Vice Chief of Space Operations
Space Staff Identification Badge
Flag of the Vice Chief of Space Operations
Incumbent
General Michael Guetlein
since 21 December 2023
United States Space Force
Space Staff
AbbreviationVCSO
Member ofSpace Staff
Joint Requirements Oversight Council
Reports toSecretary of the Air Force
Chief of Space Operations
SeatThe Pentagon, Arlington County, Virginia, United States
AppointerThe President
with Senate advice and consent
Formation2 October 2020
First holderDavid D. Thompson

The vice chief of space operations (VCSO) is an office held by a four-star general in the United States Space Force. The vice chief directly supports the Chief of Space Operations (CSO) by serving as a member of the Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) and also operates with the full authority of the chief of space operations during the CSO's absence. The VCSO is nominated for appointment by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The VCSO is the second-highest position in the U.S. Space Force, equivalent to other services' vice chief positions.

History

Gen John W. Raymond (left) promotes Lt Gen David D. Thompson to the rank of general during a ceremony in the Pentagon, 1 October 2020

In February 2020, the Space Force sent a report to the United States Congress on the service's proposed organizational structure, in which it outlines the plan for the position of the vice chief of space operations. The VCSO would be established as a four-star statutory position with duties and responsibilities equivalent to other service vice positions that would grant the VCSO parity with vice positions established in law in the other military services.[1]

On August 6, 2020, Lieutenant General David D. Thompson was nominated for promotion to general and assignment as the first VCSO.[2] The United States Senate confirmed him on September 30, 2020.[3] Thompson was promoted on October 1, 2020, and assumed the position of VCSO the next day, October 2, 2020.[4]

In 2023, Thompson retired from active duty. Lieutenant General Michael Guetlein, the nominee to succeed Thompson, wasn't confirmed by the Senate because of a hold placed by Senator Tommy Tuberville on all Department of Defense nominees, so Lieutenant General Philip Garrant, the most senior officer in the Space Staff, took over as acting VSCO.[5][6]

List of vice chiefs of space operations

No. Vice Chief of Space Operations Term Chief of Space Operations Ref.
Portrait Name Took office Left office Term length
1
David D. Thompson
General
David D. Thompson
(born 1963)
2 October 202014 December 20233 years, 73 daysJohn W. Raymond
B. Chance Saltzman
[7]
-
Philip Garrant
Lieutenant General
Philip Garrant
(born c. 1969)
Acting
14 December 202321 December 20237 daysB. Chance Saltzman[6]
2
Michael Guetlein
General
Michael Guetlein
(born 1967)
21 December 2023Incumbent54 daysB. Chance Saltzman[8]

Timeline

Michael GuetleinPhilip GarrantDavid D. Thompson

See also

References

  1. ^ "Comprehensive Plan for the Organizational Structure of the U.S. Space Force" (PDF). Department of the Air Force. February 2020. p. 16. Retrieved 15 August 2020.Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ Cohen, Rachel S. (7 August 2020). "Thompson Tapped as Space Force Vice Chief". Air Force Magazine. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  3. ^ "PN2163 – 1 nominee for Space Force, 116th Congress (2019–2020) | Congress.gov | Library of Congress".
  4. ^ "First-ever Vice CSO joins U.S. Space Force". United States Space Force.
  5. ^ "See where Sen. Tommy Tuberville is blocking 301 military promotions". Washington Post. 12 August 2023. Retrieved 23 September 2023.
  6. ^ a b "DAF commemorates Air Force's 76th anniversary, Space Force's 4th anniversary with worship service". United States Air Force. 15 September 2023.Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  7. ^ "David D. Thompson". United States Space Force.Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  8. ^ "Michael A. Guetlein". United States Space Force.Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.