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AFSPC Commander outlines vision for command at Space Symposium

General John E. Hyten, commander of Air Force Space Command, discussed multi-domain operations, his command objectives, and a vision for the future of the space enterprise in a speech Apr. 12 at the 2016 Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

General John E. Hyten, commander of Air Force Space Command, discussed multi-domain operations, his command objectives, and a vision for the future of the space enterprise in a speech Apr. 12 at the 2016 Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- General John E. Hyten, Commander of Air Force Space Command, delivered a speech at the National Space Symposium here April 12, focusing on multi-domain operations, his command objectives and a vision for the future of the space enterprise.

General Hyten began his presentation with a video highlighting the importance of space and cyber integration into everything we do in the military. The video also depicted how easily that integration can be taken away by a determined adversary if we don't properly defend our capabilities.

At the conclusion of the video, he posed the following question to the audience: "What if we lost space and cyberspace?"

General Hyten went on to elaborate on the importance of space and cyber effects on the battlefield, saying, "Those soldiers on the battlefield in the Middle East can never be left alone."

"All of the domains have to play at the same time with things happening simultaneously. That's multi-domain operations," he said.

General Hyten stressed that the Air Force is changing and moving toward a multi-domain mindset that relies on "the integration of all the domains - land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace - working together to deliver an effect in the battlefield."

"A year ago today we didn't have the term multi-domain operations," said General Hyten. "Multi-domain means it doesn't matter where effect comes from, what domain we use or what platform as long as it creates an effect on the battlefield. That's multi-domain operations. That is fundamentally different from the way we operate today."

General Hyten explained to the audience how AFSPC fits into this multi-domain concept, saying, "A lot of people think that I am a warfighter, I am not. My job is to lead the 36,000 men and women of AFSPC and organize, train and equip forces. We are working to create a resilient enterprise."

General Hyten expressed the importance of the Joint Interagency Space Operations Center in building a resilient enterprise, saying, "We have done three experiments, lasting about three weeks apiece. In those experiments we have learned a lot of things including that the intelligence community is the key to everything. The most important thing about the JICSpOC right now that we maintain a tight partnership with the entire National Security Space community."

He then laid out specific ways AFSPC is organizing, training, and equipping Airmen to operate in a threatened operating environment.

"We need to train a Space Mission Force. We need our space operators focused on what to do in case of a threat and to operate through the threat environment," General Hyten said.  "We have to change the way we train our Airmen."

SMF is designed to make space operator training and crew force resemble the rest of the Air Force. The cornerstone of SMF is the creation of a twin crew force. One crew will be in the fight, operating the mission, while the other crew force is in garrison receiving advanced training. The crews will switch every four months so they continue to gain experience through training and then apply that training in real world operations.

General Hyten also highlighted the need to focus on equipping forces with more resilient capabilities, explaining how AFSPC "came up with something called a Threat-Focused Space Enterprise Vision, the Space Enterprise Vision for short. If war does extend into space someday, and I hope it never does, the first response is not going to be in space. The first response could be in cyberspace, or the air, or terrestrial or any number of places meaning we must share common information across various domains. In other words, space Enterprise Vision." 

General Hyten concluded, saying, "If you think back to that original video, we have to do business a different way."

"It's all about the threat. It's all about the enterprise. We have been given the greatest gift by the American people - their sons and daughters. Our job is to make sure they are never alone on the battlefield."