U.S. Space Force Activates New Component to Support Operations in Europe and Africa

U.S. Space Force Guardians assigned to U.S. Space Forces Europe and Africa stand in a delta formation at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Dec. 8, 2023. Source: U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Madelyn Keech

The U.S. Space Force, the U.S. European Command and the U.S. Africa Command officially launched the U.S. Space Forces Europe and Africa component command to ​​support the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).

The U.S. Space Force announced this during the Activation and Assumption of Command Ceremony for the United States Space Forces Europe & Africa (SPACEFOREUR-AF) held in Ramstein, Germany, on December 8, 2023. This move aligns with the U.S. European Command’s announcement in November regarding the imminent activation of the U.S. Space Forces Europe and Africa (USSPACEFOR-EURAF). 

The USSPACEFOR-EURAF is the latest service component under EUCOM and AFRICOM, following the lead of other commands like U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, U.S. Forces Korea, and U.S. Central Command. Thus, EUCOM and AFRICOM are the most recent combatant commands to establish a dedicated space component integrated into a U.S. military regional command.

The Space Force component will be under the leadership of U.S. Space Force Col. Max Lantz and will consist of around 30 service members. Its primary role involves bolstering EUCOM’s increasing demand for space-related capabilities, including satellite navigation, communications, and integration with NATO Allies and partners.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius highlighted the strategic significance of this development, emphasising the U.S. as Germany’s key partner in expanding space capabilities. He emphasised the activation of the U.S. Space Forces Europe and Africa component as a symbol of the escalating importance of the space domain in military affairs, highlighting Germany’s role as a dependable ally and host for the U.S. Armed Forces. Pistorius expressed confidence in the unit’s ability to strengthen the robust bilateral military partnership in space.

The new U.S. Space Forces in Europe-Space Forces Africa patch is displayed at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Dec. 6, 2023. Source: U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jared Lovett

AFRICOM’s commander, U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Michael Langley, reinforced that the activation of USSPACEFOR-EURAF showcases a commitment to enhancing collaborative space capabilities across Africa. He stressed the initiative’s broader focus beyond safeguarding space assets, emphasising the importance of building partnerships and enhancing the command’s capacity to provide space-related advantages in joint missions with African partners.

EUCOM’s deputy commander, U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Steven Basham, echoed the sentiment, stating that the activation of USSPACEFOR-EURAF reaffirms their dedication to strengthening joint space capabilities in the region. Their primary objective is safeguarding space assets while empowering the command to generate space effects to support missions alongside Allies and partners.