By Tech. Sgt. Michael Phillips

21st Space Wing Public Affairs

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – “If September 11 taught us anything, [it taught us] we ought to be flexible enough to change to do what’s right. That’s what we think we’re doing,” said Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a recent press conference here.

Flexibility was a key point for the general July 19 as he discussed the upcoming merger of U.S. Space Command with U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., as well as the stand-up of Northern Command at Peterson. Both of those events take place Oct. 1.

Some U.S. Space Command people will move to Offutt as a result of the merger, however, Myers doesn’t expect a large change in the Peterson Complex population.

“This is a time for a lot of change, but I would say, change for the good,” he said. “If you look at how large Space Command is today, and what a footprint they have here in Colorado, and you look at standing up a new Northern Command, the numbers look like they’re going to come out about even, maybe even a slight growth.”

As a former commander of Air Force Space Command and commander in chief of U.S. Space Command and North America Aerospace Defense Command, Myers said he was convinced the move of U.S. Space Command to Nebraska is best for military space.

“I have no doubt about the importance of the space mission, and I have absolutely no worry, in any way, that it’s going to be diminished by the things we’ve done here,” he said. “I don’t see it as a loss for Colorado Springs. I see it as a gain.”

He stated that, in his mind, instead of shortchanging military space, the new command in Omaha would instead help the space community realize its full potential.

“The roles and responsibilities that reside here in Space Command are going to endure. What we’re challenging people to do in this new command, is to take it to the next level. Things like space control and enhancement, and all those missions we’ve had in the past — a lot of those are going to stay the same,” he said.

He reiterated that the reorganization for a new U.S. Strategic Command was not a mere merging of assets.

“We’re thinking about them as a new command,” Myers said. “All those roles and responsibilities they have are going to be taken to this new command, but we’ll be doing no degradation of the space mission. In fact, the only limits to how far we go with this new command will be people’s imagination, and what they set for our country.

And, of course, the placement of Northern Command, responsible for protecting America from outside attack, at Peterson will do nothing to diminish the future of the region.

“Can you imagine a more important command in this day and age or one that’s going to be more relevant in the 21st Century, given the type of threat we saw on September 11?” he said about NORTHCOM. “We‘ll have a unified command responsible for security, within the roles and missions the Department of Defense normally has for security [overseas assets]…for the United States. We’ve never had that before.”