The US Space Command (SPACECOM) has achieved initial operational capability (IOC), marking a crucial milestone since its establishment on 29 August 2019.

The IOC was declared by US SPACECOM commander and Army general James Dickinson at the 36th annual Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado, US.

With this IOC achievement, SPACECOM, which is currently headquartered at Peterson Air Force Base (AFB) in Colorado, can now expand its structural, functional and organisational expertise gained.

The latest announcement comes nearly two years after SPACECOM was re-established as the 11th unified combatant command.

During these two years, USSPACECOM completed several milestones on its path to achieving IOC.

Dickinson said: “The rich space operations legacy of US Strategic Command and its largest component, Air Force Space Command, meant that when our combatant command was established two years ago, we weren’t starting on the launch pad.

“However, we are a very different command today at IOC then we were at stand-up in 2019, having matured and grown into a warfighting force, prepared to address threats from competition to conflict in space, while also protecting and defending our interests in this vast and complex domain.”

SPACECOM will now focus on achieving full operational capability (FOC).

To achieve FOC, the command will have to fully staff its headquarters and establish a permanent headquarters.

FOC will also require approving an Operation Plan (OPLAN) and updated campaign plan.

Dickinson added: “Simply put, US Space Command is ready to deter conflict, and if necessary, defeat aggression and, along with allies and partners, defend our vital interests in the space domain.”