On 15 August, the US Army transferred 500 personnel and communications satellite control from the Alabama-based US Army Space and Missile Defense Command to the Space Force. With this latest transfer, all US military communications satellites will now, for the first time ever, be consolidated under a single military service. Despite the change in command, however, most of the new space force personnel (of whom about 40% are civilian) will remain at their current stations in Germany, Japan, Hawaii and Maryland. Moreover, about $78 billion dollars from the US Army budget was transferred to the Space Force this year to help build up the service’s infrastructure.
According to a Space Force press release, Lieutenant General Daniel Karbler, the commander of the Army Space and Missile Defense Command, stated that:
“This is a historic moment for the Department of Defense and military satellite communications as we bring all military SATCOM capabilities under one service for the first time ever. […] My thanks to the U.S. Space Force, and in particular Lieutenant General Stephen Whiting and his team for their tremendous teamwork throughout this transition period. I know our SATCOM professionals will continue to provide world-class service and support while embodying the proud heritage of the Army SATCOM mission.”
This development comes just two months after a similar transfer from the US Navy in June, when the Naval Satellite Operations Center based out of Naval Base Ventura in Mugu, California was placed under Space Force command. Altogether, the Department of Defense announced last year that it planned to bring around 600 personnel from the Navy and Army to the Space Force this year although the transfers were delayed due to issues related to Congress passing this year’s defense budget. Last year, 670 soldiers, sailors and marines became Space Force “guardians”.
Elsewhere, another US government satellite transfer happened earlier this month when the remote-sensing Landsat-9 satellite was transferred from NASA to the US Geological survey on 11 August.