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​Gen. John Hyten speaks at US Strategic Command's 2017 Deterrence Symposium, at CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb., on July 26. US Strategic Command photo

—Wilson Brissett

Gen. Jay Raymond, commander of Air Force Space Command, will also become the joint space component commander for US Strategic Command, STRATCOM boss Gen. John Hyten told reporters during a conference call Wednesday. The move comes as Hyten works to restructure his entire command, consolidating 18 component commands under four components for air, space, sea, and missile defense, each with its own four-star commander, except for missile defense which will continue to be led by a three-star general.

Hyten said he “directed the consolidation” of STRATCOM on June 16 of this year, but the changes will require some time to take effect. In the case of the space component command, “it will take a number of months to work out all the joint relationships” before Raymond can take full command. Hyten said he did not know exactly when the transition would be complete, but that it could be “into early next year before we reach the point where we can fully make that change.”

The organizational streamlining of STRATCOM is intended “to empower those four-stars to act as the joint commanders to bring all the capabilities together,” Hyten said. He expects the move to clarify and simplify lines of communication. “The four-stars actually know more about the mission,” Hyten said, “and in reality all of the other component commanders work for those four-stars anyway.”

The US military already benefits from having “a four-star who is focused on space all the time” at AFSPC, Hyten said.  But to improve operational control of space forces and assets across the services, “I want to elevate that responsibility to be the joint force space commander under STRATCOM” as well.

Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul Selva ​​​told Congress last week that the move would give Raymond unified control over the US military’s satellite constellations and would result in new “efficiencies.”

Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein also mentioned the change at an AFA Mitchell event in Washington, D.C., Wednesday. He said the new STRATCOM space command is a key outcome of the Air Force’s campaign to “integrate and elevate” space operations “across all the military missions,” as the service looks to “normalize space as a warfighting domain.”

This story was updated on July 27, 2017.