WASHINGTON — Army Brig. Gen. Thomas James has been named commander of Joint Task Force Space Defense, one of two major components of U.S. Space Command.

USSPACECOM, officially re-established as a unified combatant command Aug. 29, announced James’ appointment Aug. 30.

The command’s two major components are the Combined Force Space Component Command and the Joint Task Force Space Defense.

As the commander of Joint Task Force Space Defense, James will be responsible for “space superiority operations,” according to a news release. The JTF-SD will work with the intelligence community to “deter aggression, defend space capability, and when directed, defeat adversaries.” The task force’s operations centers include the National Space Defense Center at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado; space situational awareness units; and emerging space defense units.

James was previously deputy commander of the organization responsible for space operations under U.S. Strategic Command, the Joint Functional Component Command for Space. Before that, he was director of space policy implementation at the office of the undersecretary of defense for policy.

James is the second Army officer to be named to a key post at USSPACECOM. Last month, President Trump selected Army Lt. Gen. James Dickinson to be the command’s number two under Gen. John Raymond. Dickinson is the commander of the Army Space and Missile Defense Command and Army Force Strategic Command.

The other major component of USSPACECOM, the Combined Force Space Component Command, will be led by the commander of the 14th Air Force, Maj. Gen. Stephen Whiting. Air Force Brig. Gen. Matthew Davidson is the deputy commander.

The CFSCC is responsible for planning and conducting global space operations and deliver space capabilities to combatant commanders and allies. It has four major operations centers: the Combined Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California; the Missile Warning Center at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Colorado; the Joint Overhead Persistent Infrared Center at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado; the and Joint Navigation Warfare Center at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico.

Whiting appointed Chief Master Sgt. John Bentivegna as the CFSCC senior enlisted leader. Bentivegna will advise the commander on matters related to the health, welfare and morale of more than 17,000 CFSCC personnel.

Whiting said in a statement that CFSCC will provide space capabilities such as space situational awareness, space electronic warfare, satellite communications, missile warning, nuclear detonation detection, environmental monitoring, intelligence, navigation warfare, command and control, and satellite-based positioning, navigation and timing.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...