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21st Space Wing stands up new space control squadron

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Col. Troy Endicott, 21st Operations Group commander, assigns command of the 18th Space Control Squadron to Lt. Col. Scott Putnam, 18th SPCS commander, during an assumption of command ceremony, July 22, 2016, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Putnam assumed command of the 18th SPCS, the newest space surveillance unit that will fall under the 21st Space Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robert J. Volio)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Col. Troy Endicott, 21st Operations Group commander, assigns command of the 18th Space Control Squadron to Lt. Col. Scott Putnam, 18th SPCS commander, during an assumption of command ceremony, July 22, 2016, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Putnam assumed command of the 18th SPCS, the newest space surveillance unit that will fall under the 21st Space Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robert J. Volio)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Col. Troy Endicott, 21st Operations Group commander, addresses members in attendance during an assumption of command ceremony July 22, 2016, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. Lt. Col. Scott Putnam, 18th Space Control Squadron commander, assumed command of the 18th SPCS, the newest space surveillance unit that falls under the 21st Space Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robert J. Volio)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Col. Troy Endicott, 21st Operations Group commander, addresses members in attendance during an assumption of command ceremony July 22, 2016, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. Lt. Col. Scott Putnam, 18th Space Control Squadron commander, assumed command of the 18th SPCS, the newest space surveillance unit that falls under the 21st Space Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robert J. Volio)

Lt. Col. Scott Putnam, 18th Space Control Squadron commander, addresses members in attendance during an assumption of command ceremony, July 22, 2016, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Putnam assumed command of the 18th SPCS, the newest space surveillance unit that will fall under the 21st Space Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robert J. Volio)

Lt. Col. Scott Putnam, 18th Space Control Squadron commander, addresses members in attendance during an assumption of command ceremony, July 22, 2016, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Putnam assumed command of the 18th SPCS, the newest space surveillance unit that will fall under the 21st Space Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robert J. Volio)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The 21st Space Wing stood up the 18th Space Control Squadron on July 22 during a ceremony at Vandenberg AFB, California.

The 18th SPCS falls under the 21st Operations Group, and will assume the satellite catalog mission from the 614th Air Operations Center, also located at Vandenberg.

“We are excited to have the 18th SPCS join the 21st Operations Group,” said Lt. Col. John Thien, 21st OG deputy commander. “With the 18th SPCS as the focal point for our nation's Space Situational Awareness mission, the assumption into the 21st Operations Group will drive great tactical synergy alongside our other SSA units.”

The squadron’s orbital predictions are a key part to maintaining space superiority. The realignment of this space control squadron to the 21st SW will realize the synergy of pairing the tactical command and control organization with the space surveillance network systems.

The newly created 18th SPCS will maintain the satellite catalog by processing observations of objects launched into space, currently on orbit, or re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere, including more than 1,400 active objects and 22,000 pieces of debris. The unit conducts advanced analysis on special events on orbit, maintenance of sensor tasking and calibration, and execution of U.S. Strategic Command’s Space Situational Awareness Sharing Strategy. The 18th SPCS is also responsible for maintaining the Space Common Operating Picture and disseminating the COP as required.

The 18th SPCS is commanded by Lt. Col. Scott Putnam and will consist of about 70 personnel. Manning will come from 614th AOC and does not result in an increase in total Air Force manning positions.

Moving the space catalog mission from the 614th AOC will allow the AOC to focus more on Battle Management Command and Control in support of U.S. Strategic Command objectives.

The 18th SPCS also includes reassigning the current missions of the 614th AOC, Detachment 1, when it is reorganized as 18th SPCS Det. 1, Dahlgren, Virginia. Detachment 1 will monitor data from the Space Surveillance Network and serve as the SSA backup when activated. The detachment continuously samples sensor data and augments the Space Catalog during planned and unplanned system outages.

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