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14th Air Force now designated as U.S. Space Operations Command

By
Ed Adamczyk
Senior space officials from around the world met at a Commander's Conference on November 20, 2019, at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., where the 14th Air Force was officially designated the U.S. Space Operations Command last week. Photo by Maj. Cody Chiles/U.S. Air Force/UPI
Senior space officials from around the world met at a Commander's Conference on November 20, 2019, at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., where the 14th Air Force was officially designated the U.S. Space Operations Command last week. Photo by Maj. Cody Chiles/U.S. Air Force/UPI

Dec. 30 (UPI) -- The 14th U.S. Air Force command was officially redesignated as Space Operations Command, the Air Force has announced.

The new mission, known as SPOC, supports the U.S. Space Force in protecting U.S. interests, deterring aggression and conducting operations in space, an Air Force statement on Monday said. Its headquarters remains at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

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The change was formally approved by Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett as effective on Dec. 20, the same day that President Donald Trump signed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. Signing the bill established the U.S. Space Force as the sixth branch of the U.S. armed forces.

SPOC's operations include space domain awareness, space electronic warfare, satellite communications, missile warning, nuclear detonation detection, environmental monitoring, military intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, navigation warfare, command and control, and positioning, navigation and timing.

Maj. Gen. John E. Shaw, former 14th Air Force commander, was named commander of SPOC.

Vandenberg AFB hosted its first "five eyes" level briefing last week and authorized its first collaborative task order with a representative of allied countries. Group Capt. Darren Whiteley of the a Royal Air Force signed the first combined tasking order for Space Force command units.

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"Five eyes" is a military term referring to intelligence sharing and collaboration between Australia, Canada, Britain, the United States and New Zealand.

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