As part of the ongoing initiative to transform the U.S. military into a 21st century fighting force, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld today announced the intention to merge two unified commands whose missions include control of America’s nuclear forces, military space operations, computer network operations, strategic warning and global planning. The intended merger of U.S. Space Command (SpaceCom) and U.S. Strategic Command (StratCom) will improve combat effectiveness and speed up information collection and assessment needed for strategic decision-making.

“The missions of SpaceCom and StratCom have evolved to the point where merging the two into a single entity will eliminate redundancies in the command structure and streamline the decisionmaking process,” said Rumsfeld.

U.S. Strategic Command, located at Offutt Air Force Base in Neb., is the command and control center for U.S. nuclear forces. U.S. Space Command in Colorado Springs, Colo., commands military space operations, information operations, computer network operations and space campaign planning. Both commands are charged with countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

“StratCom and SpaceCom have successfully provided the capabilities to meet the nation’s defense needs for many years,” said Rumsfeld. “The merged command will be responsible for both early warning of and defense against missile attack as well as long-range conventional attacks.”

The intended merger is scheduled to take place in October 2002, and the preferred location for the command headquarters is Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.