1st Space Control Squadron inactivates, joins 14th AOC
By Senior Airman Erica Stewart , 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 09, 2008
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The 1st Space Control Squadron was inactivated and its members formally joined the 614th Air and Space Operations Center in a ceremony here June 9.
This was the last step in the process of moving the 1st SPCS, which is responsible for tasking the global Space Surveillance Network and maintaining custody of all trackable man-made objects in space.
The squadron has been an intricate member of the space community since 1961, with the activation of the Space Detection and Tracking System Center at Ent AFB, Colo.
In August of 2007, the 1st SPCS and the Unified Space Vault was moved from Cheyenne Mountain AFS, Colo., to Vandenberg.
"A visionary team here at Vandenberg recognized that the Air Force's only space-focused AOC needed to include the 1st SPCS," said Col. Steve Whiting, 614th AOC commander and Joint Space Operations Center director. "By collecting these units at Vandenberg, we put the talented team of 1st Space professionals in immediate proximity to our other JSpOC personnel to begin achieving synergies we could not even predict at the time between the different elements of space situational awareness."
The success of that organizational realignment can be seen in operations such as the July 2006 North Korea Missile Test, the Chinese ASAT test in January 2007 and the successful destruction of an errant satellite on Feb. 20.
"Today marks the end of a process that has resulted in an organization that can now truly be called the center of gravity for all joint space operations," Colonel Whiting said.
With all joint space operations falling under Lt. Gen. William Shelton, the 14th Air Force and Joint Functional Component Command for Space commander, the JSpOC is able to leverage all the capabilities of the joint team to fulfill the combatant commanders' requirements.
Some are pleasantly surprised by the benefits that have come from having all joint space operations united under a single commander.
"Building space situational awareness is not the science of becoming omniscient about space but the art of understanding what's relevant for command and control of space forces," said Lt. Col. Chance Saltzman, the former 1st SPCS commander. "Without the daily interaction and routine exposure to the commander's intent enabled by co-location, it's much harder for the operator to determine what's relevant."
With the inactivation of the 1st SPCS and its members integrating with the 614th AOC to go forward in space operations, Colonel Saltzman challenged the space community to remember what brought them to this point.
"The lesson of the 1st SPCS move should not be forgotten and it should be comprehensively applied to the broader Joint Functional Combat Command Space mission," Colonel Saltzman said. "Build a vision and have the courage and faith to pursue it, even if the detailed benefits cannot be clearly specified up front."