WASHINGTON — Space Force Maj. Gen. Douglas Schiess on Aug. 22 assumed command of U.S. Space Command’s Combined Force Space Component Command at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California.

The CFSCC, with more than 700 personnel, oversees U.S. and allied space operations, and coordinates space traffic management. It also ensures space capabilities such as GPS navigation and satellite-based communications are available to U.S. commanders and allied nations.

At the Combined Space Operations Center (CspOC), U.S. and allied personnel from Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom track objects and activities in space.  

Schiess, a former commander of Florida’s Eastern Range space launch facilities, was most recently deputy commander at Space Operations Command at Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado. He replaces Maj. Gen. DeAnna Burt, who will be taking a senior post at Space Force headquarters at the Pentagon.

At a change of command ceremony at Vandenberg, the head of U.S. Space Command Gen. James Dickinson credited Burt for overseeing the U.S. response to Russia’s anti-satellite missile test and coordinating space support services for U.S. European Command, which runs security assistance efforts for Ukraine.

In remarks at the ceremony, Burt said the CspOC is still tracking 655 pieces of debris from Russia’s ASAT test. She also gave kudos to SpaceX, Viasat and Maxar for their role providing satellite services to Ukraine and allies. 

Burt said the CFSCC played a role in helping shape the debate on norms of behavior in space. The U.S. government has called for the adoption of global rules in response to the development of anti-satellite weapons by Russia and China. 

“We want free and fair use of space for all,” Burt said.

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...