Space force

The army entrusts satellite missions to Space Force

Control of the Army’s satellite ground stations was officially transferred to the Space Force.

The August 15 transfer of authority means the new branch of the U.S. military now controls the fleet of Wideband Global SATCOM and Defense Satellite Communications System satellites, which share data between the armed forces, the State Department and even the White House.

“This transfer will mark the first time that all Department of Defense military satellite communications functions will be consolidated under a single military service,” Space Force said in a press release.

The transfer also included approximately $78 million transferred to the Space Force’s 2022 budget to cover the cost of operating five satellite operations centers and four regional support centers that were previously under military control.

About 500 service members and civilians from the Army’s Space Delta 8 unit will also be transferred to Schriever Space Force Base in Colorado.

Delta 8 is responsible for operating not only the main military communications network, but also the GPS constellation and other systems, including those used to provide covert-level global communications capabilities to the U.S. military and allies such as Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.

The Army will, however, retain its 1st Space Brigade, based in Fort Carson, Colorado. The brigade uses space operations to support missions around the world.

Approved by the Pentagon last year, the move represents the DoD’s ongoing effort to consolidate space programs under Space Force. However, the head of the US Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command, Lt. Gen. Daniel Karbler, said the military would not completely withdraw from US efforts in space.

“Space is a common team sport,” Karbler said at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium in August. “Each service with its unique mission sets must take advantage of the space domain and apply it to service-specific execution, command and control.”

Rachel is a Marine Corps veteran and a master’s candidate in New York University’s Business and Economic Reporting program.