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Headquarters organizations merge to form single Directorate of Air, Space and Cyberspace Operations

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- To further align with the command’s mission of agility and the growing emphasis on cyberspace support, two Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command directorates merged to form a single Directorate of Air, Space and Cyberspace Operations. This organizational change took effect July 1.

“For AFMC, this merger is about providing 21st century integrated lifecycle management support to the warfighter,” said Brig. Gen. John Shapland, director of the newly merged organization. “For our command’s part, we’re at the ready to provide that collaborative level of support at every program stage.”

The mission of the new Directorate of Air, Space and Cyberspace Operations is to provide world-class test and evaluation expertise along with integrated, multi-domain operations strategy, governance and enabling capabilities command-wide for the delivery and support of agile war-winning capabilities.

The newly merged organization aligns with the Air Force’s strategic vectors, which include a multi-domain approach to executing the service’s five core missions, according to directorate officials. AFMC already conducts core missions “in, through and from space and cyberspace” and the combined directorate allows for the enhancement of agile combat support capabilities, while also emphasizing cost-effectiveness.

For the command, this further translates into delivering and supporting operational agility by integrating that multi-domain approach within research, development, test and evaluation of programs.

“This merger is also aligned with the Air Force's Future Operating Concept,” Shapland said. “It focuses on enabling cyber effects within its new domain and across all the others.”

The re-organization also has a clear focus on the future, said Col. Douglas Dudley, Deputy Director of Cyberspace Operations and Chief Information Officer.

“This merger is a logical next step to posture our command to support the Air Force’s future vision of how to align forces for operations in the cyber domain,” he said.

The Air Force Future Operating Concept, released in September 2015, is a strategic service document that outlines the roadmap for organizing, training, and equipping the force well into the future. It outlines a conception of future operations that are not only multi-domain, but that also require interoperability among air, space and cyberspace capabilities.

According to the Future Operating Concept, space and cyber capabilities are critical components to the service’s “integrated multi-domain operations.”

The new directorate has four divisions that include Test & Evaluation, Assurance, Current Operations and Standardization/Evaluations. Three of the four divisions are located at Wright-Patterson. The Standardization/Evaluations division is located at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

The two merged directorates were formerly known individually as the Directorate of Air, Space and Information Operations, or A3, and the Directorate of Communications, or A6. The newly formed directorate now retains the A3/6 designation.

Similar mergers have taken place within Headquarters Air Force Space Command and Pacific Air Forces.