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721st OG activated as USAF realigns to ‘Protect and Defend’ U.S. Space Capabilities

Col. Thomas Falzarano, 21st Space Wing Commander, passes the guidon to Col. John Thien, 721st Operations Group commander, during a ceremony activating the 721st OG Oct. 10, 2019 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. The 721st OG will be singularly focused on securing the electromagnetic spectrum for national security space operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Craig Denton)

Col. Thomas Falzarano, 21st Space Wing Commander, passes the guidon to Col. John Thien, 721st Operations Group commander, during a ceremony activating the 721st OG Oct. 10, 2019 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. The 721st OG will be singularly focused on securing the electromagnetic spectrum for national security space operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Craig Denton)

Col. John Thien, 721st Operations Group commander, passes the guidon to Lt. Col. Susan Bedell, 5th Space Control Squadron commander, during an activation ceremony Oct. 10, 2019 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. The 5th SPCS Squadron provides space control effects for the Commander, U.S. Space Command and other Joint Force Commanders, as directed. (U.S. Air Force photo by Craig Denton)

Col. John Thien, 721st Operations Group commander, passes the guidon to Lt. Col. Susan Bedell, 5th Space Control Squadron commander, during an activation ceremony Oct. 10, 2019 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. The 5th SPCS Squadron provides space control effects for the Commander, U.S. Space Command and other Joint Force Commanders, as directed. (U.S. Air Force photo by Craig Denton)

Col. John Thien, 721st Operations Group commander, passes the guidon to Lt. Col. Matthew Thompson, 721st Operations Support Squadron commander, during an activation ceremony Oct. 10, 2019 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. The 721st Operations Support Squadron is comprised of five flights providing unrivaled and innovative operations support, including weapons system training, operational intelligence, weapons and tactics, and vault support to the 21st SW and deployed space electronic warfare units, while also deploying trained and ready Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Craig Denton)

Col. John Thien, 721st Operations Group commander, passes the guidon to Lt. Col. Matthew Thompson, 721st Operations Support Squadron commander, during an activation ceremony Oct. 10, 2019 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. The 721st Operations Support Squadron is comprised of five flights providing unrivaled and innovative operations support, including weapons system training, operational intelligence, weapons and tactics, and vault support to the 21st SW and deployed space electronic warfare units, while also deploying trained and ready Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Craig Denton)

Col. Thomas Falzarano, 21st Space Wing Commander; Col. John Thien, 721st Operations Group commander; Lt. Col. Susan Bedell, 5th Space Control Squadron commander; and Lt. Col. Matthew Thompson, 721st Operations Support Squadron commander, sit on stage during an activation ceremony Oct. 10, 2019 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. The 721st OG, 5th SPCS and 721st OSS were part of a restructure of manpower to protect and defend U.S. security space capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Craig Denton)

Col. Thomas Falzarano, 21st Space Wing Commander; Col. John Thien, 721st Operations Group commander; Lt. Col. Susan Bedell, 5th Space Control Squadron commander; and Lt. Col. Matthew Thompson, 721st Operations Support Squadron commander, sit on stage during an activation ceremony Oct. 10, 2019 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. The 721st OG, 5th SPCS and 721st OSS were part of a restructure of manpower to protect and defend U.S. security space capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Craig Denton)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

An Air Force Space Command restructure of manpower to protect and defend U.S. security space capabilities resulted in the activation of new units Oct. 10, 2019.

The 721st Operations Group and its subordinate units – the 721st Operations Support Squadron and 5th Space Control Squadron – were activated to support new force structure changes to improve how AFSPC forces protect U.S. and Allied space capabilities and ensure freedom of action in the space domain. 

The new 721st OG will be singularly focused on a mission of securing the electromagnetic spectrum for national security space operations.

“As we shift to a warfighting domain within space, electronic warfare will be utilized just as the air domain. Forming an operations group with a sole focus of electronic warfare is the first step in protecting and defending our assets,” said Col. John Thien, 721st OG commander.

Manpower for the new operations group came from realigning existing military and civilian positions from the 21st OG to the 721st OG. Two Squadrons from the 21st Operations Group will be re-aligned under the 721st OG, specifically, the 4th Space Control Squadron and the 16th Space Control Squadron will now report to the 721st OG and will be joined by the newly activated the 721st OSS and 5th SPCS, which will be constituted from existing AFSPC personnel at Peterson AFB.

The new 721st OG will enable improved focus on the space electronic warfare mission and allow the 21st OG to better focus on ground-based missile warning and surveillance.

The new force structure improves readiness, stimulates the development of space electronic warfare operational concepts and tactics, institutionalizes the Air Force culture for space warfighting, and streamlines force presentation to joint force commanders.

Today’s space cadre is required to operate in a complex and competitive strategic environment and defend against threats that are multi-faceted and multi-domain. The Protect and Defend force structure will optimize the development, presentation and employment of space warfighting forces.

This new force structure effectively shifts space into a warfighting domain as outlined in the 2018 National Defense Strategy, and is fundamental to adapting national security organizations, policies, doctrine, and capabilities as outlined in space policy.

“This force structure realignment is instrumental to ensuring our forces are organized, trained and equipped for multi-domain warfighting, should a conflict extend to space,” said Brig. Gen. David Miller, Jr., Plans, Programs and Financial Management director at Headquarters, AFSPC. “We’re focusing our space warfighter leader development into specific warfighting disciplines, which makes us stronger as a whole. Posturing now to secure the electromagnetic spectrum and protect and defend national security space capabilities is increasingly fundamental to successful Joint, all-domain warfare in the future.”

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