Delta 2.
“[Personnel] in terms of numbers, you don’t really see much growth here directly in Space Delta 2, but there is so much going on from a systems perspective going forward, ”Cantore said. “Where you’re going to see a lot of growth, I believe, is in satellite communications.”
As part of its operational mission, Space delta 2 is tasked with tracking thousands of satellites, rockets and debris in orbit, and as the unit updates and tracks whatever is already there, hundreds of additional payloads are added. – Cantore noted that there have already been more payloads put into orbit in the first five months of 2021 than there have been throughout 2020.
Beyond just tracking these objects, Cantore said the goal of Space Delta 2 is to synthesize all the data and collaborate with other Deltas, as well as other departments, allies and business partners, to better understand what it all means.
“Understanding what’s going on in the field is the foundation for everything that needs to happen in the future, and so we take this very seriously,” Cantore said. “It is certainly not without challenges. This growth that we are seeing right now, that we have no expectations, is going to slow down, it will continue. It certainly prompts us to develop and improve our capabilities so that we can stay ahead of what is becoming an increasingly crowded field.
While still fulfilling this mission, the service must also continue to develop its new structure and new culture. And developments on this front are expected in the coming months – Britain said at the same event that the USSF “expects” to release “its new ranks and insignia” hopefully within the deadline. June ”.