Space Force Gets Its First Delta Echelon as Air Force Turns Over More Units

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25th and 379th Space Range Squadrons build an antenna at Ramstein.
25th and 379th Space Range Squadrons build an antenna at Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany, March 7, 2019. (U.S. Air Force/Jennifer Anderson)

The U.S. Air Force has realigned some of its major space wings and transferred their missions to the Space Force in one of the largest command overhauls in nearly 40 years.

Space Force officials announced Friday that five Air Force units have moved to the military's sixth branch. Three wings and eight subordinate groups or centers were deactivated in favor of creating the provisional Space Training and Readiness Command.

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Last month, the Space Force said it will have only three command echelons: field commands, deltas and squadrons.

The transferred units will form "STAR Delta Provisional" and will be headquartered at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, for now, according to a release.

The realigned units include the National Security Space Institute; U.S. Air Force Warfare Center Detachment 1; 705th Combat Training Squadron Operating Location Alpha; 25th Space Range Squadron; and 527th Space Aggressor Squadron, the release states.

"This ceremony highlights the most significant restructure of space units since the establishment of the Air Force Space Command in 1982," said Chief of Space Operations Gen. John "Jay" Raymond. Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Space Force officials held a pre-recorded, virtual ceremony to recognize the transformation.

Speaking at a separate virtual Center for a New American Security event Friday, Raymond said the restructure called for collapsing "two layers of command, again [to get] after a lean, agile structure that can move fast and enable accountability and agility."

The organizational change means Air Force space wings and groups will move into the delta structure, he added.

The change inactivated three space wings and eight lower-echelon commands. In their place, it activated STAR Delta, two garrison commands and eight mission deltas, the release states.

That means the 21st Space Wing at Peterson and the 50th Space Wing at Schriever Air Force Base Colorado, and subordinate units no longer exist and have instead formed the Peterson-Schriever Garrison. The 460th Space Wing at Buckley Air Force, Colorado, was also inactivated, and the Buckley Garrison stood up in its place.

The additional eight suspended or reformed units include the 21st Operations Group; 721st Operations Group; 460th Operations Group; 614th Air Operations Center; 50th Network Operations Group; 544th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Group; 50th Operations Group; and 750th Operations Group.

The new garrisons support roughly 30 space mission locations around the world.

Raymond said the streamlining process has also included whittling down the Pentagon's Space Force headquarters from about 1,000 to roughly 600 people.

He named Col. Pete Flores as STAR Delta Provisional's leader. The service previously said deltas will be led by O-6 officers, a rank equivalent to Navy captains or colonels in the other services, and will be organized to support a specific function, such as operations, training or installation support.

STAR Delta is the precursor organization to the Space Training and Readiness Command field command, which will be responsible for educating and training space professionals.

A two-star general will eventually oversee this field command; officials estimate STARCOM will be active by 2021 at a location still to be determined.

The structure will not eliminate any jobs, officials said, though some roles and responsibilities may change as the Space Force continues to build its ranks.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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