By Senior Master Sgt. Dean J. Miller
Air Force Space Command Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Professional development of the nation’s space force reached a milestone with the dedication and ribbon-cutting of the Moorman Space Education and Training Center here Sept 13.
The facility is home to four organizations that provide Space Professional Development courses to joint forces operating space systems and delivering critical information to the warfighter. The center is also the only Defense Department source of space training for allied and partner nations.
General William Shelton, commander of Air Force Space Command, and retired General Thomas Moorman, Jr., were featured speakers at the event highlighting a week of celebrations marking the command’s 30th Anniversary. Credited for championing professional development of space forces, General Moorman retired in 1997 as the Air Force vice chief of staff. Prior to this position, he served as the AFSPC commander and vice commander.
“We commit this center to the development of deep space expertise and capability within our Air Force and we name it after someone who has dedicated his adult life to that same objective. May all who pass through the doors of the Moorman Space Education and Training Center be inspired by the strong character and renowned expertise of the center’s namesake, General Thomas S. Moorman, Jr.,” declared General Shelton before dedicating the building.
Moorman watched as lettering on the facility carrying his name was unveiled along with a 250-lb bronze plaque bearing his likeness. He and General Shelton then cut a ribbon officially opening the center.
“I have a deep sense of gratitude to the Air Force and Air Force Space Command for this very singular honor,” said Moorman. “I consider Air Force Space Command and Peterson AFB as my professional home. The Moorman family’s ties to Colorado Springs are long-standing, deep and emotional, so words may fail me as I try to describe how meaningful this day is to Barbara and me, so please bear with me.”
Moorman then credited his professional successes to those he worked for, alongside and to those who worked for him throughout his career. He also described an experience early in his career working for the NRO on a series of studies that ultimately led to the establishment of AFSPC. Moorman reflected that these events ultimately led him to the events of the day.
“I mention this to underscore that I’m mindful of the roll of serendipity and timing in ones’ career, and it’s certainly true in my life,” said Moorman.
Moorman then described the humble beginnings of national space capability when few had access to limited data from space assets which were exclusively dedicated to fighting the cold war. This was contrasted with present day capabilities as space is integrated into all aspects of command and control, critical data is received within seconds, space assets are used by coalition forces in pursuit of ever-changing strategic and tactical goals, and cyber is its own warfighting domain.
The General used these contrasts to frame the role and challenges of the SETC.
“The space school house mission is to ensure that today’s space cadre is up to speed on the capability of current space systems, is sensitive to the demands of warfighters, understands how to introduce innovation in space application employment, is aware of the latest tactics, techniques and procedures, and on the acquisition side, understands the latest processes and lessons-learned in procurement,” said Moorman.
“Over the years, groups such as the space commission and Government Accountability Office have called for more emphasis on a knowledgeable space cadre supported by a robust and sophisticated SETC. From what I saw yesterday during the tour, I think the Air Force has stepped up to this challenge. And the education and training needs of the space cadre are met by this facility…. I’m most humbled, and deeply honored to have my name associated with this mission and this terrific facility.”
Prior to the ceremony, Moorman reflected on the role of space education in the command’s earliest days.
“The need for space professional development dates back to the original plans for the command,” said Moorman. “We recognized the need to institutionalize and formalize space operations, so the training function was a high priority that included consideration of facilities, a syllabus, space education for all Airmen, and within each of the national war colleges.”
Moorman served on the 2001 Rumsfeld Commission to Assess U.S. National Security Space Management and Organization. The commission anticipated development of a core national space cadre, notable since national focus at the time was more about space systems and capabilities than development of a professional space force.
“AFSPC is about organizing, training and equipping,” said Moorman, “So, providing well-educated, talented space operators is crucial. The requirement to integrate space capabilities into military operations is critical, and we need highly-trained people to do that. This center is a big part of how we how we will continue to develop that force for the nation.”
The new facility houses the staff, classrooms and library of the AFSPC Advanced Space Operations School, the Air Education and Training Command’s Air University National Security Space Institute, the Reserve National Security Space Institute, and Navy Cyber Forces Colorado.
The new facility features classrooms equipped with the latest technology to support large-scale classified training, an academic library that supports all aspects of space professional development, conference rooms and staff office space.