Delta commanders share opportunities, lessons learned from becoming Integrated Mission Deltas

  • Published
  • By Emily Peacock
In September 2023, U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman introduced the concept of Integrated Mission Delta provisional units that would, ultimately, organize all aspects of mission area readiness – personnel, equipment, training and sustainment – into a single organization to better optimize for the Great Power Competition.

In his announcement, Saltzman identified Space Delta 3 – Space Electromagnetic Warfare and Position, Navigation, and Timing Delta (Provisional) as the first IMDs to combine force elements in Space Operations Command that perform mission generation, intelligence support, and cyber defense with program offices in Space Systems Command that oversee maintenance and acquisition activities.

After standing up the IMDs in October 2023, both IMD commanders gathered for a panel discussion during the Air and Space Forces Association Warfare Symposium in Aurora, Colorado, Feb. 13, to discuss the transition from Delta to IMD.

Moderated by retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Kimberly Crider and joined by Col. Carl Bottolfson, director of Futures and Integration Directorate at Headquarters U.S. Space Force, Col. Nicole Petrucci, commander of DEL 3, and Col. Andrew Menschner, commander of PNT Delta (Provisional), discussed the opportunities and lessons learned that becoming an IMD has presented.

When asked about her thoughts on DEL 3 as an IMD, Petrucci talked about mission prioritization.

“It allows us to focus on the mission and it allows us to be experts at what we do,” Petrucci said. “We don’t just dabble in electromagnetic warfare – that’s all we do. It allows us to have a deeper understanding of our mission area.”

Petrucci also discussed the cyclical value of the IMD and the military advantages it provides.

“The nation that can cycle technology into a military advantage faster will win,” Petrucci said. “It’s not the technology and the capability in it of itself – it’s how we can turn it into a military advantage and then cycle that.”

As to how being an IMD has proved a delta’s ability to prepare, perform, and evolve operational capabilities to stay in front of the threat, Menschner talked about building a team of both operations and acquisitions personnel.

“Although our operational squadron came out of Delta 8, we were also able to incorporate two squadrons and a detachment from SSC,” Menschner explained. “As part of the operational Delta that we were standing up, we were able to incorporate a sustainment team into the squadron as well as the near-term acquisition of the next generational operational control system into the IMD.

The ability to combine those units under a single umbrella and be able to focus on unified mission readiness, has had tremendous benefits. We’ve seen a lot of great things with the crossflow between the operators and acquisition teams. Now, as the single commander responsible for near-term acquisitions and operations, I can set the team’s priorities so that they have a focus on delivering the next generation’s capabilities.”

As for the future expansion of IMDs, Bottolfson wasn’t specific on who to expect, but when.

“There’s more change coming,” Bottolfson said. “This is something the [Delta] community is fully embracing.”

For her final comments, Petrucci circled back to what it means to serve as an EW expert.

“We’re proud of what we do, and being focused around that mission makes us even more proud,” Petrucci said. “By enabling these IMDs, it makes us better, it makes us more focused.”

To learn more about IMDs, click here.