SMC welcomes new vice commander

  • Published
  • By Chip Pons
  • Space and Missile Systems Center Public Affairs

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.--The men and women of the Space and Missile Systems Center officially welcomed Brig. Gen. D. Jason Cothern as the newest vice commander, June 8, here.


While today’s global environment continues to present challenges addressing teammates face-to-face, Cothern took time to respond to several questions we asked as he assumed his role of vice commander. 


As an Air Force leader, whose career spans 27 years and 15 assignments, what specifically excites you about joining the SMC mission?

“Rejoining the SMC team at this time and place is quite literally historic.  The once in a lifetime opportunity to be a “plank holder” of the USSF and SMC is incredible.  Working with friends, old and new, as we pivot the Space Domain to a warfighting mindset is a unique time for us all.  I’m very excited to be a part of this amazing team at this amazing time.”


What would you like to say to the Total Force Airmen regarding our critical role in the United States Space Force’s mission to provide space capabilities to the joint force?

“As an Airman who came up during the time of “Space is a benign and uncontested environment,” I am having to shift my thinking and my comfort zone.  We all have to shift our thinking, across the lifecycle, to one of Space as a warfighting domain.  While we don’t want conflict in Space, we have to be prepared for it.  That shift in mindset has been occurring, but we need to accelerate it and ensure it’s informing all aspects of space capability development, delivery and sustainment.  Space starts here, which means Space warfighting starts here too.”


Do you have a saying or mantra that you live by? Or anything else you’d like to add.

“It’s all about the people.  I talked about the mission and the standup of the USSF in the previous questions/answers, but none of that happens without the people.  I’m excited to be working with an SMC commander and PEO for Space who cares deeply about the people here and pushes authority down to the lowest levels.  We need to give you the resources, tools, authority, and space (no pun intended) to grow, learn, and lead.  I never cease to be amazed at the impossible problems that you all solve every day.”