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In the aftermath of the 9-11 terrorist attacks on the US, the President declared a Global War on Terrorism. In conjunction with this declaration, the US initiated Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and Operation IRAQI FREEDOM to identify and destroy terrorist strongholds in Afghanistan and Iraq. US and coalition warfighters made extensive use of space-based communications, GPS, meteorological, and imagery to effectively prosecute their military operations. ENDURING FREEDOM was the first counterspace war during which Afghanistan forces attempted to disrupt GPS signals while the US destroyed a ground-based satellite communications site. During Operation NOBLE EAGLE, AFSPC space-based systems were used to support the US homeland defense mission. 

In October 2001, in response to the Space Commission report, Air Force Material Command transferred its Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles AFB to AFSPC. This organizational move brought to the command responsibility for the development and acquisition of space and missile systems, thus merging operations and acquisitions functions within a single organization. 

In April 2002, the triple-hatting of the AFSPC commander as US Space Command and NORAD Commander ended. AFSPC became a separate four-star Air Force major command. As part of the ongoing initiative to transform the US military into a 21st century fighting force, DoD disestablished US Space Command and transferred its mission to US Strategic Command. This organizational action was designed to improve effectiveness and speed up information collection and assessment required for strategic decision-making. US Strategic Command was now responsible for early warning and defense against missile attack and long-range strategic attacks. 

AFSPC personnel and military space-based systems have also been used to support humanitarian relief efforts, the most recent example being hurricane Katrina. AFSPC deployed helicopters to the Gulf Coast region to deliver meals, water, and medical supplies, and to conduct search and rescue operations. During the hurricane, Hurricane Hunters used GPS to track the hurricane's path and speed and Defense Meteorological System Program satellites provided forecast data to defense and federal disaster planners. Additionally, military satellite communications systems played a key role in coordinating pre- and post-disaster activities. 

AFSPC provides a significant portion of US Strategic Command's warfighting capabilities, to include missile warning, the ICBM leg of strategic deterrence, and space-based intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities. Additionally, AFSPC is the sole provider of positioning, navigation, and timing, as well as the bulk of satellite communications to the warfighting community. Lastly, AFSPC serves as the Air Force's Executive Agent for space. In this role, AFSPC is the advocate for space capabilities and systems for all unified commands and military services, and collectively provides space capabilities the US needs today and in the future.