Maj. Gen. Stephen Whiting, 14th Air Force commander, speaks to wing commanders and staff members during a conference at Vandenberg Air Force Base May, 10. During the conference commanders discussed the significance of recent successes, ongoing challenges and the future of Air Force space operations. 

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE -- Maj. Gen. Stephen Whiting, 14th Air Force commander, hosted a commander’s conference to discuss the significance of recent successes, ongoing challenges and the future of Air Force space operations May 9-11.

Commanders and command chiefs from the 21st Space Wing, 30th Space Wing, 45th Space Wing, 50th Space Wing, 460th Space Wing, 310th Space Wing, Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC), National Space Defense Center (NSDC), National Reconnaissance Office, and 14th Air Force staff attended the conference at the 14th Air Force headquarters building.

During the conference the commanders discussed national security threats in the space domain, preparing for regional contingencies, enhancing space plans to support combatant commands, full spectrum readiness, space wing successes and challenges, and efforts to develop space warfighters for the future of Air Force space operations.

Whiting also released the new 14th Air Force commander’s guidance and intent to his commanders during the conference.

“To prepare for victory we must constantly reassess ourselves and our priorities,” said Whiting. “This updated guidance is aligned with recent revisions to U.S. Strategic Command and Air Force Space Command guidance and intent. It is designed to enable our warfighters to go fast, act decisively and take care of each other.”

The 14th Air Force guidance emphasized three foundational pillars for space superiority:

  • Improve readiness and lethality across all levels
  • Demonstrate mastery of basic “blocking and tackling” tasks
  • Develop exceptional leaders

“Our readiness to dominate when challenged provides the greatest chance for a peaceful future,” said Whiting. “We do no seek a conflict in space, but it is our job to ensure we are prepared and will prevail if one emerges.”

Supporting the mastery of space operations and developing leaders, Whiting also encouraged wing commanders to develop space operators by vectoring them to assignments in the JSpOC or NSDC.

“Working in the JSpOC or NSDC is an opportunity to be challenged and to learn in a high speed, joint and combined operational environment,” said Whiting. “We need our best and brightest personnel there to support our warfighting mission.”

The JSpOC executes the operational command and control of space forces to achieve theater and global objectives. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week; continuously coordinating, planning, integrating, synchronizing and executing space operations; providing tailored space effects on demand to support combatant commanders and accomplishing national security objectives.

The NSDC is a partnership organization between the Department of Defense and others, that develops and improves the United States’ ability to rapidly detect, warn, characterize, attribute and defend against threats to vital space systems.

At the conclusion of the conference former 14th Air Force commanders, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Hamel and retired Maj. Gen. Gerald Perryman, met with the space commanders to reflect on how the space community has evolved to support joint and combined warfighting requirements during the past two decades.

During the visit Hamel and Perryman received mission briefings from Whiting, the space wing commanders, the JSpOC commander and the NSDC commander; and visited various facilities at Vandenberg. They also provided mentoring for the commanders, command chiefs, and other attendees.

“You all are living in a historic time for space,” said Hamel. “It’s very gratifying to see the sense of purpose, the focus and the progress here.”


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