WASHINGTON — Gen. David “DT” Thompson is officially the U.S. Space Force’s first vice chief of space operations, following a small swearing in ceremony at the Pentagon Oct. 2.
The former vice commander of the now-defunct Air Force Space Command has effectively served as the Space Force’s No. 2 under Chief of Space Operations Gen. John “Jay” Raymond since the service was creatd in Dec. 2019. However, the move officially transfers him from the Air Force to the Space Force. He has also been promoted to a four-star general.
“The importance of the vice service chief is to be an equal partner with other vice service chiefs to advocate and provide the space perspective in Pentagon processes,” said Thompson. “Vice service chiefs work together to make sure the advocacy is right, the priority is right, the integration is right, the requirements are right, and decisions brought to the Joint Chiefs and Department Secretaries reflect all of that appropriately.”
In his new role, Thompson said he will focus on two primary priorities:
“Building the service headquarters at the Pentagon and crystalizing and defining this new thing called the Space Warfighting Integration Center are what I’ll be focusing on over the next 90 days,” Thompson said.
The Space Force wants the new Space Warfighting Integration Center to have a similar function to Army Futures Command or the similarly named Air Force Warfighting Integration Capability. It will be a field operating agency, directly reporting to the CSO.
“We have conceived of SWIC as a key feature of force design and integration not just internally, but with the rest of the force,” said Thompson. “What we now need to do is the hard work of defining exactly what it’s going to do, exactly what its resources need to be, and exactly what its interfaces are going to be within the Space Force and the joint force.”
Prior to officially joining the Space Force, Thompson led a 35-year career in the Air Force. Following his graduation from the Air Force Academy, Thompson has been a lifelong space operator. He has served as head of the 45th Operations Group at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, the Aerospace Data Facility at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, and space forces at U.S. Air Forces Central Command. In 2010, he became vice commander of the Air Force Warfare Center before going on to serve as U.S. Strategic Command’s deputy director of global operations in 2011 then director of plans and policy in 2014. In June 2015, he became vice commander of Air Force Space Command.
Nathan Strout was the staff editor at C4ISRNET, where he covered the intelligence community.