The U.S. Army satellite communications mission was officially transferred to the U.S. Space Force during a ceremony at Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 15, 2022.
This transfer from the Army to the Space Force marks the first time that all of the Department of Defense’s military satellite communications functions have been consolidated under a single military service.
US Army Lt. Gen. Daniel Karbler, commanding general of US Army Space and Missile Defense Command, and US Space Force Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting, commander of Space Operations Command, presided over the ceremony.
“This is a historic moment for the Department of Defense and military satellite communications as we bring all military SATCOM capabilities under one service for the first time ever,” Karbler said. “I would like to thank the US Space Force and especially Lieutenant General Stephen Whiting and his team for their great teamwork during this transition period. I know our SATCOM professionals will continue to provide superior service and support while embodying the proud legacy of the Army SATCOM mission.”
The SATCOM mission is managed by USASMDC’s Satellite Operations Brigade, which includes the 53rd
During the ceremony, approximately 200 civilian and 300 military quarters were transferred from the Department of the Army to the Department of the Air Force.
“Thanks to Lt. Gen. Karbler’s leadership and the dedication of his team, we are ready for this transfer and ready to continue our vital missions without interruption,” Whiting said. “We are proud to continue the Army’s legacy as we undertake this mission, and we pledge never to forget the users of this remarkable SATCOM enterprise — namely, the entire Joint Force, including U.S. Army Soldiers.”
With the official mission transfer, the 53rd SOPS is the only DOD organization to perform payload and transmission control for the Defense Satellite Communications System and the Wideband Global SATCOM satellite constellations. These constellations provide mission-critical communications connectivity for users ranging from the President of the United States to interagency and international partners conducting global operations.
The 53rd SOPS at Schriever SFB was activated June 29, 2022 and has divisions at Fort Detrick, Maryland; Fort Meade, Maryland; Landstuhl, Germany; Wahiawa, Hawaii; and Fort Buckner, Japan. These detachments were previously under the 53rd Signals Battalion.
The SATCOM Bureau manages broadband payloads on the Wideband Global SATCOM and Defense Satellite Communications System, narrowband payloads on Fleet SATCOM, Ultra High Frequency Follow-On, and the Mobile User Objective System Global Broadcast Service. It is responsible for four regional SATCOM support centers at Peterson SFB; MacDill Air Force Base, Florida; Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii; and Patch Barracks, Germany.
The 53rd Signals Battalion, activated in 1941, dates back to World War II and switched its mission to satellite operations in the 1960s. His legacy and history will remain an integral part of the 53rd SOPS identity well into the future.
Delta 8 provides SATCOM and the premier position, navigation and timing signals and is the hub for US protected and secured military SATCOM and the only global provider of PNT signals to military and civilian users.
The Navy Satellite Operations Center, along with three departments, moved to the 10th SOPS on June 6, 2022, also falling under Delta 8. With Wardens, Airmen, Sailors and Soldiers coming together for vital SATCOM operations, Delta 8 is a fusion of military culture that benefits from the diverse backgrounds and extensive experience of its members. The Army and Navy members will transition to Space Force Guardians over the next year.
SpOC generates, presents, and supports combat-ready intelligence, cyber, space, and combat support forces and serves as the USSF service component for US Space Command.