Defense

Space Force opens new regional base in Florida

An Air Force specialist salutes in a U.S. Space Force uniform
AP Photo/Noah Berger
An Air Force specialist salutes in a U.S. Space Force uniform during a ceremony for U.S. Air Force airmen transitioning to U.S. Space Force guardian designations Feb. 12, 2021, at Travis Air Force Base, Calif.

The Space Force, the Pentagon’s newest military service, activated on Friday its second regional headquarters in Tampa, Fla., under U.S. Central Command. 

U.S. Space Forces-Central, opened at MacDill Air Force Base, “will play a significant role in supporting Centcom’s growing need for space-based capabilities such as satellite navigation, communications and missile warnings” in the Middle East and central Asia, according to a Wednesday release from the command. 

The new regional headquarters is meant to put more focus on space-related defense issues within Centcom and will carry out all space operations within the command’s area of responsibility.  

Led by Col. Christopher Putman, the 28-person staff is meant to “work with allies and partners to integrate space activities into shared operations,” Centcom noted. 

“Just as the evolution of space as a warfighting domain necessitated the establishment of a separate service, SPACECENT provides Centcom a subordinate command focused solely and continuously on space integration across the command – with all domains and all components,” Putman said in the release. 

Putman comes to the new position after past roles as commander of the 12th Space Warning Squadron at Thule Air Base, Greenland — a unit that operates ballistic missile-alert and -defense systems — as well as the recent director of Space Forces for U.S. Air Forces-Central at MacDill. 

This is also the Space Force’s second geographically focused service component. The military branch on Nov. 23 activated U.S. Space Forces Indo-Pacific at U.S. Indo-Pacific Command at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii.  

The Space Force, created in 2019 as a separate military branch within the Department of the Air Force, is tasked with training troops to protect and operate U.S. space-based assets including satellites and conduct space-based missions.

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