First Air Force to Support U.S. Space Command
Under a restructuring effort, the Numbered Air Force will be the future air component the command.
The Office of the Secretary of the Air Force announced a reorganization plan today that will add duties to the First Air Force. In addition to its current role, the Numbered Air Force (NAF) also will be the air component to the U.S. Space Force Command.
Under Air Combat Command, the First Air Force, based at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, is responsible for protecting the continental United States, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by providing air component support to the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command. Now the NAF will also be providing command and control over the Air Force efforts supporting U.S. Space Command.
“The U.S. Air Force is a critical contributor to the U.S. Space Command mission as evidenced by their support to Human Space Flight,” said Gen. James Dickinson, USA, commander of Space Command. “We welcome First Air Force to our joint team.”
“First Air Force was the natural choice to serve as Air Force component to U.S. Space Command,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. “In this new role, First Air Force will be better able to identify and address gaps and seams when integrating space power into the support of the homeland defense mission. This will also inform efforts to better fuse space operations into air operations centers around the globe.”
The secretary’s office noted that implementation of the move “is still in the early development phases.” Air Combat Command is set to prepare First Air Force for its additional new role. The new air component is currently expected to achieve initial operating capability by the end of calendar year 2021, according to the secretary.
“It’s an honor for this command to be named as the Air Force’s component command to U.S. Space Command,” said Lt. Gen. Kirk Pierce, First Air Force commander. “We have a staff of seasoned professionals with decades of proven success in protecting the air domain in defense of the homeland. We look forward to supporting USSPACECOM in their efforts to defend against threats to the space domain.”