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AFSPC Commander advocates defending space superiority

WASHINGTON -- The Commander of Air Force Space Command Gen. John Hyten charged the Air Force to defend its position and remain on the cutting edge of international space operations during the 2014 Air Force Association's Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition here Sept. 16.

Of air, space and cyberspace, AFSPC remains directly responsible for the latter two of the Air Force's three warfighting domains, Hyten reported.

"Everything that we do in space is fundamental to the fight that we're in today, to the fight that we'll be in tomorrow," Hyten said. "The capabilities we provide today have fundamentally changed warfare, and they're critical to the fight in Afghanistan and Iraq."

Hyten spoke to the origin of aerospace and Air Force Space Command, highlighting early Air Force leaders who saw how space capabilities could contribute to the fight. After recounting the nation's initial efforts to leverage space throughout Desert Storm, Hyten described how space assets have evolved.

"The capabilities we brought to bear and the difference we made in Iraq and Afghanistan were truly remarkable," Hyten said, adding that adversaries recognize U.S. efforts in space create a considerable advantage for U.S. forces, so they may try to deny those advantages.

Hyten believes that the Air Force's future power depends on the robust integration of air, space and cyberspace. He highlighted the importance of enhancing situational awareness, as well as the integrating information in a way that allows the United States to deter aggression and defeat active threats. The American people expect the nation to be able to defend itself against attacks in any domain, Hyten said.

"The United States will employ a variety of measures to help ensure the use of space for all responsible parties," Hyten said, referencing the President's National Space Policy. "And consistent with the inherent right of self-defense, deter others from interference and attack, defend our space systems and contribute to the defense of allied space systems, and if deterrence fails, defeat efforts to attack us."

Hyten emphasized that Airmen must continue to think in visionary ways in order to maintain the ability to provide crucial support to combat troops.

"Aerospace is fundamentally what the Air Force is about," Hyten said. "That's our heritage. We have to figure out how to fight through the challenges we're facing to support our warfighters - it is our sacred responsibility."
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