NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — U.S. Army and Navy units that operate communications satellites next month will be realigned under the U.S. Space Force, chief of space operations Gen. John “Jay” Raymond said Sept. 21.

The transfers were approved earlier this year when the Pentagon submitted its budget request for fiscal year 2022. During a keynote speech at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber conference, Raymond provided additional details on the specific units being moved over.

A total of 11 Army and four Navy organizations will transfer. These units employ 319 military and 259 civilian personnel. Army and Navy service members are not obligated to join the Space Force but can voluntarily transfer. Raymond said more applicants have applied for transfers than there are slots available. 

“These transfers will increase efficiency and improve the readiness” of satellite communications operations, Raymond said.

Satellite-based communications functions performed by these units are closely aligned with corresponding units in the U.S. Space Force and regularly operate together, he said. “Transferring these units and functions to the Space Force enhances unity of effort and mission effectiveness in the satellite communications mission area.”

Transitioning from the Army are two units that currently are part of the Army’s satellite operations brigade: The 53rd Signal Battalion and the SATCOM Directorate. The 53rd Signal Battalion is the only U.S. military unit that controls the payloads of the military’s Wideband Global Satcom and DSCS communication constellations. The Navy is transferring the units that operate the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) and Ultra-High Frequency Follow-on (UFO)) satellites.

Army units transferring to Space Force:

  • 53rd Signal Battalion Headquarters, Peterson Space Force Base, Colo.
  • 53rd Signal Battalion Detachment A, Fort Detrick, Md.
  • 53rd Signal Battalion Detachment B, Fort Meade, Md.
  • 53rd Signal Battalion Detachment C, Landstuhl, Germany
  • 53rd Signal Battalion Detachment D, Wahiawa, Hawaii
  • 53rd Signal Battalion Detachment E, Fort Buckner, Japan
  • Combined Satcom Support Expert Office, Peterson Space Force Base, Colo.
  • Regional Satcom Support Center-East, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.
  • Regional Satcom Support Center-West, Peterson Space Force Base, Colo.
  • Regional Satcom Support Center-Europe, Stuttgart, Germany
  • Regional Satcom Support Center-Pacific, Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii

Navy units transferring to Space Force:

  • Navy Satellite Operations Center (NAVSOC), Point Mugu, Calif.
  • NAVSOC Detachment A, Prospect Harbor, Maine
  • NAVSOC Detachment C, Finegayan, Guam
  • NAVSOC Detachment D, Schriever Space Force Base, Colo.

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...