VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
Just over a year after its activation, the Combined Force Space Component Command welcomed its newest commander in front of a mask-donned gathering of CFSCC staff, community members, partner-nation representatives, and others, during change of command ceremony today at the Combined Space Operations Center.
Maj. Gen. DeAnna Burt assumed command of the multinational, joint space operations arm of U.S. Space Command from Maj. Gen. John Shaw, who is set to receive his third star and move to Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., to be the deputy commander for U.S. Space Command.
“As much as today is about two outstanding senior officers and the joint and combined space warfighters of Combined Force Space Component Command, it’s also about the significance of what today represents to the United States and our allies, and our ability to meet our new national imperative for space,” said General James Dickinson, Commander, U.S. Space Command, and officiator of the event. “Perhaps more significantly, we demonstrate a compelling level of mission continuity, while posturing both United States Space Command, and the Combined Force Space Component Command for even greater development of our space combat capability.”
The change of command occurred less than a month since the activation of the U.S. Space Force’s first of three field commands, Space Operations Command (SpOC), for which Burt will also take on the secondary role as deputy commander. Although the headquarters for the SpOC is located at Peterson AFB, this extension of SpOC presence at Vandenberg AFB remains and has been named SpOC West.
Shaw assumed command of what was then 14th Air Force and the Combined Force Space Component Command less than one year ago, on Nov. 20, 2019.
“It feels like it was only last week but in many ways it was an entire age ago,” said Shaw. “It was before Russian satellite stalkers and space torpedoes were in orbit; it was before Iranian missiles hit an American base in Iraq; it was before Americans returned to space from American soil for the first time in nine years, which they’ve done twice, last night being that second time. It was before Space Force when there was still a 14th Air Force. And, it was before COVID.”
Shaw went on to say that it’s the people he will remember the most from his time at Vandenberg AFB, and thanked members of the community, his staff and sub organizations, as well as the many allies and industry partners, who helped successfully carry out the CFSCC mission over the past year.
Now as the commander, Burt is responsible for the CFSCC mission to plan, integrate, conduct and assess global space operations in order to deliver combat relevant space capabilities to combatant commanders, coalition partners, the joint force, and the nation.
“DeAnna, in this command, I’ll charge you with the tasks you’re probably already thinking deeply about: continue to build the space combat capability of this critical component of our Combatant Command,” Dickinson said to Burt.
Additional responsibilities the U.S. Space Command commander highlighted that Burt will carry out included building and strengthening relationships with allies, interagency mission partners, and industry friends who provide CFSCC weapons systems and inform its operations; hone the space warfighting capabilities of the CFSCC; and create a working environment for those working there “that will inspire them to excellence in the execution of this vital national security mission.”
Burt said she is looking forward to leading the CFSCC and its very important mission at the center of space operations, adding that the organization is still normalizing and she doesn’t plan on changing the mission, vision or priorities any time soon.
When looking to the future, however, she highlighted three focus areas that the CFSCC team will pursue.
“First, we must be prepared,” said Burt. “We must prepare to deter by being ready and able to operate and fight through any threat presented to us in order to assure space without interference to the joint all-domain coalition fight. We need to be threat focused and tactics driven.”
The second focus area Burt mentioned was to project combat power differently than we have in the past.
“We must be innovative, forward thinking and digitally enabled,” she said. “This is in order to fight and win a war that we don’t want to see in space, but if it does we will be prepared to fight and win.”
Finally, Burt highlighted the “secret weapon” of the CFSCC team that helps it rise above potential adversaries: solid partnerships with allies and industry partners.
“We have amazing partnerships with our allies, including the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, France, Germany, and as you just heard, the newly added Japan,” Burt said. The list doesn’t end there; there are more coming. We [also] work with our industry partners; we currently have eight partners and growing.”
Burt is no stranger to the space operations mission or to Vandenberg AFB. Her most recent assignment was at Peterson AFB, Colo., where she served as the director of operations and communications for Space Operations Command. Other past assignments include a tour as the installation commander of the former 50th Space Wing, now called Peterson-Schriever Garrison, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo.
From June, 2006, to July, 2008, she was stationed at Vandenberg AFB as the chief of the combat plans division of the Joint Space Operations Center, which is now called the Combined Space Operations Center.
Burt earned a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Fla., and her first master's degree in human resources management from Troy State University, Ala. She also completed a Master of Science from the National War College, where she was a distinguished graduate.