Christopher Scolese, nominated to serve as director of the National Reconnaissance Office, and Air Force Gen. John Raymond, nominated to command U.S. Space Command and Air Force Space Command, testify at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, June 4, 2019.
And witnesses we’re very familiar with in an area that is a very significant area. We do have two of our members that have come in for the purpose of introduction of the two and let’s go ahead and start. Senator Van Hollen, if you’d like to make your introduction, this would be a good time to do it.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and to the Ranking Member Reed, and to all the members of the Committee. It’s my honor to be with you this morning to introduce Chris Scolese, the nominee for the Director of the National Reconnaissance Office, known as NRO. And Mr. Chairman, while I cannot say that I am happy to see Mr. Scolese leave his current duties in the state of Maryland for NASA, I can say with great confidence that NRO would be very fortunate to have him as their Director. Since March 2012, Mr. Scolese has served as Director of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center which is located in Greenbelt, Maryland. We are proud of the work that he’s doing and his whole team at NASA Goddard on earth sciences and moving forward with the James Webb Telescope which will be the premier space observatory of the next decade. Mr. Scolese has worked in a variety of positions at Goddard, and before that at NASA Headquarters. Prior to joining NASA in 1987, he served as an officer in the United States Navy working on classified programs and worked as a civilian at the Defense Department and the General Research Corporation. He’s a recipient of many honors, I’m not gonna go through the whole list, but I can tell you that they include the very prestigious 2018 American Institute of Aeronautics and Aeronautics von Kármán Award. Mr. Scolese started early, he received the award many years ago from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Aeronautics National Capital Section, Young Engineer, Scientist of the Year Award. Between that early award the recent award, he’s received many other accolades and much recognition. He’s had experience managing organizations and developing space systems at NASA including over 100 space missions in earth orbit and beyond directly correlating to many of NRO’s missions. Ultimately, Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, I can say that Mr. Scolese is a devoted public servant. He sets a high bar for everybody serving in government. He’s the consummate professional and an experienced manager, and this committee can always rely on him to pursue the best interests of his agency and our country. Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member, members of the Committee, I highly recommend Mr. Scolese for the Director of the NRO and while we will miss him in Maryland, I have no doubt that the country will be well served by Mr. Scolese in his new position.
Well thank you very much, Senator Van Hollen and Dr. Scolese it doesn’t get any better than that. (all chuckle)
[Christopher] No, sir.
So we recognize now Senator Gardner for the purpose of an introduction.
Thank you, Chairman Inhofe. I thank you Ranking Member Reed as well and to the full committee for the opportunity to participate in this hearing today and to introduce General Raymond. It’s my honor to introduce a fellow Coloradan and my friend, General “Jay” Raymond as the nominee to lead U.S. Space Command as well as Air Force Space Command. Also welcome Molly and their great family here to the hearing today. No doubt these are critical roles supporting the defense of our nation and I am proud of the extensive military space operations that are being conducted in my home state of Colorado. General “Jay” Raymond is no stranger to this committee. For those in attendance who may not know, you cannot discuss space or space operations without relying upon the tremendous career of service and work by General Raymond. As the commander of Air Force Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, General Raymond is responsible for the organizing, training, equipping, and maintaining of over 26,000 mission-ready space forces to meet the operational needs of U.S. Strategic Command, North American Aerospace Defense Command, as well as combatant commands worldwide. This is of course, in addition to General Raymond’s role as the Joint Force Space Combatant Commander. General Raymond has answered our nation’s call many times. I have the greatest confidence in him as he does so once again to lead U.S. Space Command. As Congress moves forward with this discussion about the reorganization of military space operations, I cannot think of anyone more knowledgeable, better prepared, or more respected than General “Jay” Raymond to lead those efforts. I thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member for this opportunity to be here today.
Thank you very much, Senator Gardner and in fact both of you are welcome to stay here for opening statements if that’s your desire but if your schedule doesn’t permit, then we’d excuse you. Thank you very much for an excellent introduction. We are here today to consider the nomination of the two that’ve just been introduced and we thank both of you for being here today. I know that some of you have families here, we’d like to have you introduce your families at the appropriate time. And any other friends that you have brought with you. We have a room reserved for classified discussion if it becomes necessary, which I hope it doesn’t, we can adjourn to that room that will be down in the visitor’s center, 217. Now we have certain required questions to ask and so what I’d like to ask of each of you is to respond audibly so that we’ll have you on record. Have you– I’m speaking to both of you now– Have you adhered to applicable laws and regulations governing conflicts of interest?
[James] I heard one yes.
Oh good. Do you agree if confirmed, to appear and testify upon request before this committee?
Do you agree to provide documents including copies of electronic forms of communication in a timely manner when requested by a duly constituted committee, or to consult with the committee regarding the basis of any good faith delay or denial in providing such documents?
Will you ensure that your staff complies with the deadlines established for requested communications including questions for the record in hearings?
Will you cooperate and provide any witnesses and briefers in response to Congressional requests?
Will those witnesses be protected from reprisal for the testimony or briefings?
Have you assumed any duties or undertaken any actions which would appear to presume the outcome of the confirmation process?
The National Defense… The National Defense Strategy directs our national military to prepare for the return of great power competition. This means we must be prepared to deter and if necessary decisively defeat potential near-peer adversaries. Obviously we’re talking about China and Russia. (coughs) In order for the Department of Defense to achieve that goal, the U.S. Space Command must have forces to present that are trained and equipped appropriately. The Commander of U.S. Space Command will need to plan and execute global space operations as directed. As this is a newly established unified combatant command with an expansive area of operations, your interaction with the Intelligence Community including the National Reconnaissance Office will be vital in rebuilding and establishing space warfighting readiness. I urge you both to embrace collaboration. That means working with each other. We are at a serious risk of falling behind in our great power competition, but both of you can prevent that. We know that that isn’t confined to space, we know that there are problems out there that didn’t used to be there. There was a time when there was a presumption that what we had in America was always better than what “they”, whoever “they” happened to be at the time. That’s not true anymore. The Intelligence Authorization Act for fiscal year 2014 requires the Director of the National Reconnaissance Office be appointed by the President with advice and consent of the Senate. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence held a hearing for Dr. Scolese on the first of May and referred the nomination to the Armed Services Committee today. Now that’s all written in law that actually came through our NDAA of 2014 and so this is something that– First time that that application has taken place. Dr. Scolese, your duties and span of control of the NRO will be far-reaching. I was initially concerned with your public statement regarding the establishment of the United States Space Command and the possibility of integration and synchronization of the NRO and so we felt, sensed a little bit of turf creeping in which quite often does. So I’d like to know the reason, Dr. Scolese for making such a bold statement without knowing the details of the proposed organization or speaking against the integration of any intellectual community assets within the future Space Command. General Raymond, as you prepare to establish the U.S. Space Command, if confirmed, I would like to know if you believe that you have the resources and personnel and all that necessary to complete the job that is going to be assigned and the awesome responsibility that’ll be assigned to you. Senator Reed.
Well thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Let me join you in welcoming the nominees and also their families who serve with them, quite literally. General Raymond, you have been nominated to serve as a commander in the newly re-established United States Space Command. The last nomination for a commander of Space Command was General Eberhart in 1999. Before the command was disestablished in 2002. It has become very clear in the past few years that space is becoming not only increasingly important for our everyday lives but also a contested domain with the United States may be challenged by our adversaries. As a result, Congress authorized a sub-unified command last year, and the Committee believes that a full unified command is now appropriate. Dr. Scolese, you are nominated to be the Director of the National Reconnaissance Office or NRO, you are the first nominee for this position to appear before this committee under recent change in Senate rules, so welcome. You will add much to today’s discussion. General Raymond, you are nominated to be the commander of a joint command, conducting joint operations. Yet the overwhelming majority of personnel who work in space are members of the Air Force. I’m interested in how you will meet the joint mandate of the Goldwater-Nichols Act with almost all space activities occurring in one service. Dr. Scolese, the NRO is the servant of two masters. The Secretary of Defense and our military forces on the one hand, and the Director of National Intelligence and policymakers on the other. The NRO is also jointly staffed by DoD and the CIA. The NRO builds reconnaissance satellites but the requirements for them are set by mission partners and users. The NRO operates satellites but tasking decisions are made by NSA and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. We would like to hear how you plan to equitably meet the demands of both the Defense Department and the Intelligence Community as you carry out your duties. An issue that will be paramount for both of you is Space Command’s relationship with the NRO. The administration has proposed a Space Force and Unified Space Command because of the growing importance and contested nature of the space domain and need for elevated priorities, unified command structures, and integrated capability development. But NRO remains independent of the Space Command and Space Force, leaving a seam in our national security space. Both General Raymond and Mr. Scolese, I would be very interested in your views and how you plan to work together to overcome this seam, particularly as you look to the future where there may actually conflict in space. Another issue between Space Command and NRO is acquisition. 20 years ago, General Eberhart did not believe that space acquisition was adequately coordinated with NRO and unfortunately I believe the same problems may exist today. In fact, NRO recently opposed the plans of the proposed DoD Space Development Agency. I understand that NRO wants to continue its mission, to build reconnaissance satellites for the military, however, DoD’s leaders see an opportunity to solve pressing targeting and survivability challenges by embracing new commercial approaches to building very large constellations of smaller and far less expensive satellites. General Raymond and Dr. Scolese, once again, I’d be interested in your views in how you’ll ensure that DoD’s warfighter needs are met through innovative solutions while minimizing unnecessary duplication. Again, gentlemen, and your families, thank you for your willingness to serve the nation.
Excellent statement. We’ll now have opening statements by starting with you, Dr. Scolese and your entire statement, of course, will be made part of the record so you can be brief if you like. You’re recognized.
Thank you, sir. Chairman Inhofe, Ranking Member Reed, distinguished members of the Committee, I am honored to appear before you as the first Presidential appointee requiring Senate confirmation for the position of the Director of the National Reconnaissance Office. Additionally, I am very pleased to be here today with General Raymond as it is critical that the U.S. Space Command and NRO work closely together to assure the security for our country and our allies. I was privileged to meet with members of the Committee to hear your views and goals for the NRO. I would also like to thank the Committee staff as I know there is tremendous amount of preparation that goes into any confirmation hearing. I am honored to have been appointed– Nominated by the President. I am also grateful that acting Secretary of Defense Shanahan and Director of National Intelligence Coats have the trust and confidence in my ability to serve in this new capacity. If confirmed, I look forward to working with you and with the extraordinary women and men of the NRO. I am profoundly grateful to have my wife of 38 years, Diane with me here today. Our four children and their spouses and children were not able to be with us today due to prior commitments. Their unconditional support means the world to me. Additionally, I want to remember my parents, who passed away many years ago. My father was a typewriter repairman and my mother was a secretary. They encouraged my sister and me to go to college so that we could have more opportunities. I think about them daily. I was born and raised in Buffalo, New York; it was a wonderful place to grow up. As a teenager, I was inspired by the machines that made space exploration possible and spent a lot of time building rockets and electronic devices that led to me winning the Western New York Science Fair. That early passion set the trajectory for my career. A path that has led me to be here today as a nominee for the Director of the NRO. I am proud to have had 40 years of service in the nuclear Navy and at NASA. I have been fortunate to be involved with diverse systems such as nuclear submarines and spacecraft that have been instrumental in protecting our national security and advancing our knowledge of the earth and the universe. During the last three decades at NASA, I’ve held various positions involved in design, development, acquisition, launch, and operational space systems large and small, scaled to accomplish our mission. Under my leadership, Goddard Space Flight Center developed satellites and systems to meet the requirements for NASA and other organizations. I also ensured that the valuable lessons we learned were incorporated into plans that have resulted in improved performance on recent missions for NASA, NOAA and other partner organizations. The continued advance of technology provides an opportunity to maintain our national space advantage in an increasingly competitive and contested environment. The combination of commercial capabilities, technological advancements, collaboration with other organizations, and government-developed systems provides opportunities to expand the supplier base, improve performance, reduce cost, and enhance resiliency. An organization’s people are at the heart of its success. At NASA, I had the opportunity to lead and manage large and diverse workforces. Nothing can be accomplished without the talented women and men who are motivated to accomplish the mission. I am proud that Goddard was ranked as one of the best places to work in the Federal Government. If confirmed, I am committed to fostering an environment at the NRO that welcomes diverse views, invites new concepts, and energizes workforce every day. This includes recruiting, training, and retaining a world-class workforce allowing the NRO to provide premier space reconnaissance capabilities. In closing, the NRO is one of the fabled organizations of the space age. And the capabilities that it has provided have been instrumental in maintaining the United States strategic advantage. The NRO helps keep our country and the world safe from those who seek to do us harm. If confirmed, I look forward to working closely with this committee and the entire Congress to leverage our opportunities and address our challenges and to seek your support to ensure that the NRO continues developing and delivering critical intelligence to policymakers, warfighters, and intelligence analysts. If confirmed as Director, I will uphold the National Reconnaissance Office’s obligations to Congress and the American people. Chairman Inhofe, Ranking Member Reed, and distinguished members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today, I look forward to answering your questions.
Thank you Dr. Scolese. General Raymond.
Thank you. Chairman Inhofe, Ranking Member Reed, distinguished members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. It is truly an honor to be nominated by the President to lead United States Space Command and Air Force Space Command. I am also appreciative of the opportunity to testify with Dr. Scolese. Our being here together shows just how critical the relationship between the Department of Defense and the NRO is today and will be into the future. Chairman Inhofe, if it’s okay, I’d like to take a minute to introduce my family that are here with me today. I’m an extremely lucky man. I’m blessed with such a great and supporting family. First of all, my beautiful wife Molly. In a couple weeks we’ll celebrate our 32nd anniversary. Now, Molly has dedicated her life to taking care of two families; our family and then our Air Force and Joint family, and I’ll tell you she works tirelessly at looking after both. Seated next to Molly are our three children: Christina, Amy, and Gary. Christina and Amy just graduated a year ago from Iowa State and are both employed which is a great thing. (all chuckle) Christina is a marketing manager in Minneapolis, St. Paul in Minneapolis. And Amy is a third grade teacher in Des Moines, Iowa. Sitting next to them is their little brother Gary. (all chuckle) Gary is the youngest. Gary just finished his freshman year at Yale University where he is majoring in Economics and is a tight end for the Yale football team, #84, go Bulldogs. (all chuckle) Let me begin by thanking the President and the Secretary of Defense for nominating me for this position. I also want to thank the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Dunford for expressing his confidence in my ability to lead and serve as a combatant commander. If confirmed, I look forward to working closely with this committee and with Congress to address the complex challenges that we face as a nation. I’ll keep my comments brief ’cause I’m really looking forward to the questions. But first, let me just say there’s great alignment in our nation today that space is a warfighting domain, just like air, land, sea, and cyber. Our National Security Strategy reflects this and states that access to and freedom to maneuver in space is a vital national interest. With this alignment, and with the strong support of Congress, we have accelerated our efforts to meet the near-term imperatives of this warfighting domain. The scope, scale, and complexity of the threat to our space capabilities are real and are concerning. We no longer have the luxury of operating in a peaceful, benign domain and we no longer have the luxury of treating space superiority as a given. Although space is a warfighting domain, our goal is actually to deter a conflict from extending into space. The best way I know how to deter that is to be prepared to fight and win if deterrence were to fail. We are today, we’re the best in the world, and if confirmed, my job will be to make sure that that advantage continues well into the future. The source of our great strength are our Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers, and Marines. I am privileged to lead these great Americans. America’s sons and daughters who volunteer to serve their country in times of great need. I take this obligation– This responsibility very seriously and I will assure you that if confirmed, I pledge to continue to uphold this sacred trust to the upmost of my ability. I look forward to your questions.
Thank you very much. Dr. Scolese, in my opening statement, I was initially concerned with your public statements regarding the establishment of the United States Space Force and the responsibility of integration and synchronization of the NRO. The NRO has done such a good job for a long period of time and I respect that. But I’d like to know the reason for making that bold statement at that time. ‘Cause at that time I don’t think you knew the details of the proposed organization and what your feeling is at this time?
Senator, I believe that it’s critically important that the NRO collaborate and cooperate with all elements; particularly the newly-formed Space Command as part of the confirmation, General Raymond and I spoke together about what that would look like. General Raymond informed me that they have a great relationship between the NRO and the current Air Force Space Command. I look forward to continuing that relationship and making it stronger so that we can serve the nation better.
That’s good. That’s good. I would think also that the NRO has proven itself after some 15 plus years of dedication and mission force as an outstanding space system acquisition organization keeping the standards of excellence on track will be a challenge. So, Dr. Scolese, how will you keep the NRO on its continued path of excellence in designing and acquiring the system necessary for mission force? The reason I ask the question is that one reason, I think a driving reason behind the whole idea is to make sure that our allies and our adversaries, those around the world, know that we’re just as active and more active than our adversaries of China and Russia. I think it’s very important that they see that we are doing this in a coordinated, concerted effort. And do you have any response to that? Any way that– What’s your idea to keep ourselves ahead of the group?
It’s absolutely critical that we maintain our technological advantage over our adversaries. The NRO as I understand it has a responsibility for developing end-to-end systems for providing overhead reconnaissance and it’s critical that we demonstrate to the world that we are constantly evolving, developing our systems, and fusing new technologies, working with partners inside the government and outside the government, commercial industry to show that we have a resilient, an increasingly resilient and capable constellation of systems that can provide overhead reconnaissance.
Good, good. And that all of our adversaries and that everyone understand that. Understands that still in place. General Raymond, the specific AOR we’re talking about to space warfighting domain is an area surrounding the earth at altitudes equal to or greater than 100 kilometers, that’s 54 nautical miles above mean sea level. This is an established standard that’s where space begins. And when forces are deployed in another geographic combatant commander’s AOR, they will remain assigned to and under control of the commander of the U.S. Space Command unless otherwise directed. So General Raymond, given the expansive AOR you’ll be responsible for, how will you integrate and synchronize operations through and from the space warfighting domain, especially with other combatant commanders? Do you see any kind of a problem or competition with other combatant commanders that are out there?
Thank you for the question, Senator. Absolutely not on the competition. Now we have– Space is a physical warfighting domain. I think this recognition of an AOR in space supports that fact. One of the things that we’re doing with the stand up of U.S. Space Command and if confirmed, I will work very hard to do this; is to integrate more effectively with the geographic combatant commanders around the world. I think this elevation of the Joint Force Space Component Commander to a unified command actually helps that and if confirmed, one of the plans that we’ve got, that we’re working on is to put integrated planning elements at each of those combatant commands to allow for that seamless integration between U.S. Space Command and the other combatant commands.
Yeah, and I think both of you have articulated very well that point and that’s what all of us at this side of the table are wanting to see. To make sure that we know that everyone else knows we’re gonna do it better than our adversaries. Senator Reed.
Well, thank you very much to the Chairman. Gentlemen, thank you for your testimony. General Raymond, as I indicated in my opening statement, as the head of the new unified U.S. Space Command, you have to operate under the Goldwater-Nichols principles of integration yet the vast majority of your personnel are U.S. Air Force personnel. How do you plan to go about that?
Thank you. Goldwater-Nichols reorganizes, as you know Senator, the Department into two functions: an organize, train and equip function and a warfighting function. Today, I’m here to testify on kinda two hats. The first hat is an Air Force Space Command hat which is an organize, train and equip hat and the second hat is a U.S. Space Command hat which is in that warfighting hat. What I would say to you is that space– I am convinced that in the future, if we are gonna get into a conflict with a peer competitor, a (stutters) near-peer competitor, we’re gonna have to fight and win for space superiority. That’s gonna require the total force, that’s not just a space fight. That’s the full weight of the joint force: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines have to come together to do that and I’m confident that we’ve got Goldwater-Nichols just right and that this will feed that going forward.
Just a follow up, as part of that, you will be trying to integrate training exercises, perhaps virtual exercises initially, but ultimately physical exercises with other service components as part of a unified command?
Absolutely, we do that today, and we’ll continue to do that in the future.
[Jack] Thank you.
We do that today under the U.S. Strategic Command, Unified Command.
All right, good. Thank you sir. And Dr. Scolese in your response to the Committee’s APQs, you said operational decisions on space defense and space control issues affecting NRO’s satellites should be made not by the commander of U.S. Space Command, but by the NRO Director, even during an actual conflict. General Raymond, I believe provided us a different answer stating that he can see a time when we’ll need to change the current status quo so, can you two both, beginning with Dr. Scolese, clarify where we have to head to have a coordinated response particularly in a conflict situation?
I believe it’s absolutely imperative that we work together. And that we train and work together so that when we do end up in a conflict situation, that we know how we’re gonna operate and we know who is gonna operate and that we have to simply do that together. So I’m committed, if confirmed, to working with General Raymond and U.S. Space Command to make sure that we have a coordinated effort, understand what each other’s roles and responsibilities are, and execute them effectively, dependent on the particular situation that we’re involved in.
Typically, at some point, particularly in a stressful period of time, someone has to have the last word. Because you can coordinate as much as you want, but there might be difference of opinion. Do you maintain that NRO Director should have the last word in terms of deployment at all times?
I think it depends on the situation so I would not say at all times. I think it depends very much on the situation that you’re involved in.
General Raymond, your comments.
Thank you. The UCP change that establishes the missions for U.S. Space Command is pretty clear, it states that protecting and defending U.S. and as directed, allied partner and commercial space capabilities is the responsibility of U.S. Space Command Commander. Today, we work very closely, very closely with the NRO. The relationship has never been better. And today, on a day-to-day effort, we operate at what we call unity of effort. I am convinced that as we stress this and as we go forward to higher states of readiness and the exercises– In your previous question, that we need to make sure that that unity of effort is the proper relationship at that level to be able to protect and defend those capabilities. SPD-4, the Space Policy Directive-4, directs the departments to come back together with recommendations and we’ll test that and bring that back as part of the SPD-4 process.
I have very few seconds remaining but, 20 years ago, General Eberhart commented that he didn’t think the acquisition process was well coordinated between NRO and Space Command at the time. I eluded to in my opening statement the proposals by DoD to acquire commercial satellites and to put up a whole constellation of these relatively inexpensive (mumbles). The NRO opposed, I think, that proposal. This might be something we’ll have further conversations on but, General Raymond, do you see your role being able to develop and launch satellites in cooperation with, but not exclusively through NRO?
I do and we’ve actually made some progress on this in the last couple years. We had a satellite program that we were gonna launch from the Air Force in my current Air Force hat. It was a follow on to a space surveillance satellite. And it turned out when we did the analysis that that satellite wasn’t going to meet our mission needs. NRO had a satellite that they were building that when we did the analysis said that’s exactly what we need. So we canceled that program and partnered with the NRO and combined efforts to be able to do that, getting a capability on orbit faster for a better value for the American taxpayer so, if confirmed, I will continue that effort. I think there’s great partnership to be had and we need to leverage each other’s capabilities depending on the capability that we’re developing.
But there may be occasions where DoD satellite programs would be more effective for the warfighter than– And if you felt that way you would try to insist upon it?
I would insist on a great working relationship. What I have learned in my current position over the last two and a half years, that when the Air Force and the NRO come in lock step, we’re hard to beat, and when we come in separated, we don’t do as well.
Yeah. Finally for the record, I’m gonna give you a chance, you got a shout out for the Bulldogs, don’t we owe one to the Cyclones?
[Jack] Thank you. (all chuckle)
[James] Thank you Senator Reed. Senator–
Can I give a shout out to Clemson Tigers too? ‘Cause that’s where I went. (all chuckle)
[James] Senator Cotton.
Gentlemen, thank you for your appearance and congratulations on your nomination. General Raymond, I wanna go back to a couple comments you made in your opening statement. You said that we can no longer assume that space will be a peaceful and benign domain. You further said that we can no longer take for granted space superiority. Let me ask you a basic question, I think a lot of Americans who hear this testimony would answer– or would ask. How did this happen? How did we get to this point?
We’re the best in the world at space since some refer to Desert Storm as the first space war. It’s the first war where we took space capabilities and integrated them into the fight. My whole career, basically my whole career, has been spent integrating those space capabilities. They provide our nation great advantage, they provide our joint warfighters great advantage, there’s nothing that we do as a joint warfight that isn’t enabled by space. Unfortunately, our adversaries have had a front row seat into our many successes and have seen the advantages that they provide us and to be honest, they don’t like what they see. And they’re rapidly developing capabilities to negate our use of space and to negate the advantage that space provides.
We talk about near-peer competitors and you just said our adversaries, but we live in a world with nations. And those nations have names and they live in specific places. What are those countries that have made these strides over the last 30 years?
There’s a full spectrum of counter-space capabilities everything from low-end reversible jamming to high-end direct ascent ASATs. The low-end reversible jamming piece is spread out about a few more nations, but the really concerning nations that have the ability to kinetically destroy our satellites would be Russia and China.
Is it fair to say that China in particular looked at what we did in 1991, massing troops for several months on the border of what was then the country of the world’s fourth largest army using space and information technology and said, “We will never let that happen to us”?
I think it’s fair to say that China has been watching and understands how we integrate space to a great effect.
You talk a little bit about the capabilities there. Could you just explain, kinda plain language, what those capabilities are? What their space weapons, to put it in plain language, would be?
I will put it in plain language and in a closed hearing I can go into a lot more detail. But everything from reversible jamming of GPS satellites that our nation relies on and our joint force relies on, communication satellites, our ability to communicate across vast distances, they can jam those communication satellites. They have the ability that is demonstrated by China in 2007 to launch a missile from the ground and destroy one of their own satellites, it blew that satellite up into about 3,000 pieces of debris. There’s also concerning activities on orbit. And there’s also directed energy threats. So, there’s a full spectrum of threats and I’ll tell you the scope, scale, and complexity of those threats are alive and well.
Can you say more about what you mean by concerning activities on orbit?
I prefer to do that in a closed hearing.
Directed energy, that’s a fancy term for lasers?
[John] Yes, sir.
Sounds pretty dire, like a pretty dire threat.
It is a threat that is concerning and that’s why this committee’s work to determine– And I appreciate the focus on this committee that you’ve put onto this issue. It’s really important that we make some changes to stay ahead of that growing threat. I’m comfortable today. I’m comfortable we’re the best in the world. But we need to move fast and with your support, we’re gonna get there.
Thank you. I ask you those questions not because this committee is not aware of them, but I know that there are other Senators who may not be, certainly a lot of the American public who doesn’t recognize just how serious the threat is from China in particular, but also Russia in space and that every single Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, and Coast Guardmen on the ground or in the air depends on our space superiority. Dr. Scolese, I’ve gotta turn to you here towards the end of my time. At NASA you’ve been a proponent of inserting a lot of cutting edge commercial technology into programs. Could you talk a little bit about your experience in doing so and assess the risks and benefits of building partnerships with private industry to accomplish the NRO’s mission and to the extent you see those risks, what you can do to mitigate them?
Certainly. I see principally benefits. The commercial sector is developing some technologies and adopting some technologies that will allow us to bring to bear capabilities that can fill gaps, improve our resiliency, by providing similar information if it’s (stutters) needed. At the same time, I think that commercial, we’ve seen has given us an opportunity also to lower the cost. We have been very successful in buying I’ll call it off-the-shelf spacecraft, there is no real such thing as off-the-shelf spacecraft, but spacecraft developed by the commercial industry that have proven to be very effective in terms of performance and therefore has reduced the cost of our systems and reduced the time to delivery so that the government can focus on the exquisite instruments that are needed to go off and measure whether it’s space activities or ground activities on Earth. At the same time we have to recognize that there are challenges. We have to understand where the supplier base is, that intellectual property is being protected, and that the information that we provide is protected in a useful way. It can all be done very effectively with a good acquisition process that I believe NASA has and the NRO has as well.
Thank you gentlemen.
[James] Thank you, Senator Cotton. Senator King.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. You two gentlemen have spoken repeatedly this morning about coordination, cooperation, working together, good relationship. Could you go a little bit further and characterize the relationship? Is it vendor-customer? How responsive is NRO to the needs of the Department of Defense? I want a little more specificity about how this actually works. Are there weekly meetings? And to reprise one of Senator Reed’s questions, what happens if there’s a disagreement? Dr. Scolese?
If confirmed, I’ll certainly look into the specific details. My understanding right now is that the relationship as General Raymond has mentioned is very good and getting better. It’s coord–
But I wanna know what that really means. You gotta give me more than that. Is it weekly telephone conversations? Is it exchanges of memos? Telling me that the relationship is good doesn’t tell me how it really works.
If confirmed, I’ll get the absolute details of it. My understanding right now is that there are regular meetings. I don’t know the specific frequency of those meetings. But–
Do you view the Department of Defense as your customer?
Do you view the Department of Defense as one of your customers?
Absolutely. The NRO is responsive to the needs of the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community. That effort is, the tasking and the requirements come from the functional managers from other agencies, the CIA, the National Geospatial Imaging Agency, the National Security agency and others to develop those requirements. They’re worked collaboratively to understand what can and can’t be accomplished. And then move out and either develop the system or implement the taskings as agreed to through those activities. Further, there’s other activities that I’m aware of where NASA participates with the NRO and the Air Force and the Department of Defense where we all work together to understand the supplier base, the utilization of the ranges, launch vehicle procurement and operation, those happen regularly, typically two or three times a year to have those meetings. So there’s a lot of coordination that goes on as just part of the natural system that I’m aware of.
Well my second question was gonna be about if we’re trying to unify and consolidate and rationalize the space enterprise, why not just fold NRO in? But I think in part, you answered it in your prior answer. You have other customers.
[Christopher] Yes, sir.
You have the CIA, you have the Intelligence Community. You have to work with NASA. General Raymond, your thoughts about number one, how the relationship actually works and number two, whether you’re satisfied with NRO as your vendor?
We’re completely integrated. It’s not a relationship, like, “let’s have a meeting.” We operate in the same operations center, we talk routinely every second of the day. Over the last couple of years, we’ve built a strategy, we co-sign between us and the NRO, we built concept of operations that we’ve co-signed between us and the NRO. We share programs, we share organizations–
Have there been cases where you’ve requested a capability and NRO says, “no we can’t do that” or, “we won’t do that” or “we can’t afford it” or that?
In my experience in my current role as the Air Force Space Command Commander and the Joint Force Space Component Command Commander, I have not experienced that.
I think that’s important. And to me, that speaks to the fact that there really is a relationship.
It’s the best it’s ever been. But I’ll tell ya Senator, if confirmed, I will commit to this as good as it is, it needs to continue to get better. And I look forward to working with Dr. Scolese if we’re both confirmed in these positions. It’s nationally critical. We have to come in as a united front here.
And it’s critical not only in terms of the Department of Defense and the Space Command, but it’s also critical in terms of the relationship with the Intelligence Community because that’s part of the essence of what these satellites provide is that correct, Dr. Scolese?
[Christopher] Yes, sir.
I’m tempted to ask as my last question, what was Hyman Rickover really like?
I understand you worked with him early in your career.
I did, indeed. Yes, he selected me for the nuclear Navy. He was an Admiral, I was an ensign. So you can imagine, he was a legend, I wasn’t. So you can imagine the relationship but he was a great person to work for, I’d be glad to share some stories with you sir when we have some time.
I would like to know what lessons were learned by one of the giants of our military history. Thank you very much, gentlemen. Thank you for your service. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[James] Thank you, Senator King, Senator Scott.
First, thanks to each of you for your service. What experience have you had where China is stealing intellectual property? Is that happening constantly, are we able to stop it? What’s been your experience?
Sir, it’s my experience is that China is stealing our property. (stutters) My thoughts are this is a national imperative that we do something to stop this. We are ceding our operational advantage if we don’t. In my current job, I have put together a strategy with my team to try to stem the tide of that, reduce the targeting footprint if you will, putting it in joint warfighting terms, making sure that our contracts have the right languages in to make sure that we have the right protections in place. And then there’s some other things that I would talk to you in a closed hearing about, but it is of great importance to our nation that we address this.
So they’re constantly doin’ it?
That would be my answer, yes, sir.
So, when I joined the Navy, probably the first thing they kept telling me as a E-1 was the chain of command. And you really feel like between the NRO and the U.S. Space Command, there’s really, somebody’s in charge? And so that there’s no ifs ands or buts about it, somebody knows who’s gonna be responsible?
My experience, again I’m not in the NRO right now, but from NASA is, in a unity of effort, it’s very important to work closely together and understand what each organization’s responsibilities are and depending on the situation, knowing who takes the lead in that particular activity and it comes from lots and lots of training. We do that regularly at NASA. Most of our stuff is unity of effort as we work with other organizations including the Air Force and the NRO but also universities and other countries to go off and take advantage of their capabilities so that we can enhance our capabilities and their capabilities. And I’ve found that the training, understanding, as General Raymond mentioned earlier, constant integration and working together to make sure that we understand those. And it’s proven to be effective.
Do you feel the same way, General?
The way I describe it, Senator, is there’s kinda two circles, the NRO has their mission set, and we have our mission set and the threat is bringing those circles together and that overlap of protect and defend we know exactly, we have a CONOPS on how we’re gonna operate, we have an organization jointly-manned that focuses on that. We exercise together, we train together, we war game together, and I’m comfortable today. But I would tell ya as I mentioned to the Committee before, we need to continue to stress it. We need to continue to exercise this at higher states of readiness and to make sure that that works. And I’m committed, if confirmed, to continue that and work very closely with my leadership, with the National Reconnaissance Office and with this committee to make sure that we have that right going forward.
Do you guys feel comfortable if both of you are confirmed, that you know exactly what your responsibility is so at the end of 12 months you can say whether you succeeded or not?
[Christopher] I believe so.
I’m very confident in that, Senator.
Okay. And do you believe that Congress is giving you all the tools you need and the direction you need to be able to fulfill your mission?
To the best of my understanding, yes.
Senator, over the last– With the support of Congress over the last three years, we have seen significant budget increases focused on space, I appreciate it, it’s an imperative that we get this right, and I’m comfortable that I’ve got the resources, that we’ve got the resources we need to protect and defend these critical capabilities.
Thanks both of you for your service.
[Christopher] Thank you.
[James] Thank you, Senator Scott. Senator Peters.
Thank you Mr. Chairman, and to both of you, appreciate your service. General Raymond, when this committee held a hearing in April to consider the creation of the U.S. Space Force, I expressed some concerns to General Dunford that I had regarding the creation of the Space Force and that it would consolidate all space equities basically into a single force provider. And like Senator Reed, I certainly wanna ensure the integrity and the principles of Goldwater-Nichols and that they are preserved and that the force provider and combatant command work together to foster a joint environment which is absolutely critical. And while the Air Force has a preponderance of space equities, it is important to remember that the U.S. Army is the largest user of space capabilities and needs the understanding of all of the services are something that’s gonna be very important to your work going forward. During the hearing, General Dunford responded to my question by saying and I think this is quote, “I think it’s imperative on the joint force “to make sure that in force development, force design, “and command and control, and on our planning, “we leverage that diversity “that each of our services bring.” So if confirmed, my question for you General Raymond, specifically how will you design and develop your force structure plan to leverage space equities from each of the services and specifically how would a potential Space Force impact the planning that you’re gonna be doing?
First of all, space is joint warfighting business. You have to have joint integration. We have that today (stuttering) with U.S. Space Command, which is the command I’ve been nominated for. We will have service components, Army, Navy, and Air Force and Marines service components will be part of that. They have operators in each one of those services, they develop capabilities that are integral to their service, they develop warfighters that understand how to take the space capabilities that other services operate and integrate them into great effect. And my view is that with the stand up of U.S. Space Command, you actually strengthen the joint requirement’s hand of the commander and if confirmed for that position, my role in joint requirements would be elevated and would be very instrumental in ensuring that joint integration. We can’t win this fight without the full joint team.
General Raymond, I’d also like to ask a question about doctrine. The space domain has traditionally provided logistical support for other domains such as GPS and surveillance, as you’re well aware. But our strategic vision of space has certainly evolved a great deal due to great power competition. So, I’m interested to hear how you plan to approach this shift in mindset and prepare our space assets for a more tactical role in warfare. So the question is, what is your underlying warfighting– or what is, I should say, the underlying warfighting doctrine for how we plan to operate in space, given this new environment?
I agree with your (stutters) question up front that historically we’ve been operating in a benign domain and that the doctrine that we have today, or that we had today over the past years has all been about providing services in a benign environment to the joint warfighter in our nation. That’s no longer good enough. So under U.S. Strategic Command’s leadership, who was the combatant commander that they were responsible for space, we have worked to revise that doctrine to get after the warfighting aspect of it. It’s no longer good enough just to launch a satellite, get it on orbit, and work the integration piece. You have to be able to protect and defend it and you have to be able to fight it. And that requires a different doctrine that’s being developed today and if confirmed as the U.S. Space Command Commander, our command would be working that and continuing to mature that going forward.
That’s a work in progress, but one that you need to focus on, clearly.
[John] Yes, sir.
How should the U.S. Space Command coordinate with allies as other combatant commanders do now?
Sir, allied partnerships are critical for space. Historically, we haven’t had to worry about that as much because it was a benign, peaceful domain. That’s not the case today. And so we’re working really, really hard to develop those partnerships. We have over this past year we’ve transitioned our C2 center from a joint operations center to a combined space operations center where we have allies on the operations floor with us. We’ve increased the training opportunities for allied partners. We train, we exercise, and we war game together. This is a– And we have worked some acquisition partnerships where we’re putting hosted payloads on allied satellites to provide capability faster and cheaper to the warfighters and to our nation. So, that’s a big emphasis area. I am extremely pleased with the advances that we’ve made, but we’re still a lot of work to do.
Right, thank you.
[John] Thank you.
[James] Thank you, Senator Peters. Senator Hawley.
Thank you Mr. Chairman. Thank you gentlemen for being here. Congratulations on your nominations. General Raymond, let me just start with you and let me pick back up where Senator Peters was just asking or where he started at least, about conflict in space and about the operational concepts for that. As you develop those operational concepts, in light of the National Defense Strategy– Actually, let me just ask that question. I assume that operational concepts for conflict in space will be developed in light of the National Defense Strategy and the priorities placed thereupon great power competition, particularly with China, is that accurate? Is that fair to say?
As you do that, how will SPACECOM ensure that it is facilitating and not inhibiting joint cross-domain concept development?
I think it actually facilitates. I think if you look at what the role of a combatant commander with the elevation to a combatant commander that’s singularly focused on space domain, not treating it as a second or third priority, but singularly focused. And elevating that to combatant command level provides the opportunity to influence joint requirements, influence joint doctrine, influence joint CONOPS, and I think that’s one of the strengths of standing up this U.S. Space Command.
Let me ask you more specifically, the Department of Defense’s Indo-Pacific Strategy Report was released last Friday and it refers a number of times to the fait accompli scenario and in particular, it calls at the most pressing, the most stressing, rather, potential scenario that’s likely to confront the joint force if an adversary does choose to use force to advance strategic ends. What unique stresses or requirements would you expect an attempted fait accompli to impose on our space forces and how would you plan to ensure those forces are postured appropriately to address that kind of a threat?
I think it is clear, Senator that China has, in the case of the Pacific, has observed how we go about integrating space into joint operations. And there’s nothing that we do today, anything in the Pacific region from humanitarian assistance to higher-end conflict that isn’t enabled by space. Historically, we haven’t had to worry about protecting those capabilities. That’s not good enough today. We are working very closely today through U.S. Strategic Command and Indo-PACOM to do planning together, exercising together, and making sure that we provide as a supported commander to Indo-PACOM the capabilities that they need and if confirmed in this job, that will be the role of U.S. Space Command as well to continue working with Indo-PACOM and towards that end.
Pretty good. Let me ask you about satellites. They obviously play a crucial role in our nuclear deterrent. Provide, of course, a range of functions from early warning to command and control. If you’re confirmed, how would you plan to coordinate with STRATCOM to ensure our nuclear forces maintain access to those functions?
U.S. Space Command and U.S. Strategic Command will have a strong partnership from the day this command is established out into the future. Especially early on as we establish this command. This command will be reliant on capabilities from U.S. Strategic Command as the command builds from establishment to IOC. I think space capability as talking about deterrence provides additional deterrence options to change the fundamental deterrence calculus of denying benefits and imposing costs. I view that deterrence calculus and that conversation will require very strong consultation with U.S. Strategic Command and every single combatant commander in our nation has a UCP mission for deterrence and that integration of those into 21st century deterrence is gonna be critical.
Can you just say something more, General, about the deterrent role and what in particular you bring to the table on that? I mean, how do you see your role there in ensuring that deterrent?
If confirmed as the U.S. Space Command Commander, my role will be to carry out the UCP missions that the President has assigned. Those missions include making sure that I can protect and defend those capabilities. If we can do that, and we will, we can do that today and we’ll do that in the future if confirmed, that in itself can help change the calculus of an adversary.
Let me just ask you still on the topic of satellites, but thinking now about cyber attacks, we know that even though satellites are located obviously physically in space, they are vulnerable to cyber attacks through ground control networks or nodes. How do you plan to coordinate with CYBERCOM to deter or respond to a potential cyber attack?
Protecting and defending space requires you to protect the space asset, the ground asset, and the link in between. And so the relationship between U.S. Space Command and U.S. Cyber Command will be critical. We’re planning to embed an integrated planning element at U.S. Cyber Command to make sure that we can work very closely on the cyber defenses for space. And if confirmed, I will pledge I’ll work extremely closely with General Nakasone towards that as we move forward.
[Josh] Very good. Thank you General, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[James] Thank you Senator Hawley, Senator Shaheen.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And Dr. Scolese and General Raymond, congratulations to both of you on your nominations and thank you for your willingness to continue to serve and to your families for that willingness. Dr. Scolese, under your watch at NASA, you have seen two very large, complex programs balloon out of control for both cost and schedule. The National Polar- (stutters) orbiting Environmental Satellite System or NPOESS and the James Webb Space Telescope. Now, eventually, NPOESS was dissolved and the Joint Polar Satellite System is now providing operational weather information. But Webb’s development cost is now $8.8 billion and it won’t be launched until 2021. So can you talk about what lessons you’ve learned from that, both of those experiences and how you can share some of what you’ve learned in this new role and whether there are any lessons for NASA that you think we should be looking at as you transition to a new position?
Certainly, Senator. In fact, one of the things that I did when I was the Chief Engineer at NASA was to go off and look in detail as to what was causing cost overruns and delays. Unfortunately, both JWST and NPOESS were programs that had started well before I had started that study. When we completed it, we had developed nine guidelines, if you will, strong lessons learned that we’ve employed on various programs. Partially on the JPSS program, and partially on the James Webb Space Telescope. But entirely on programs that started after 2010. Our success on those programs has been very good. The recent GAO report even recognizes that the programs after about 2010-2011 have come in on cost and on schedule. Some of the things that we had determined that were absolutely critical and we brought forward is a clear understanding of the requirements and the capabilities of the systems and getting in agreement early on with the requirements organization and the developing organization as to what can be done–
I’m gonna run out of time, but what I would like to do is submit some questions for the record relative to this so that you can answer those and I can get a little more information. But one corollary is whether– I know that some of the questions or the problems were due in part to poor workmanship on the James Webb and so one question that I have is, to what extent is the workforce prepared to do the job that we’re asking them to do on some of these NASA programs?
Some of those–
[Jeanne] And space programs?
Understand, yes. It is something that we’re concerned about and it’s something that we have deployed more people into the facilities, we’ve worked with the companies to make sure that the proper training is being applied and we’re applying that in our contractual mechanisms as well as in our oversight mechanisms. And at the same time, since we at the Goddard Space Flight Center build things, we’re looking at our training programs and our qualification programs to assure that we have a highly trained and capable workforce.
Well, thank you. I think this is gonna be a challenge as we look at setting up a new Space Force as well so we need to think about what lessons we’ve learned and how to do it better as we look at the future. General Raymond, as you know, our states are at the tip of the spear in terms of responding to disasters, whether they’re natural or manmade. And we rely on the National Guard to help us in addressing that just as our military has increasingly relied on the Guard for the last decade. So, a number of those states have Guard units, 16 of them that currently perform space missions in 8 states. I was pleased that the Committee-approved NDAA acknowledges that the National Guard will have a role in the Space Force and I wonder if you can talk about how important it is for us to ensure that the Guard has a role in the new Space Force?
It’s extremely important. Today in my current hat, in Air Force Space Command and as the Joint Force Space Component Command we rely as you said, Senator, very heavily on both the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve Forces. That’s gonna continue into the future. They operate really critical capabilities, they provide a capacity, a resource capacity as well and we’re gonna be relying on them for years into the future. We’re seamlessly integrated.
Thank you. And, well, I’m out of time. So, I will ask you this again, but, about the challenges of how we actually implement that in a way that’s effective.
[James] Thank you, Senator Shaheen. Senator Blackburn.
Thank you Mr. Chairman and thank you to each of you for being here and congratulations to you on your nominations and your careers. It’s always wonderful to see your families when they come in to be with you during this. I’m pleased that Senator Shaheen mentioned the acquisitions and procurement process. Dr. Scolese, you and I had a great conversation about this yesterday and the importance of changing some of those protocols. I will pick up right where she left off because I think it’s important to inform the record of how you would use some of your experiences and the team process that you developed on looking at acquisitions to have a broader effect, if you will, on Space Force. So if you want to elaborate for just a few seconds on that, I think it would be helpful to the record.
Yes, Senator. One of the things that we do at the Goddard Space Flight Center is we have end-to-end responsibility from the development of the concept to the end of life of the mission. That affords us an opportunity to create teams that can look across the spectrum and find the best way to achieve the mission in terms of achieving the requirements that are desired and in meeting the cost and schedule goals. I believe bringing that concept, which is largely there at there NRO from my experience in working with the NRO, and the lessons that we’ve learned working on multiple different spacecraft and designs can help us further improve the acquisition process.
I appreciate that and I think looking for those efficiencies, those streamlinings and of course, helping these projects come in on time and either on or under budget is important to the process because it enables us to do more and to speed some of the R&D that is languishing and needs to be done. We also discussed robotics and the utilization of robotics for satellite maintenance. Some of your lessons that have been learned from dealing with off shore oil wells. To inform the record I wish you would speak for a moment about those.
Certainly. We have used robotics at NASA for a variety of activities from building the Space Station to servicing the Hubble Space Telescope. I guess I should say the other way around. From servicing the Hubble Space Telescope to building the Space Station. And it’s been very successful but it’s been a collaboration between humans and robotics. We’re now looking at using purely robotic systems to go off and do that and it worked with industry to transfer that technology which is developing a commercial capability that we’re very pleased to see and at the same time we’re advancing that capability to assure that the United States stays in the lead in robotics and space robotics in particular.
Well and keeping that lead whether it is dealing with the robotics and the maintenance or looking at… Space Command. General Raymond, I wanna come with you on this because as we consider those components, the robotics, as we consider the development of Space Command, the linkage and interoperability that is going to be necessary with CYBERCOM, as you well said, Earth, space, and the link between and keeping that secure. We need to look at recruitment and retention and sustainability. And we have in Tennessee, the Arnold Engineering and Development Complex. We’ve discussed this issue of retention and recruitment with them so General Raymond, tell me what you’re going to do first and foremost to make certain that we are not only retaining talent and continuing to train talent, but recruiting talent.
Yes, thank you, Senator, that’s a great question. I think that over the last couple years the focus discussion and the national interest on space has really elevated the conversation and has really– We have people knocking on our door wanting to come work for us. They see great excitement. You have, and this is a bad term to use in the space business, but an explosion of commercial space capabilities that are being developed and they’re excited about it. And so, I am not concerned today with being able to recruit. In fact I see–
I see the trend going in a very positive direction.
Awesome, we hope you keep that up. I noted some of the media coverage this weekend with Operation Rocket. Which some of the college students had gathered in Tennessee, Mr. Chairman and they were trying to get a rocket up and off the ground and I like seeing that ingenuity and that curiosity at work. I thank you both and I yield my time.
[James] Thank you, Senator Blackburn. Very explosive questions. (all chuckle) Senator Jones.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity here. General Raymond I gotta be honest with you, you were rolling good roll with me until you mentioned Clemson! (all chuckle) It happens every time when I get a Clemson graduate. But that’s okay, I understand. I’ve had my share of shout outs. Thank you so much to both of you for your service. I really appreciate it and your testimony. General Raymond, I do wanna follow up a little bit with what Senator Shaheen talked about with the Guard units as you are, sure are aware especially having spent so much time down at Maxwell Air Force Base we’ve got some Guard and Reserve units in Alabama that are doing some critical space missions and in October you issued a memo about prioritized Air Force Reserve Components in which you indicated a desire to allocate space control squadrons into the Guard. Can you just elaborate a little bit on that and what your plans might be for those Guard units, kind of incorporating what– Just kind of following up more information what Senator Shaheen said.
So in my current role as the Air Force Space Command Commander and the Joint Force Space Component Command Commander, we operate space control capabilities. On the active duty side, they’re very limited in numbers. So we were seeking to increase the capacity, I think it’s a perfect mission for the Guard to do. We’ve expanded that mission set to four different Air National Guard squadrons today over this past year and as we… And this is one of the benefits I’ve had again, elevating space to a unified combatant command is we develop those requirements for those capabilities with our geographic combatant command partners and we look to build capacity. I think there’s more room to be– That there’ll be more requirements that the Guard will be able to operate.
All right. As this… The whole Space Command gels, so to speak, you’re gonna have to– You’ll be looking at headquarters and different things. What’s the requirements, what criteria are you looking at for a permanent establishment of the Space Command Headquarters? What criteria?
Yes, sir. As you look at the planning that STRATCOM has led for the establishment of this command, there’s really four big missionaries that the command will be focused on; four priorities up front. And obviously, we’ll work with the chain of command, if confirmed and with this committee to help shape those priorities. But the four priorities going into it would be to deter… Deterrence, we don’t wanna get into a fight that extends into space. To be able to deliver, to deliver capabilities to the joint warfighter, to be able to defend, and protect and defend those capabilities, and then to be able to develop warfighters. And that developing warfighters is a two-part challenge. You have to develop a space warfighting ethos in our space operators and you have to develop with what you and I might consider more well-established joint warfighters but also have an understanding of space. And so those four areas is how this command would be designed to get after those, principally those four priorities up front.
All right. Thank you, General. Dr. Scolese, I take it that you are a believer that the NRO should stay separate from and independent from other space entities like Space Force. Would that be correct?
Yes, sir. I follow what’s in SPD-4 at this stage of the game and recognize that there’s a 180-day study that’s ongoing that’s gonna talk, or, develop a better understanding of what that relationship needs to be.
All right, from your perspective, are there– Obviously intelligence plays a unique role, but are there other reasons, as you sit here today, that you believe it’s important why the NRO should maintain– while having a great relationship which is critical but also an independent relationship from the Space Command?
Certainly the role of the NRO is to develop and acquire systems for others to use the results from. And I believe that if confirmed, one of the best ways to do that is to have several organizations that are developing capabilities and technology so that we can achieve the best for the nation, but that requires close coordination to assure that there isn’t duplication and that we’re taking advantage of each other’s capabilities. So, in addition to the multiple organizations that the NRO supports, I think (stutters) the independence and the ability to coordinate with other organizations is also critical.
All right. Well, great. Thank you, thank you both for your service and congratulations. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[James] Thank you Senator Jones, Senator Tillis.
General Raymond, thank you for being here. Mr. Scolese, you as well, thank you for your continuing service. General Raymond, the– It was about a month and a half, maybe two months ago that General Dunford did a, I think a good job of describing what we’re trying to do with almost creating an analog within the Air Force similar to what we have with the Marines and the Navy. Do you think that that’s an interim step towards a completely separate force, or do you think that that’s the best direction to take this focus on the space domain?
On the (stutters) Excuse me. On the topic of the Space Force, I am very comfortable and I appreciate very much the diligence that this committee has put on this topic it’s of extreme importance to our nation. I feel it’s absolutely the right thing to do to stand up, establish a Space Force and I absolutely think it’s the right thing to do to establish that underneath the Department of the Air Force. I think it helps reduce the bureaucracy that would be required if you went separate.
What about the sort of organizational rationalization that we need to do? It’s not like we’re not paying attention to space. Now, you mentioned in your opening comments that you feel like we’re in a superior position although, I personally believe that the gap is narrowing. So it’s not like we’re not paying attention to that domain, it’s just embedded in various other agencies and areas within DoD. So as a part of standing that up, how much work do we have to do to rationalize tasks that may be completed elsewhere that need to be consolidated under that entity?
I think one of the things that General Dunford talked about when he was here on the 11th of April was that singularity of focus. I think that’s really important that you have a commander that comes to work every day focused on that domain. I think if you look at Goldwater-Nichols and the two functions; the function that I’m here for today as a U.S. Space Command, but on a Space Force side, that’s the organize, train, and equip. And I think singularity of focus for both of those functions will be important.
Now on the command that you’re taking control of– You don’t necessarily need to respond to this question, just more or less take it on as a part of your mission. You’re running a large, complex operation that develops and acquires sophisticated tools for you to complete your job. I hope that you’ll spend, while you’re trying to figure out the best capabilities for us to maintain our position of superiority, I hope you’ll spend a lot of time on the plumbing, the acquisition processes, the prototyping processes, the timelines that we need to field these capabilities so that we drive cost out of the administrative processes so that we can put more of our money, which is never enough, into the capabilities that we need to keep our nation safe. So that’s just really a charge for you to look at.
If confirmed, Senator, I will do that. To get to your point that you said, you thought our operational advantage was eroding or shrinking, we have to move fast. And that acquisition piece is a critical piece of it.
Thank you. Mr. Scolese, do you have any family members here?
[Christopher] I do. My wife is here with me.
I didn’t remember you introducing her during your opening comments, that’s a major miss incidentally, so welcome Ms. Scolese. (chuckles) But no, welcome to both of you and for your service. In your new role, what are the things that you feel like going into it you have a lot of experience and insight. What do you think your key challenges and priorities are gonna be when you get confirmed?
If confirmed, I believe my key challenge is gonna be to understand the operations aspect of the NRO. I’ve had experience working on the technical side, if you will, the development of satellite systems and concepts with the NRO and other organizations including the Air Force and NOAA. So that’s one, and then of course, building the strong relationships and continuing the strong relationships that have been established, getting to know all of the partners. And I’m committed, if confirmed, to work very closely with Space Command, the Space Force, as it’s set up as well as all of the other organizations that the NRO deals with to improve and maintain the… Levels of collaboration and partnership that are needed to assure the safety of our country.
Well thank you very much, I look forward to supporting both of your nominations and congratulations to your two gainfully employed daughters, General and by the way when y’all look for an advanced degree, I was taking a few of our people from NC State, you should consider that one. Thank you all. (all chuckle)
[James] Thank you, Senator Tillis, Senator Kane.
Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you to the witnesses, congratulations Dr. Scolese, thank you for being with me last week as we were together at the NASA Wallops facility, that was a very impressive visit. I wanna ask a question about allies and I wanna ask a question about rules. And so the allies question, I’m gonna come to General Raymond. Dr. Scolese, I’ll come to you about rules. Space is a domain, just like land and sea are a domain and we are engaged all the time in activities with allies in land, sea and air domains. We’re doing joint exercises and joint training and I’ve got a kid in the Marines who’s been deployed twice with the militaries of other nations and exercises. I’m curious if we could talk a little bit about allies in space. China and Russia are competitors, China and Russia are doing more things together, they just did land exercises together on the Russia-China border. As adversaries they’re each formidable, they could be more formidable when they combine. Talk a little bit about in the space domain, what are we doing together with allies, General Raymond?
Thank you. It’s a really, really critical question, Senator. And it’s a focus area that we’ve been focused on for the last several years. We historically have not had those partnerships that we’ve needed in space. I’ll tell you today, we operate capabilities together in our Command and Control Center. We actually renamed it or redefined it as a Combined Space Operations Center, so we have our five ICE partners, Canada, UK, Australia, located with us in our C2 center. We are also developing partnerships, very close partnerships with France, Germany, and Japan. We exercise together, we train together, we war game together. We have taken our professional development courses that we use to develop our warfighters and we have expanded the ally participation in that. And so we have international sharing agreements, relationships where we share space situational awareness data with countries around the globe. It’s a big focus area, I don’t wanna declare victory, I wanna– We’ve made some significant progress. But to do what this command is gonna have to do, if confirmed, I will absolutely commit to this Committee that we’ll continue to work this really hard.
Great. This is something that I think I might like to have a follow-up, in-depth discussion about, I’m really interested in this point. Now to Dr. Scolese, rules. And this is maybe taking a little bit of advantage of your NASA work as you come into NRO. Right now, the estimates are there’s 4,000 satellites circling the earth, 1,800 are active, 2,200 are inactive. Some of the inactive ones are pretty large, there’s a European satellite called Envisat, I think, that is a very large one. The estimates are that every year, other satellites come within 200 yards of it, it’s supposed to up for 150 years, the likelihood of a collision that could lead to a lot of space debris is pretty high. There’s plans to put thousands of more satellites into space. There’s also collisions in space, a defunct Soviet-era satellite collided with a U.S. satellite, that’s costly to us but it also produces debris that endangers other satellites. China used an anti-satellite weapon to knock down one of their defunct satellites to show that they could do it, that created debris. India just in the last two months did the same thing. There’s even a NASA– I didn’t know this until recently, there’s a publication: Orbital Debris Quarterly that NASA puts out. There’s a NASA scientific… Concept called the Kessler syndrome that talks about when you have so many satellites and so much debris, it could make orbiting essentially collapse because there’d be just too much debris and the prospects of collisions would be high. This would affect what investments we should make, the likelihood of an investment being wasted because of collisions. Is space just a wild frontier, where everybody just gets to do whatever they want, and then all of our investments are at jeopardy? Or what sort of rules domain should we be looking at so that we can have the capacities you want for intel gathering or others without running the risk of losing our assets or tremendous commercial losses on the commercial side?
Certainly there are rules that are supposed to be followed by nations and organizations regarding the generation of space debris and the operation within certain slots for RF and physical space operation. At the same time, the U.S. Government, the Air Force, tracks a number of objects. NASA works very closely with them to assure that we avoid collisions with the Space Station and others of our assets. The same is true working with the civil sector to try and make sure that our civil satellites are protected. Some of the rules require that satellites be disposed of. A number of the NASA satellites now in low-earth orbit have fuel to de-orbit at the end of their useful life. And in higher orbits, to go to a storage orbit so that they’re out of the way of other satellites. The same things are supposed to apply internationally, I know not everybody follows those rules, but that’s something that through international engagements, working with our allies as you asked earlier, can provide us with ways to better enhance the security and the safety of our space environment.
I’ll just conclude by saying the two concepts sorta link up, allies and rules because there’s even, you know, scenarios, kinda war gaming scenarios where you create debris by knocking out an active satellite so you do that in a way that will then disable other nations’ equipment and so, I think the concept of what rules and what is the enforcement of the rules is gonna be something we’re have to gonna get into if we’re going to guard the value of the investments we’re making and the integrity of your intel operations. So, thank you very much and I look forward to supporting you both. Thanks, Mr. Chair.
[James] Thank you Senator Kane, Senator Cramer.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and thank both of you for being here. General Raymond, I just wanna visit a little bit about the distinctions between Space Command and Space Force. I know you had a question earlier about it, I wanna drill down specifically on the chain of command as we laid it out in the… Markup for the NDAA as you may know, I worked with the Chairman and members of the Committee to fund three specific provisions as it relates to the command of Space Force and what I tried to lay out is an incremental approach that allows for Space Force to be established, but dissuades another big bureaucracy at least over time while we work through this. I think it’s hopefully it sets it up for success, that was my goal and I think the Committee’s goal. As you understand, in NDAA mark, should that eventually become law, as is, and we all know that it’s got a ways to go, but, should (stutters) there be a dual-hat commander of Space Force and Space Command for a year. After that year, then of course, each would have their own commander. I don’t know at that point you draw straws, or how that will all work, but that’s what we’re gonna work through. And then of course, the answering up the chain of command changes as well. My question for you, or maybe just my request for you today would be, could you explain– And of course the agency, the Department did weigh in and supported these changes, particularly the dual hat, the direct supervision of the Secretary and those things and seat on the Joint Chiefs, but could you describe the differences as you see them, why you supported, why the Department supported that, and why it’s important that this approach that we’re taking is important?
Senator, thanks for the question. Goldwater-Nichols is very clear that there’s two functions when they reorganize the Department to great effect. One function is an organize, train, and equip, and the other is a warfighting function. So, today, the President has nominated me for Air Force Space Command, which is on the organize, train, and equip hat and a U.S. Space Command Commander which is in the joint warfighting hat. I’m dual hatted in that role. So I have both a warfighting, if confirmed, I would have both a warfighting hat and an organize, train, and equip hat. Today, in my current job, in Air Force Space Command, I have that same dual hat. I’m an Air Force Space Command Commander, an organize, train and equip, and in my joint hat, the Joint Forces Space Component Command, I have a joint role through U.S. Strategic Command. In that case, I have two separate staffs today. I have an Air Force staff that does organize, train, and equip, and I have a Joint Forces staff that does the warfighting and operations for space through U.S. Strategic Command. And so, those hats come together, two separate staffs, one commander, it’s a world that I’m in today, and if confirmed, by this committee, it would be a role that I would have in the future with Commander of Air Force Space Command and the Commander of U.S. Space Command.
All right. So as it pertains to Space Force then, a year from now, again– Assuming in the current– As it is in the current mark.
I have (stuttering) So, let me first, in all sincerity thank this committee for all the work that you’ve done on this. You’ve put a lot of time and effort into getting this right. I fully am supportive of a Space Force. I think we need to elevate the organize, train, and equip to a force level. I have not seen the bill. I have seen the summary of the bill, the press summary of the bill. I will tell you, if confirmed, I look forward to working very closely with this committee and with my leadership to make sure that we get this right for our nation.
It’d be hard to ask for more than that. And with that, I’d just yield back. And thank you, both of you, for your willingness to serve. (murmuring)
We’re gonna call this meeting to a close, but we may want some comments to you folks. (mumbling) Oh. Well, we thank you both for the time you’ve spent, you’re both gonna do a great job, and looking forward to working with you.
[John] Thank you, Senator.
[Christopher] Thank you, Sir. (murmuring)