Col. Keith W. Balts is the commander of the 30th Space Wing and Western Range at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The wing's forces conduct spacelift and range operations, and support operational and developmental missile system testing for the Department of Defense from the West Coast of the United States. Vandenberg Air Force Base is the only U.S. platform for polar orbit launches and the only location to conduct intercontinental ballistic missile testing without over-flying populated areas.

Balts received his commission as a distinguished graduate of Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps. He has served in various operational and staff positions involving satellite command and control, space control, missile warning, national reconnaissance and theater space operations. Balts has served at the squadron, numbered Air Force, major command and national agency levels. He commanded a space warning squadron and the Air Force's largest isolated installation within the continental U.S. He also served in the Combined Air Operations Centers for Operation Southern Watch and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Balts is a command space operator with qualifications in four satellite systems and two ground-based radars. Prior to assuming his current position, Balts was the Director of Space Forces, U.S. Air Forces Central Command, deployed to Southwest Asia.

1992 Bachelor of Science in mathematics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis. (Graduated with Distinction)
1996 Master of Engineering in Space Operations, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Colo.
1998 Squadron Officers School, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Ala. (Distinguished Graduate)
1998 United States Air Force Weapons School, Nellis AFB, Nev. (Academic Award)
2005 Master of Military Operational Art and Science, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
(Distinguished Graduate)
2007 Air War College, by correspondence, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2010 Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies, Naval War College, Newport, R.I. (Distinguished Graduate)
2011 Leadership Enhancement Program, Center for Creative Leadership, Greensboro, N.C.


1. November 1992 - March 1993, Student, Undergraduate Space Training, Lowry AFB, Colo.
2. March 1993 - September 1996, Satellite Operations Crew Commander, Instructor, Evaluator, and Chief of Upgrade Training, 1st Space Operations Squadron, Schriever AFB, Colo.
3. October 1996 - June 1997, Space Surveillance Crew Commander and Instructor, 19th Space Surveillance Squadron, Pirinclik AS, Turkey
4. July 1997 - January 1999, Deputy Flight Commander, 76th Space Operations Squadron, Schriever AFB, Colo.
(July 1998 - December 1998, Student, USAF Weapons School, Nellis AFB, Nev.)
5. January 1999 - February 2002, Chief of Space Operations, Central Command Air Forces, Shaw AFB, S.C.
(June 2000 - September 2000, Space Weapons and Tactics Officer, Combined Air Operations Center, Operation Southern Watch; September 2001 - November 2001, Chief of Space Plans, Combined Air Operations Center, Operation Enduring Freedom)
6. February 2002 - July 2004, Chief of Space Tactics Division, National Reconnaissance Office, Washington, D.C.
7. July 2004 - June 2005, Student, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
8. June 2005 - June 2007, Command Lead for Advanced Programs, HQ Air Force Space Command, Washington, D.C.
9. June 2007 - June 2009, Commander, 10th Space Warning Squadron, Cavalier AFS, N.D.
10. June 2009 - July 2010, Student, Naval War College, Newport, R.I.
11. August 2010 - May 2012, Vice Commander, 30th Space Wing, Vandenberg AFB, Calif.
12. May 2012 - May 2013, Director of Space Forces, U.S. Air Forces Central Command, Southwest Asia
13. May 2013 - July 2015, Commander, 30th Space Wing, Vandenberg AFB, Calif.

Command Space Badge
Certifications: Acquisitions Level II - Program Manager
Systems: Global Positioning System (GPS), Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP), Defense
Support Program (DSP), Technology for Autonomous Operational Survivability (TAOS),
Pirinclik Mechanical Tracking Radar, Perimeter Acquisition Radar Attack Characterization
System (PARCS), and Western Range Launch Decision Authority

Defense Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster
Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster
Air Force Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Joint Service Achievement Medal
Air Force Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster

Air Force Space Command, General Seth J. McKee Award
Air Force Association, Theodore von Karman Award
Director, Central Intelligence, National Intelligence Meritorious Unit Citation
Director, National Reconnaissance Office, Team Award
Distinguished Graduate, Joint Air Operations Staff Course
Distinguished Graduate, GPS Crew Commander Course

"The Next Evolution for Theater Space Organizations: Specializing for Space Control,"
Space Power Integration: Perspectives from Space Weapons Officers, Air University Press, 2006.
"Satellites and Remotely Piloted Aircraft: Two Remotely Operated Ships Passing in the Fight,"
Air and Space Power Journal, Air University Press, Fall 2010.

Second Lieutenant May 17, 1992
First Lieutenant Aug. 16, 1994
Captain Aug. 16, 1996
Major Mar. 1, 2003
Lieutenant Colonel Dec. 1, 2006
Colonel Oct. 1, 2010

(Current as of July 2015)