Spacecom Commander Speaks at CSIS

Air Force Gen. John W. Raymond, commander of U.S. Space Command and commander of Air Force Space Command, provides welcome remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, November 18, 2019.

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Thank you Cath, I greatly appreciate the invitation and more importantly thanks for your leadership and wise counsel. I always enjoy coming to CSIS and I had to apologize to the CSIS team because I always get more out of these engagements than I give. And I hope that we’ll get to that, that we’ll have a really good conversation and that there’s some things that I can take away and continue to work on. I’ll tell you, about three years ago, just in fact, a little over three years ago right before I took Air Force Space Commander job, CSIS held a dinner series, Dr. Henry hosted a dinner series where we brought folks in to talk about the challenges in space and I always marvel as I was preparing for these remarks, I marvel at, at what the folks that were in that dinner would think today because we have made a ton of progress, I mean a ton of progress. We have really put the accelerator down and have made some great gains. There is still a ton of work to do but as I reflected back on those conversations and I look at where we are today, with the advancements that we’ve made, it’s significant. And I think that the thing that is driving it is one simple sentence. I think there’s eleven words in the sentence. Space is a war fighting domain just like air, land, and sea. You know, it used to be you couldn’t say that in public. Space and war fighting in the same sentence. The US wants to keep the space domain safe and that’s still our goal is to deter any conflict from beginning or extending into space. But we didn’t say that publicly. Now, every speech I give I say that and usually right up front. And it rolls off our lips really easily. But the implications of that are pretty significant. And the implications of that have really been driving my battle rhythm for the last three years as we have pretty much changed everything on how we operate in air force space command and it’s driving how we’re building and standing up US Space Command. And that’s really what will be the focus of some brief remarks up front and then I’d really like to get to the Q&A and the dialogue. But, it’s a great opportunity for me to talk a little about the eleventh, the newest command, the eleventh combat and command and our nation’s US Space Command. The US Space Command is more than just a command focused on space. US Space Command is really helping the department get its arms around global integration. If you look at the national defense strategy and the global challenges that we face, we are intimately involved in those conversations. We’re the best in the world at space. On 29 August, a ceremony at the White House, in the Rose Garden, we got a little bit better. Because we set up this command, and this command is singularly focused on the space domain. And that alone provides pretty significant advantage. We come to work everyday. It’s not my, tertiary or secondary job, it’s my primary job. We come to work everyday focused on this domain, and providing advantage for our nation. About a year ago, a little over a year ago, in August of last year, I was told, hey, there’s a potential that we’re going to stand up at combat and command and start planning, and so I took five people on a TDY to San Antonio, Texas, locked five people in the room and said, okay, we have to plan this command. And, in the evenings when I got done with the work I was doing on that TDY, I was there for another reason, I would huddle with the team and review the planning and give direction. At the end of the week we came out with, here’s how we would build this command if given the opportunity and it’s fascinating for me to be given the opportunity to begin planning and then to plan that command and then to stand it up and then to get it going and lead it is beginning, it’s a great, it’s the highlight of my career. We started with those five and we brought that plan back to Peterson and we set up a little tiger team of about ten people. And for the next year we planned that command. And it’s pretty unprecedented if you look at doing all this in one year. From planning to standing up in a year is a pretty heroic lift. I’m very proud of that team. Today we’re about four hundred. And here over the next couple months, beginning of next year, I think our numbers will raise up to about five hundred in the headquarters. Many of you know that we had a US Space Command from 1985 to 2002. And some might say, well why did we bring it back? Or what’s different about this command compared to the one that stood down in 2002? As I said in the ceremony that we had at Peterson Air Force Base that recognized the establishment of US Space Command, this is a different command, custom built for a different day. It is purpose built to get after the National Defense Strategy. It’s purpose built for the strategic environment that we face today. If you look at the missions that the President signed in the Unified Command Plan, and assigned to me as the Commander of US Space Command, it has a much sharper focus on protecting and defending satellites. And not just US satellites but our US military satellites, its partner ally commercial satellites. There’s a much sharper focus on offense and defense. One of the biggest things is it’s a geographic combat and command with an AOR. US Space Command before was a functional combat and command. It didn’t have an AOR. It provided space capabilities to around the globe. We still do that today but the strength in that view that space is a war fighting domain, the department stood up the command with a geographic combat and command with an AOR that’s a hundred kilometers above the Earth’s surface and higher. That’s a big AOR, really big AOR. To get after that protect and defend piece we custom built this command if you will and we stood up a joint task force for space and defense. It’s the first time we’ve had an operational level component focused on that protect and defend mission. And so that’s been very, very helpful. As we are a geographic combat and command, we are planning to have integrated planning elements that will imbed in all the other combat and commands to help us stay connected with those commands. Again, that is purpose built because the challenges that we face, that we’ll face in the future are going to be global challenges. And it’s going to require all combat and command working together. We have a stronger connection with our allied partners. We’ve made great, great strides in that over the last few years. I’m really proud of where we are. When we stood up the command, again purpose built a combined space force component. Before, I was the commander of a joint force space component command that was part of a strike out. When we stood this up we made it a combined command. We’re operating off the same order, we operate out of the same C2 centers, and that’s going to provide a huge advantage to the folks that are to for us and are partners. We’ll also get additional authorities. Space Policy Director mandated that the department come back with what authorities does the US Space Command need to do those missions so we put those together. Very hopeful that those will be approved here in the very near term. Again, ties to our partners, there’s several partners that I’d like to focus on. One is our joint war fighting partners. Again, as our national defense strategy states that the challenges that we’re going to face in the future are going to be global challenges. A challenge in the Pacific is not just INDOPACOM. That’s going to require all the combat and commands together to be able to handle those challenges. For example, I’m convinced that in the future that if we were to get into a conflict with a peer, near-peer competitor, we’re going to have to fight for space superiority. That’s a joint war fighting challenge, it’s going to require other combat and commands to be supportive of me and our US Space Command. Our partnership with our allies, I’ve talked about. We have, over the last several years, increased the training opportunities with our allies, we have exercised with our allies, we do war games with our allies. We’ve stood up a combined space operation center, we’ve turned that from a chase back to a sea spot. We now turn the joint force base component command into a combined space force component and command. So I’d see great, great, I mean we’re doing hosted payloads with allied partners, like Japan and putting a hosted payload on Acusius Satellite, we’re doing a hosted payload partnership with Norway as well as examples. We also have a closer relationship with inter agency. Our relationship with intelligence community has never been better. Our relationship with us and the NRO is at an all time high. We have a shared strategy, a shared concept of operations, we man a C2 center called the National Space Defense Center. I’ll tell you in speeches I’ve given over the last couple years, I’ve said you know we’ve gone from like preschool to about fifth grade. I just spent a handful of hours out at the NSDC a week or so ago and I’ll tell you I’ve changed that. We’re in high school. We’ve made some really, really, really significant gains based on the data sharing that we’re able to do based on having situation awareness tools. We’ve really made some great strides. And our partnerships with commercial industry. And I see this as a big growth area going forward. We have a commercial integration cell on the floor with the combined space operation center. I see great, great steps ahead of being able to leverage this, I talk about this, I’d say this kind of a bad term to use in the space business but this explosion of commercial space. I think there’s great opportunities ahead. So as we built this command we built it to meet the National Defense Strategy. And if you look at the National Defense Strategy, and you look at the priorities then that’s the National Defense Strategy, rebuilding the readiness, strengthening alliances and new partners and reforming the department, those are all things that US Space Command ties into. Our priorities for the command are five. We played out five priorities. First, we’re going to transition space war fighting responsibilities from US Strategic Command to US Space Command in full. And we did that starting on 29 August. So we’re responsible for space operations, we do that day to day and I’ll tell you not only have we not missed a beat, we actually enhanced the game a little bit. We’re leading this to going to full operational capabilities and we’re moving out with a sense of urgency to be able to do that. So, if we’re already doing operations, what are the other things that we’re working on? We’re working on requirements. A component doesn’t have a requirement function, a combat and command does so we’re building out a requirements team. Intelligence, I will tell you that maybe the most important things that we do early on is to rebuild that intelligence function that after feed once the US Space Command that stood down in 2002 went away. I think that the most significant thing, and our highest priority action is planning. And not just planning by ourselves, but planning in concert with the combat and commands around the world that we partner with. And that’s why we’re building these integrated planning elements to imbed with the other combat and commands. The other priority is to expand key allied and commercial partnership that I talked about. And the last one that I haven’t mentioned so far is growing space war fighters. And that’s a two part problem. That’s growing space operators that understand joint war fighting and it’s building what you and I might consider more traditional joint war fighters that have a better understanding of space. So what’s our progress to date? Well, we’ve gone from about five people to five hundred. And so we’re building that team. And I’m really proud of how we’ve brought this team together and gotten them moving really, really quickly. We’ve gone through a joint man power validation process to figure out what the command is going to look like at the end. That is complete. We’ve hired integrated planning element leads and we’re going to stand up the first integrated planning elements. Both at INDOPACOM, UCOM, and STRATCOM. And we’re working very close with NORTHCOM as well. We’ve reached out to other combat and commands, visited with AFRICOM, so we’re very linked in with US Strategic Command and as you can imagine NORTHCOM, INDOPACOM, UCOM, and now AFRICOM really appreciate that engagement. We’re embedded in the global integrating piece in the department. So we’re playing in war games and exercises as part of that, and I think not only are we playing in it, but we’re helping lead that effort for the department. We’ve enhanced our engagements with our allies. I went over and briefed the military committee at NATO to try to get a more formal relationship with NATO. NATO was about to declare space as an operational domain and I think that’s going to be very important that we have that linkage. We’re on the planning side of developing the campaign plan for space. That’ll be done here at the beginning of next year. We have published our first integrated priority list so we’re beginning to have much more of a influence on the budget if you will. And that’s again a much strengthened, a much more heightened voice of the combat and command level then we were at a component level. The list goes on and on but you can kind of get a sense for where we’re headed. We’re ready now and we’re growing stronger each and every day. We’re in line with the direction from the National Defense Strategy, we’re building a fighting force to respond to the competitive, congested, and contested strategic environment that we face today. And we have a great opportunity as I tell our team, that we’re not wooded to the past, we’re starting kind of from scratch and so we can build this command in a way that gets after the challenges that we face. With that, I think I will close and open it up for a dialogue. I really, again, appreciate the opportunity to be here. I think, I’m extremely, extremely proud of the airmen, sailors, soldiers, marines that I’m privileged to lead in the US Space Command. I couldn’t be more proud of how quickly they’ve come up on the step and provided advantages to our nation and not just our nation, but to our allied partners as well. I’d like to take a minute and introduce Chief Towberman. Chief Towberman is our Senior List Advisor for the command as well. He’s here with me. So again, thank you for the opportunity and I look forward to the dialogue.

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