The NATO Space Centre gained its first U.S. Space Force Guardian, when a key member of the team, Major Matthew Leines, officially transferred from the U.S. Air Force to the U.S. Space Force on 12 August 2021. During the formal ceremony held at Allied Air Command on 12 August, Major Leines, an engineering officer with expertise in nano-satellites and space systems, joined the U.S. Space Force. Although Major Leines was a founder member of the NATO Space Centre, his transfer to the U.S. Space Force underlines the importance of deepening cooperation between NATO and Allied space entities.
“Space is a hugely dynamic environment, which is becoming more crowded and competitive. The expertise of our people is what ensures we optimise the provision of space data and services to Commanders to support timely decision-making.,” said Colonel James Quinn, NATO Space Centre’s Senior Mentor.
In addition to being part of the growing, multinational team at the NATO Space Centre, Major Leines is a key member of the growing Alliance space cadre. NATO is investing significant effort in the training and education of personnel working in the Space Domain, with courses coming online that will complement national training. Space is increasingly important to the Alliance’s and Allies security and prosperity. The NATO Space Centre provide a critical focal point for all space matters, supporting commanders during land, sea and air operations. The Centre coordinates constantly with national space entities during exercises, operations and activities.
The Trump administration championed establishing the U.S. Space Force culminating in the legislation signed Dec. 20, 2019, that formed the first U.S. armed force since the Air Force was established in 1947. Vice President Mike Pence announced that personnel in the Space Force will be called Guardians. The United States Space Force (USSF) is the space service branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, one of the eight U.S. uniformed services, and the world’s first and currently only independent space force. Along with its sister-branch, the U.S. Air Force, the Space Force is part of the Department of the Air Force, one of the three civilian-led military departments within the Department of Defense.