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By Maj. Cody Chiles, 14th Air Force Public Affairs
/ Published December 02, 2017
U.S. Air Force Gen. John Raymond, commander of Air Force Space Command, passes the 14th Air Force guidon to Maj. Gen. Stephen Whiting, the new 14th Air Force commander, during a change of command ceremony, Dec. 1, 2017, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. In addition to the 14th Air Force change of command, the Joint Functional Component Command for Space was inactivated and the Joint Force Space Component Command was activated. The JFSCC will conduct joint space operations to protect and defend the Joint Operations Area and deliver assured theater and global effects in accordance with U.S. Strategic Command’s intent and national and Combatant Commander objectives. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kyla Gifford/Released)
Air Force Maj. Gen. Stephen N. Whiting took command of 14th Air Force and became the Deputy Joint Force Space Component Commander during a reorganization and change of command ceremony at the Joint Space Operations Center, Dec. 1.
Air Force Gen. John W. Raymond, Commander, Air Force Space Command, also assumed command over former Joint Functional Component Command for Space forces and became dual hatted as the Joint Force Space Component Commander during the ceremony.
Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, Commander, U.S. Strategic Command, presided over the ceremony, which officially reorganized joint space forces beneath USSTRATCOM. The reorganization is part of a broader USSTRATCOM initiative to build a coherent and streamlined warfighting structure to improve the nation's space warfighting effectiveness, which ultimately enhances the lethality of U.S. joint forces.
“When you study the history of this command, you will see a pattern – one in which we never stay stagnant. We adapt, we adjust and we evolve. That is what we are doing here today, said Hyten. “The question on everyone’s mind today is, ‘Why are we changing?’ The answer is the same reason for all the previous iterations of Strategic Command – the threat environment changed and we changed with it.”
Prior to the change, Whiting served as the JFSCC Integration Team Lead for AFSPC; leading the standup of the JFSCC construct.
During the ceremony, Whiting emphasized the important warfighting advantage the United States gains from space capabilities and how he will continue to focus on the ability to fight tonight when called upon.
“We will also be rigorously focused on our ability to fight tonight when called upon. First, we recognize that other members of the joint force are fighting today and tonight as we speak…in harm’s way…so we will consider it our moral duty to provide them the space effects they need,” said Whiting. “We will have plans and tactics in place to deal with today’s most likely and most dangerous threats in space. We do not seek a conflict in space, but we will be ready if one comes to us.”
As Commander, 14th AF, Whiting leads more than 12,000 personnel responsible for providing strategic missile warning, nuclear command, control and communication, position, navigation and timing, space situational awareness, satellite operations, space launch and range operations.
As Deputy JFSCC, Whiting directs all assigned and attached USSTRATCOM space forces on behalf of the JFSCC; providing tailored, responsive and synchronized theater and global space effects in support of national security and combatant commander objectives. He is also responsible for protecting and defending critical U.S. and allied space capabilities.
Whiting is a 1989 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He is a space operations officer, and has commanded the 13th Space Warning Squadron, Clear AFS, Alaska; the 614th Air and Space Operations Center/Joint Space Operations Center, Vandenberg AFB, Calif.; and the 21st Space Wing, Peterson AFB, Colo.
“It’s great to be back at Vandenberg and to be back on the beautiful central coast. This is truly a humbling day. I want to thank General Hyten and General Raymond for placing this trust in us and for giving us this amazing opportunity, said Whiting. “I’m honored to be joining the 14th Air Force family, and to be a part of the standup of the Joint Force Space Component Command.”
Whiting’s staff assignments include positions at Headquarters, United States Air Force; United States Space Command; United States Strategic Command; the Chief of Naval Operations’ Strategic Studies Group; the Office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense; and Headquarters, Air Force Space Command.