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Dickinson Could be First Army Head of U.S. Space Command

Photo by: 
U.S. Army/Dottie K. White
Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The Army lieutenant general nominated to head the U.S. Space Command said he is “amazed” at the fast transformation the U.S. has made in viewing space as a warfighting domain.  

Lt. Gen. James Dickinson, currently Space Command’s deputy commander, will be the first Army officer to head the combatant command if he’s confirmed by the Senate.  

Testifying July 28 before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Dickinson said the U.S. faces “the most significant transformation in the history of the U.S. national security space program” under a revised defense strategy that considers space “a distinct warfighting domain, demanding enterprisewide changes to policies, strategies, operations, investments, capabilities and expertise for a new strategic environment.” 

Integrating U.S. capabilities with other American combatant commands is a critical part of the transformation, Dickinson said. “Space is a warfighting domain, and we must be prepared to defend U.S., allied and partner space capabilities,” he said.  

If confirmed, Dickinson would receive a fourth star and succeed Air Force Gen. John “Jay” Raymond at Space Command. Raymond became the first chief of space operations for the U.S. Space Force in December. 

Deterrence is the key, Dickinson said. “As the newest combatant command, we have rightfully placed an emphasis on deterrence and warfighting in the contested space domain,” he said. The U.S. has strategic advantages, but Russia and China “present the most immediate and serious threats to U.S. space operations,” and threats posed by Iran and North Korea “are growing.” 

“While we must remain vigilant against established competitors such as Russia and China, we must also establish visionary practices to identify the next iteration of potential competitors,” he said. “The proliferation of technology and the lowering of barriers for entry into space or access to the data provided from space means we have an increasing circle of other countries that we remain vigilant about.”