Discussing Two Years of the Space Force with General Raymond

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Dr. John J. Hamre: Good afternoon, everybody, and welcome. My name is John Hamre, and I’m delighted to welcome all of you to what’s going to be a wonderful hour with Jay Raymond – General Jay Raymond.

You know, all of us read back in history books about the pioneering work that Hap Arnold did. None of us knows how hard it is to create a new service. And we are fortunate today to have the space equivalent of Hap Arnold who is charting new horizons every day to try to help strengthen America’s security by building a stronger Space Force for us all. And we’re so fortunate to have him here.

You know, we’re two years into this journey. And it is – think about what it’s like to establish something new in such a short period of time. You’ve got all the issues you have to work through of personnel, and resources, and mission and priorities, public policy priorities. It is an enormous task. And for General Raymond to carve out so much time with us today is really a privilege.

So, Todd, let me turn to you to get this going for real. We’re really delighted that you’ll get us started. And, again, General Raymond, thank you. We’re honored to have you here. Todd.

General John W. “Jay” Raymond: Sir, thank you.

Todd Harrison: And thank you everyone in the online audience for joining us. This is going to be a great discussion with General Raymond. And, you know, I want to give everyone a heads-up that we’re going to be taking questions from the audience. And if you want to ask a question, you can type it into the Q&A function there in Zoom. You can find the Q&A button at the bottom of your Zoom window. You click on that. You can review questions other people have asked and upvote them or ask your own question if you don’t see your topic addressed already.

But without further ado, I want to get right into the discussion. You know, I’ve got the unenviable task of introducing a man who needs no introduction. General Jay Raymond is the chief – the first chief of space operations. And prior to this job, of course, he’s had a stellar career in the Air Force. He was previously the commander of Air Force Space Command. He was also for a time dual hatted as the commander of United States Space Command, and has a career, you know, working in this space, parts of the Air Force. But I would note, he did get his start in the ROTC program – a fellow ROTC grad – from Clemson University in 1984. And so, you know, it’s really our pleasure to welcome General Raymond back. It’s been a couple of years, I think, since we’ve had you at a CSIS event. So it’s great to have you back.

And so I want to turn it over to you for some opening remarks before we get into the questions.

Gen. Raymond: Well, thanks, Todd. And, first, let me begin by saying happy birthday. It’s great that you’re spending your day with me, at least part of your day with me. And I really appreciate the opportunity to have this conversation. I find – I’ve always found the interactions I’ve had with CSIS to be extremely valuable. And I get way more out of it than what I give, and that’s for sure. And a lot of that is due and credit to you and, clearly, Dr. Hamre. And so, Dr. Hamre, again, thank you, sir, for your long many years of service and for your wise counsel that you’ve provided us over the last several years as we’ve – we were initially in the stages of thinking through what the organizational structure for the national security space should be. And then now that we’re up and running, helping us – continuing to help us think through some of the meaty challenges that we face. And again, my greatest appreciation to both. And appreciate the opportunity.

What I thought I’d do – and I did a session yesterday, and I know there’s probably a couple people that were on yesterday’s session and this – today’s session. I’ll work through this pretty quickly, but I’d like to at least set the stage with kind of a little bit of where we’ve been over the last two years, but more importantly what’s on our plate for this moving into our third year as we’ve just about a month – just not quite a month past our second birthday. And as I said, this – as I’ve said this repeatedly, if you look at the amount of the work – progress that has been made in just two short years, it’s pretty remarkable. I would have flunked the test. I had laid out some big goals upfront when I was first put in this position of things that I thought an independent service needed to do. And if you look at where we are with those, we’ve made really great progress. There’s still a ton of work to do, but I thought what I would do is just give a little bit of sense for where I think we are.

You know, as I looked at it, one of the things we want to do is design the force to be able to move at speed and to meet the demands that we’re seeing today as this domain shifted from a benign, peaceful domain to a more contested, warfighting domain. And so we’ve completely reorganized and have all the major building blocks in place. We’ve got a headquarters in place, and it’s a very innovative, small, purposely built force designed to be small, lean, and fast. The challenge with that is you have to operate inside the bureaucracy of the Department of Defense. So we’re all just balancing. Are we – are we – do we have – do we have that balance right, if you will? We have stood up three field commands that are mission-focused commands focused on space operations, space acquisitions, and space training tactics, development, readiness, testing – all the things that we didn’t have.

I think we’ve strengthened our intelligence part of this significantly. We became an 18th member of the IC. We have built an organization for intelligence. We have operational-level intelligence. We have then put those experts on operations floors with our mission-focused delta. So we have operators and intel experts sitting side-by-side doing left seat, right seat, and being able to deliver advantage. We never had that capability before in the Air Force. On the personnel side, we went – on 20 December 2019, one person in the Space Force, laughingly, people called me patient zero. (Laughs.) And now we’ve got 13,000 – as of today, 13,525. Half military, half civilians, including 720 folks that have volunteered – all these folks have volunteered to come over to the Air Force, but volunteered to come over from the Army and the Navy and the Marines.

We’ve built a human capital strategy which is a really forward-leaning, bold document. We’ve got promotion boards that we’ve put in place, force development – completely overhauled the force development. And one of the things I’m really proud of is we completely overhauled the recruiting process. We have the luxury of only recruiting about 500 enlisted guardians a year, and just shy of that on the officer side. That allows us to do things differently. And so rather than having every single recruiting station pick the first, you know, 400 that come in off the street, what we’ve done is what we call centralized booking, where they get the candidates and then we pull a board together.

And we make those applicants fill out data sheets and questionnaires on why they want to be the Space Force. And so we can then better evaluate whether they’re a good fit. And now we pick the best 400. We’re the most selective service that is out there. We’ve met all of our recruiting needs. And we have pools of folks that are qualified, waiting to come in, knocking on the door where they can. So we’ve completely, completely shifted that. And our human capital development and the talent that we’re attracting is a significant benefit. We’ve seen significant benefit after establishing the Space Force. And on the diversity side, we went from a 17 percent diverse force to those who were assessing now is at – I think it’s 35 percent diversity of the folks that we’re bringing in. So we’re excited about the team we’re building.

We built our second budget. Our first budget was built really when we were, like, a month old – or, a month or two old. So really the budget that we just put forward is our first big budget. I think you’re going to see that to be a very bold budget when it comes out, when the department finalizes that, and will really focus on the shift towards resiliency. We’ve completely overhauled how we do capability development. The National Defense Authorization Act just tasked the secretary of defense to delegate to the Space Force the force design work. I hope to be able to go into that in our Q&A session. The JROC has designated the Space Force as the lead joint – lead service for joint space requirements, as you would expect. So we’ve got that done. We’ve completely overhauled our acquisition processes and organizations – our organizations. And we worked that very closely with Congress, to make sure that we’ve got that right.

And then, for the first time ever, we built a test program, which we haven’t had. We had a minor test program in the past. Now we have a comprehensive test program that we’ve got to build. But we’ve designed it, and excited for that. We’ve drafted our first two doctrine documents now, that we’ve also been integrating – as a member of the Joint Chiefs – integrating more effectively in the National Defense Strategies that will come out, the National Military Strategy that will come out, the Joint Warfighting Construct that will come out. You’ll see, in my opinion, a better integration with space into those documents. And the whole integrated deterrence piece. And the other thing that I would say is we have really robusted our international partnerships, which is key. And that’s an area that we have really made some significant strides in, to transform our international partnerships from one-way data-sharing partnerships to two-way operationally beneficial partnerships – mutually beneficial partnerships for us and our partners.

So that’s kind of doing all the work and getting all the pieces in place to then this year really continuing that advances and continuing to deliver on these areas. For this coming year, our big priorities are force design, getting that right, doing the design work and the analytical rigor underneath that to bring the department together and develop force designs that are resilient by their design. We began with missile warning, missile tracking. We’ve delivered that. It’s great work, brought the department together, reducing duplicates and reducing – making sure that everybody’s rolling in the same direction. The work that we’re doing right now is an AOA on the first part of tactical level ISR, which is our ground-moving target indicator. So we’re doing that work. And there’s a broader requirement work going on, on what the department’s tactical level ISR requirements are. And we’re doing that work with the intelligence community.

And then there’s a space data transport layer. That, you know, any fight in the future is going to have to get information from space, transport it around the globe, and bring it down to the ground. And that transport layer is really critical. And we’re doing the design work of that this year as well. On the force development part, we want to get – we want to finalize the concept of our total force concept of bringing the total force relationship for the Space Force. We studied that last year. The law this year tells us to do some more study on that. We want to get that across the finish line this year.

Force generation and force readiness – we’ve built force generation models and force readiness models that we’re in the process of building. We’re about complete with those for space forces, which are more employed in place rather than deployable, which is generally how the department’s readiness models have been focused. On the force presentation, we’re building force presentation mechanisms to present Space Force – presentation of forces to all the combatant commands around the globe, setting up Space Force components in those – in those combatant commands, in addition to U.S. Space Command.

On the acquisition side, although acquisition isn’t a service chief function, it’s more of a secretary function, we want to get a Space Force acquisition official in, the assistant secretary for space acquisition and integration. An individual’s been nominated. And we’ll go through the confirmation process. And upon confirmation, we want to get them in the seat and then have the SAE responsibilities separate from the Air Force. The law now says we can do that no later than 1 October of ’22, rather than waiting for 1 October ’22. So we’re eager to get that done and moving out as well.

And then we’re going to continue to work on the strategy piece. The thing that I would say, the other big area, the most important area for any service is our people. When you have a service that’s only 13,500 people in size currently, and it’ll grow a little bit here by the end of this fiscal year, maybe up to about 15,000-ish – we’re still really small. That affords us some opportunities to apply more art than science when we do professional development. And we’ve built a strategy that we’re excited for. And we’re looking forward to fully implementing that as well.

Todd, I could go on for hours. I really want to get to your questions and dialogue and the questions for others. But I hope that at least sets the table for where we are, the work that we’ve been doing. And, again, happy to – happy to have a dialogue on any topic that you’d like to talk about.

Mr. Harrison: Oh, a great introduction. And I’ve been jotting down some notes here – (laughs) – of things to dig in on some more detail on. I guess I want to start with kind of big-picture, looking back at the history of the last two years it’s been made, and the standup of a new branch of the military. You know, the whole debate that led up to the creation of the Space Force was really, you know, very political. Not necessarily partisan, because you had members of both parties on either side of the issue, but it was, you know, a lot of fierce debate about whether or not this was needed. And, you know, the White House weighing in on it kind of later in the debate, but then the broader public starting to become much more aware of it.

You have a Netflix TV series – (laughs) – about your service. So I want to ask you about that, because I tell you I couldn’t even finish watching the first season, but maybe I’m just too close to things. But, you know, I just wanted to kind of get your reflection on this. As that whole debate was taking place, you know, you were, you know, right there doing the job, right? When did you first reach the conclusion in your own mind that a separate military service for space was necessary?

Gen. Raymond: You know, I – it’s a great question. And I’ve lived that – you know, that debate really picked up strongly in the end of 2016. I took command of Air Force Space Command in October of 2016. And I remember walking off the stage, and my public affairs officer said, hey, sir, would you mind doing a little press engagement, a local press engagement? They’re waiting out front to ask you questions. And I said, I’m happy to do so. But they said, you know, sir, this is going to be a bunch of softball questions. It’s great to be back in Colorado Springs. You know, it’s great to be back, you know, at Air Force Space Command. And this’ll be easy.

The very first question I got – the very first question I got – was: General Raymond, do you think space should be in the Air Force? And it kind of caught me off guard. I had come to Air Force Space Command having served as the Air Force A-3 in the Air Force. I had some – as we all do when you know you’re going to take over an organization – I had some thoughts in mind of where I was going to lead this organization. And in those thoughts, those thoughts did not contain setting up a separate combatant command and then setting up a separate service.

However, not long after that – I would say, probably within the year – as - in that seat as the Air Force Space Command commander. What changed was the activities of our – of our adversaries, or challenges, however you want to describe it. And if you look at what China, our pacing challenge, was doing, and the speed in which they were moving out on, it became clear to me that we had to do something differently. I love the Air Force. I’ve been an airman for 35 years. I’ve been a guardian for two. Thirty-five and a half years and two. So coming up on 38 years of service. I love the Air Force. And the Air Force built the world’s best Space Force.

But the Air Force has – is a service with a vast amount of responsibilities. And I desperately saw the need for increased focus and an elevation in responsibilities. And when you elevate from an Air Force major command to an independent service, your voice gets elevated in a way, and your attention gets elevated in a way that’s valuable. You have an increased voice in requirements. You have an increased voice in budget. You have an increased voice in force development. That’s one of the areas that Congress pushed on me. Why aren’t space experts being promoted at the same rates as the Air Force? I’ll tell you, all of that’s been solved. All of that’s been solved, as you elevate space to an independent service.

And so yeah, I have an enhanced voice with our allies and our partners. I have an enhanced voice as a member of the Joint Chiefs in getting space integrated into the business of the department. And I would tell you, service has a greater center of mass, if you will, to attract the unity of effort that we need to get something across the finish line. So having been the person in the Air Force that commanded the Air Force part of space – the space part of the Air Force, and now being a service chief, it is without a doubt – there’s no comparison to our posture today. Now, again, with a ton of work left to do, and there will always be work to do, but a ton of work left to do. There’s no question in my mind that we are better postured today, that it was the right answer. But it was based on what the threat was doing that really changed my calculus.

Mr. Harrison: You know, that’s interesting. And then, you know, part of what you mentioned, one of the reasons, one of the motivations of standing up the Space Force was the personnel side of it, right? To create that cadre of space personnel. And now, you know, as an independent service you’ve got the recruit, train and equip responsibility. And you own these people. And so I just wanted to get kind of an update from you on, you know, how’s that going in terms of generating your own, you know, unique Space Force culture, people, and, you know, what kind of changes are you looking at in terms of the talent management system, career options, you know, different things like up or out promotion, lateral entry. You know, what kinds of things are you looking at to transform your workforce?

Gen. Raymond All of the above. All of the above. And so let’s start from the beginning on assessments. We have completely changed how we assess people. And I’ll tell you, the assessments that we’re getting, both on the officer side and the enlisted side – not that we were bad before, but I’ll tell you the talent we’re getting is pretty incredible. You know, just as an example, prior to the Space Force out of the Air Force Academy we’d have 13 cadets that came to space. Thirteen out of 1,000. First year, just months after we set up, we got 68. This year we got 118. And if you look at the talent, it’s not just numbers. It’s Rhodes Scholars. It’s wing commanders. It’s NCAA track star, you know, number-one athletes. It’s NFL – you know, we’ve got a person in the Space Force that’s on the Washington Football Team’s roster. So it is – it’s unbelievable the talent on the whole spectrum that we’re getting.

As you look at development, the – you know, on enlisted airmen or guardian today, we don’t do promotion testing anymore. We – in the Air Force, everybody had – you know, in the enlisted they took promotion tests. I was really lucky that I was an officer, because if I had to take – pass a test to get promoted, I’d probably still be a lieutenant. But we don’t do that anymore. We meet a board. Because you can. We only have 3,000-or-so enlisted. We’ll meet a board for everybody. On assignments, we can do a little bit more – again, apply a little more art to say what’s best for you in your career? We want to give people opportunities to go to NASA for an assignment and come back, go to – go to industry for an assignment and come back. We want to be much more portable. Our total force strategy I think will help us with that as we go forward.

On lateral transfers, we want to bring folks in from industry and from others. And I have the ability to bring somebody in and bring them in as a colonel. If they’re a vice president of an organization, based on their experience, bring them in and say: Hey, work for two years, work on this project, and then go back. We’re looking at all of those authorities and more. And without a doubt – I mean, there is no comparison – without a doubt, our – we are in a much better position today than we were just a couple years ago as it relates to that human capital development. And we are trying to start with a clean sheet of paper, think very differently, and to build a service for the next 100 years.

You know, not – I told our team we have two risks. If we go into this and just iterate our way down the path and become nothing more than an Air Force, changes a little bit here and there, we’ve missed a huge opportunity. And so the two risks are, making sure that we’re thinking bold enough. And then the second risk is that when we think bold, making sure that we can get it through the bureaucracy. And that – we find ourselves in that sweet spot of being bold but not reckless and making sure that we can – and if we do it right, I really believe we can be a incubator for change across the broader department. You can try something with a service our size, and maybe it’ll scale to – scale more broadly across the broader DOD.

Mr. Harrison: Yeah. I think, you know, that is one of the exciting, you know, opportunities here, right? Is that you can try things like lateral entry and prove it out and figure out how to work the kinks out of the system and make it work as intended.

Gen. Raymond: Let me give you one more example. And I’ll be quick, because I know you want to get to questions – other questions. But we had a gentleman who was an Air Force Academy cadet. He was a division one wrestler at the Air Force Academy. Incredible shape. And he has allowed me to talk about this, so I’m not violating any HIPAA rules. He’s allowed me to – he’s told the story, had has given me personal. But he came – he, while he was at the Academy, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. There has never been a person that has been – that has been brought into the service with Type 1 diabetes. They came to us and said – he said, hey, I really want to serve. Can I join the Space Force?

If you look at the Space Force, we largely do our work from home. We have deployable capabilities, and we go around the world, but you can have a very full career in the continental United States. If you look at the advances made in technology for monitoring blood sugar levels and things, we said absolutely we’ll bring him in. So for the first time ever we have a – and so that’s just an example of where we’re trying to think differently based on our service and where we can get some talent. We’ve got another gentleman right now who’s at Harvard with – we’re working through the same issue on. So we’re excited about trying things differently.

Mr. Harrison All right. Yeah, so I want to look a little more to the forward, what’s coming in the next few years. You talked a bit about force design and how the Space Force has gotten more authority to do, to play a larger role in force design. Can you, you know, tell us a little bit more about that, and what are you doing to carry out those responsibilities, and what are the products we could be seeing in the next year or two?

Gen. Raymond: Absolutely. So, you know, one of the things that we heard loud and clear from Congress, and more broadly, and one of the things that we’ve been wanting to do, we hear about, the acquisition process is broken. You’ve got to speed up acquisitions. It takes too long. If I want to buy a GPS satellite – Todd, if you’re a GPS satellite and I wanted to buy a clone of you, it’s a five-year deal to buy a clone. That’s not – that’s not what we need. The challenge is you can’t just attack it at the acquisition side. You have to design the force to enable you to do that well.

And so we really didn’t have that function in the department that we needed to on the space side. That’s typically service’s responsibility to do, and then the secretary of defense is the ultimate, you know, force design approval authority, if you will. But we have built a very small team. What we don’t want to do is we don’t want to create bureaucracy. We’re not about building big bureaucracy. We’re about building capabilities. And so we built a very small team of about – I think it’s about 70 people. They’re Ph.D.-level folks. We call it the Space Warfighting Analysis Center. They’re Ph.D.-level folks, coupled with our best operators and our best intelligence experts. And we put them together and we said: OK, go design. And we prioritized it, because it was a small group of folks.

And we have to – we have to look across all of the capabilities that we operate and make this – transition from a small number of very exquisite satellites to a more defendable architecture. And so we started with our highest priority. And that’s missile warning, missile tracking. If you look across the department, there’s five different organizations that have a role in that. You’ve got the Space Systems Command, the Space Rapid Capabilities Office, the Space Development Agency, MDA, and then our own. And we said, OK, we’re going to bring everybody together and we’re going to – this analytical team that we built is going to kind of lead this effort. And at the end of about a year’s worth of work they came out with a force design that everybody agreed to. And it’s a really exquisite force design, elegant force design that provides resiliency by the design of that force structure.

And so what we now – and so now, once you do that, you have to work the funding for that and the acquisition pieces of that. But we’ve got that done. And now we – as I mentioned in my opening comments – there’s other things that we have to design. And so tactical level ISR is another big one. We’re focused on GMTI at first to make sure that we’re not duplicating what the intelligence community does, to make sure that we’re building relevant capabilities. And then the ability to transport data in the space domain is another area that we’re really focusing on this year. So we’re going to deliver that. When we deliver that, when I’ve talked to industry, what industry has told me is they don’t want me to come forward with a big stack of requirements documents and drop a stack of requirements documents on the desk and say, hey, go build this.

Because they’ll say, hey, that’s not the way I would build it. We wouldn’t build it that way. Why are you dictating to me? Why don’t you have an earlier conversation? So what we’ve done is we’ve – also, as we shift to a more digital service – we’ve taken that design architecture, and all the threat data that we have, and we’ve put it into computer models. And using coding, we’ve coded all this. And we had an industry day a few months ago where we handed it all out at the right, appropriate classification levels – as we controlled who came to the meeting – and we handed it out to about 180-something different companies. And we said, OK. After a year’s worth of work, here’s what we come up with.

How would you do this? And getting early input from them, if they want to, is – would be of value.

That same computer model helps us – helps us do the acquiring of it, with digital engineering. Helps us test those capabilities to make sure that they can survive a threat. Helps us train our operators, you know, with the digital model. So we see value there across the board. We’ve completed the first one, again, with missile warning, missile tracking. And we’re working through some others. And what you will see going forward is a very open dialogue with industry on what we’ve come up, seeking their inputs to make it better, and then bring unity of effort across the department to deliver at speed. And that’s been our focus.

Mr. Harrison: I want to dig in on a couple of those areas, then. So on the next generation you have missile warning, missile tracking architecture. Are we potentially going to see changes to existing programs as a result of that? And will that be in the – you know, something we’ll see in the next budget request? And what can you tell us about that architecture? Is it going to be in GEO, LEO, MEO, polar orbits, or all of the above? Or, you know, what is that looking like? What can you tell us?

Gen. Raymond: And so my career dissipation light will come on if I get too specific on what a budget might or might not be when the department hasn’t completed that work. But what I would tell you is, you know, in all cases when we do this work – what I don’t have the luxury of doing is telling the nation, hey, we’re going to turn off GPS, and we’re going to turn off missile warning, and we’re going to turn off comm, and we’re going to turn off whatever, and then in about 10 years we’ll come back to you with a new architecture. That doesn’t work. You got to operate what you got and make this transition.

And so as we do this, we’ve had to come up with a bridging strategy. And we will do that by the capability that we’re – the mission that we’re addressing at the time – in this case, missile warning, missile tracking. In the case of missile warning, missile tracking, we wanted to do two things. One, make it more defendable and, two, make it more relevant for the – for the threat classes of missiles that we’re seeing. And so I think what you’ll see is on the – on the old capabilities versus the new capabilities, you’ll see us do a bridging strategy. And we evaluated everything from, again, turning it all off and saying we’ll be back in 10 years – we probably could go faster that way – to keeping everything up and building new. And, you know, the budget implications of that. I think we’ve, in our work, have come up with a right mix of being able to manage risk as we make a transformation. But beyond that, I guess I’d say wait and see for the budget. I’d prefer to keep my job for a while longer. (Laughs.)

Mr. Harrison: Right. Well, we’ll have to ask you back after the budget comes out.

Gen. Raymond: Please do. Please do.

Mr. Harrison: You know, and so then you also talked about tactical ISR, and building a ground moving target indication capability from space. You know, can – you mentioned an AOA for that. So does that mean that that program, if you will, is still pre-milestone A, it’s still in the very early stages? And do you envision, you know, a potential role for commercial capabilities in providing some of that? Because there are a lot of synthetic aperture radar companies, private companies, out there that are building and launching capabilities that have the potential to do GMTI. Is that going to be part of the architecture Space Force looks at?

Gen. Raymond: Yeah, so let me – I’ll address that specifically, but let me raise it up one notch for a second. And say, across all of our force design work we’re interested in that. We want to leverage commercial more than we’ve been able to do in the past. And I think if you design a force – so, let’s just say, you know, one way of doing business is – I’m making this up; this is complete made-up numbers – $4 billion satellite or a proliferation of smaller, less exquisite satellites. A broader part of the industrial base, and a broader part of our allies and partners from around the world, might be able to contribute more to that proliferated, less exquisite. And so we want to be able to do that more broadly.

But in the case of GMTI, the Air Force made this decision a few years ago in the POM. They have a capability called JSTARS that provides this. The capability, it’s an old system that was end of life, if you will. It was also not designed for the current strategic environment that we face with our pacing challenge being China. And so the thought was the Air Force made a decision to let’s think differently and think about a multidomain approach. They were going down that path when the Air Force – or, when the Space Force stood up. And then that program transferred to the Space Force. The very first thing that we did from the Space Force side was we’re not going to – we’re going to reduce the classification of this, because it was classified at a level that we didn’t talk about it. And now we reduced that classification, we can talk about it, to allow us to have more, fuller conversations with industry and with partners, and to be able to attract that.

The other thing that we’re doing is this work we’re doing with the AOA is in concert with the intelligence community. This is something we’re going to work in partnership. What we don’t want to do is have intelligence community build something, then us build something that duplicates it. And so the work that we’re doing is doing the design to figure out what exists today – what’s the requirements, what exists today, can it meet those requirements? If it can’t, what are the areas that it can’t and how best then would you go address that again between the department and the intelligence community?

And I would say more broadly, about tactical level ISR not just GMTI, we’re doing the same thing. It’s the lead requirements – is the joint space requirements lead for the department, we’re going to work with all the other services, come up with what the ISR requirements are across all the services, figure out what exist today, figure out where the gaps are, and then in working, again, with partnerships and collaboration of commercial industry, allies, partners, and others to figure out how best to go – to go address that. That’s the methodology we’ll take for all of them.

Mr. Harrison: Yeah. You know, you mentioned, you know, the role of allies and partners in building out our space architecture. So I want to turn for a moment to talk about NATO. And of course, NATO this week just released its first space policy for the alliance. And, you know, over the past few years NATO has started to focus much more, recognizing space as a warfighting domain. I just want to say, from your – just ask, from your perspective has that changed the way that you’ve been interacting with our NATO allies when it comes to space? And are there additional areas where you’d like to improve space cooperation with NATO?

Gen. Raymond: Absolutely. So back – right shortly after we established U.S. Space Command, and we established that in August of 2019. I think it was probably September or October – don’t quote me on the date – but it was shortly after, a month or two after that I went over – I had the opportunity to brief the NATO military committee on space. And in that discussion, I talked about the changing strategic environment. I talked about space being a war fighting domain. I talked about the need for a greater alignment with NATO. I talked about NATO has things called centers of excellence. And it might consider space centers of excellence. I talked about better integration with NATO through what we call the director of space forces, and maybe aligning the director of space forces for USAFE to also be that for NATO.

And all of those things have happened. So – and I’m not saying this because of my speech, but, like, two weeks after I gave that talk NATO came out and made – declared space an operational domain. This past year they stood up a Space Center of Excellence, and are setting it up in Toulouse, France. They’ve stood up a NATO C2 center at Ramstein in Germany. The Air Command commander, which is the USAFE commander, it falls under his command. And we have dual-hatted the DIRSPACEFOR, and we now have integrated U.S. space experts into that C2 cell.

I think more broadly, you know, we have a bunch of bilateral relationships, which are largely data sharing relationships, with lots of countries around the globe, and including many, many of our NATO partners – bilateral relationships. We also have an initiative called CSPO, Combined Space Operations. And that’s where the Five Eyes plus France and Germany come together as a collective body, called CSPO. And we do work on policy and force design, and integration, and messaging, and norms of behavior – all those types of things.

What NATO also allows us to do is broaden that, because, as you know, NATO has the 30 countries, but they also have – what I learned in my visit to NATO – was they also have a much greater web of partners beyond that. And so we really believe there’s value there – a deterrence value. Because, again, our primary mission is to deter conflict from beginning or extending into space. That’s what NATO is all about. And we think there’s ways to leverage that.

And in fact, I’m so passionate about this, we just – and we only have 21 general officers across the entire United States Space Force. That’s a really small service. We put one of those general officers – and we assigned that general officer to NATO. And so we have a brigadier general – a Space Force brigadier general assigned at NATO to – doing other things, but one of his kind of additional duties, if you will, is make sure that we are well-integrated on the space side as well.

Mr. Harrison: Well, and you speaking of NATO, it would remiss if we didn’t talk about the Russian ASAT test that was back in November. Of course, this was something, you know, that my team here at CSIS pays close attention to. And that’s going to feature prominently in the next update of our Space Threat Assessment. But I just wanted to get from you, what was your reaction when you first learned of the Russian ASAT test?

Gen. Raymond: Disappointment. You know, they obviously have been – it wasn’t lost on us at all that they view space as a warfighting domain, that they’re building capabilities. You know, I talked very publicly for the first time back in, I think it was – it was January or February of 2020 about the – what I had described as the nesting doll satellite, that positioned up next to a U.S. satellite. So it was not surprising that they were building these capabilities. I was disappointed that they tested it in such a reckless and irresponsible manner.

That, you know, that – the satellite that they destroyed was pretty high. That debris is going to be with us for a while. That debris is going to come down eventually, and it’s going to come down through the low-earth orbit belt, and put at risk things that are below it, which includes the International Space Station and the astronauts that are on board. We take our role – our job of being safe traffic – doing space the traffic management function very, very seriously. We share that data broadly with the world. We pay a special attention to protecting and defending the astronauts that are on board the ISS. And I thought it was a completely irresponsible test that didn’t have to happen.

Mr. Harrison Yeah. I’d love to be able to ask the same questions to the cosmonauts that are on the International Space Station. What did they think when they had to duck and cover? (Laughs.) You know, but related to that, you know, what do you think are some of the core tenets of being a responsible actor in space? And how is the Space Force leading by example?

Gen. Raymond: Yeah. Well, first of all, I have been a big proponent – in fact, I wrote an op-ed here just recently on the need for norms of behavior in space. I’ve described it in the past as the wild, wild west. You know, there’s not a whole lot of norms that – or rules that people have to follow. As the domain becomes more congested, more contested, more competitive, I see the need for rules of the road. I am not naïve to think that if we have rules of the road, that everybody’s going to follow them. But I do think it’s going to help us identify those folks that are running the red lights and not playing by the rules.

We’re working this very closely with our allies and our partners. We wargame these discussions on norms of behavior. We work together on coming up with what we – what we might consider responsible uses of space and norms of behavior. The secretary of defense has signed out a memo that outlines some fundamental rules that we’re going to play by. One of them right off the top is, you know, that we are not going to – let me quote it. I’ve got – let me – limit the generation of long-lived debris. (Laughs.) I mean, that’s clearly not what Russia did.

And so the way we’re getting after this is we’re operating that way today, and trying to demonstrate safe and responsible professional behavior. And, by the way, we operate the way we operate with our allies and partners, and the way we’re being transparent across the globe with many of our partners. And, you know, it becomes clear then who isn’t playing by those rules and operating in a safe manner. But I think it’s really important going forward. I’m actually encouraged that the conversation is picking up. I’m very encouraged that the secretary of defense signed out this memo that listed some basic tenets that we’re going to follow by. And the way we operate is in line with those – with those tenets.

Mr. Harrison: All right. I want to turn now to some questions from the audience. And this is one in particular that I was interested in as well, is: What do you think the role of the Space Force should be in cislunar space and, you know, even potentially on the surface of the moon? How does that fit into your strategic and tactical plans? An, you know, I’m also interested in what time horizon do you think cislunar space starts to become, you know, particularly important for the military?

Gen. Raymond: Yeah. First of all, I think one of the things that – you know, I think when you think about the Space Force and NASA, there’s a lot of confusion still amongst, you know, today across the country, about the role of each. And I think before you can get into cislunar operations between the two, I think you have to look at just what are the roles of an armed service, a military service, versus NASA? We’re a military service. You know, providing capabilities for our country’s way of life and our way of war, and making sure that that domain is safe and stable so all can operate in it. NASA has the mission of exploration and science. And I think for them to do their job, they have to have a domain that’s safe, and secure, and stable, and protects U.S. astronauts from debris, types of things. And we want to – we want to be that body.

As NASA moves out beyond low-earth orbit with the International Space Station, and has stated, you know, that we’re on our way back to the moon hopefully here in the not-too-distant future, I believe that there will be value in having some domain awareness of their area they’re going to operate in.

So as the nation goes further away, as the world goes further away from the earth, I think there’s going to be a requirement to have at least, at a minimum, some domain awareness on that environment.

So then if you look at the timeframe of that, I would say in kind of the next five to 10 years we’re going to have to have some capability to be able to support those operations. And then – additionally then you also have to think about the military utility aspect in competition with our pacing challenge of China and the work that they’re doing, making sure that we compete in all areas of the domain – not just in low-earth orbit, or medium-earth orbit, or geosynchronous orbit.

Mr. Harrison: And, you know, another question from the audience here, just asking you to clarify an earlier comment about the amount of diversity in the Space Force. That 35 percent diversity, what does that represent? Is that racial minorities? Does it include gender?

Gen. Raymond: I think that – it includes, I think, all the above, specifically those numbers I think were more gender-focused. In fact, if you look at the – if you look at the 118 – if you look at the 118 cadets that came out of the Air Force Academy a year ago. So almost – you know - last May when they got commissioned. Of the 118, nearly 40 percent were female. And so we think that’s significant. I remember when we first stood up the Space Force I was overseas in Europe and we were having a dinner on – a policy-focused dinner. And the gentleman that was sitting next to me from the U.K. said: You know, General Raymond, you’re lucky. You can slap the table tomorrow and say we’re going to have a force that’s 50 percent female, X percent diverse, you know, in other areas.

And I started thinking about it, and really, I can’t. I’m not – you know, by law, you can’t – you can’t do the quotas, but I started thinking about what might we do to have a force that will be a more ready, more mission-capable force? I tell a story of – I was at Naval War College years ago. And I was in a – at a seminar for the first – I think first four or five months of the year. We were in our first seminar. And there’s 14 people in the seminar. Thirteen folks were military and there was one individual from the State Department. A guy named Andrew Steinfeld. He later on became the POLAD for the chairman. Really bright guy.

And on every topic at the end of every class session if you will, when it came time to putting together formulating an answer to a problem, the thirteen military folks said: Here’s what we’re going to do. And pounded the table. And we all grew up the same way, we all were trained the same way. We might have been in different services, but we all kind of grew up thinking the same way. And then Andrew would say, hey, let me give you another perspective. And would give a State Department perspective and a worldview that was very informed, and we had maybe not had thought through as well as we should have. And by the end of that session we came up with answer that was actually a better answer.

And so that has always stuck with me, that we want to have diversity of – lots of diversity. Diversity of thought. Diversity of skillset. Diversity of backgrounds. And I think that helps us get to a – get to a stronger answer.

Mr. Harrison: That’s great. Let’s see, another question here from the audience is can you discuss the relationship with Space Command? Now, obviously, you were dual hatted for a while with both jobs. But, you know, you’ve – unlike the other military services, the Space Force seems to be uniquely aligned with a particular combatant command. You know, so how is that relationship working? The division of responsibilities? And do you still see that there are significant roles for Space Force personnel in the other combatant commands?

You talked earlier about setting up a Space Force component in the other COCOMs, but you can kind of tell us what are their roles and responsibilities? How does that differ from what U.S. Space Command is doing?

Gen. Raymond: And so it’s normalized business. As you know, with Goldwater-Nichols, the department is kind of broken up into two functions. One is an organize, train, and equip function. And one is a more operational and warfighting function. One being services and one being combatant commands. What makes us a little unique in Space Force and Space Command – first of all, what made us unique was we were commanded by the same person for about – for the first year. And that I think blurred the conversation a little bit. We didn’t have to be as precise in our language because it was, hey, throw it over to space and they’ll figure it out.

Now we have two different organizations. You know, two different leaders, two different organizations. It’s absolutely the right answer. There’s a different mission for both of them. Our job is to organize, train and equip and to operate those capabilities. And when they’re employed, they’re employed under the authorities of a combatant commander. And so if you think about it that way, normalized business, it’s the easy button to figure out. The challenge becomes, because there’s such a tight relationship, because almost all of our forces that we provide are force-presented or assigned forces to U.S. Space Command.

Then the question becomes: Do you have to have a relationship with the other combatant commands? And I fully think that you have to. U.S. Space Command will be much more capable if they have regional – if I have components in the different regional combatant commands, geographic combatant commands that can help them understand the domain, operate in the domain, and do their mission. So there’s a balance there. I think General Dickinson and I are in complete lockstep on this. He wholeheartedly agrees with the service component structure for the Space Force. We’re now thinking through how we might do that. We don’t want to create increased bureaucracy.

You know, when I was a colonel I deployed in theater to CENTCOM AOR. And I was the director of space forces. I worked in the CAOC. It was a career changer for me. It completely changed my view of space. It helped professionally develop me to have the skillset that I need to do the job that I’m doing today. And so for a whole host of reasons I think there’s incredible value in having some regional expertise. The other piece is the combatant commands need to have some space expertise in their combatant commands to understand that domain, because they’re completely reliant on everything that we have in space to do their – to do their jobs. Their jobs, their missions don’t close without space. They need to understand that.

And so having people in place in theater is really important. It’s not just really important for the Space Force. It’s really important for U.S. Space Command that those exist as well. And so we’ve done a lot of work – General Dickinson and I have done a lot of work on crafting what that looks like. And I’m excited to get those stood up.

Mr. Harrison: We have another question here from the audience about, you know, innovation and investment in new technologies. And so, you know, one of the arguments you hear is, you know, DOD and the federal government in general are spending a relatively smaller share on the R&D compared to what’s going on in the private sector. And really the private sector investment in R&D is just enormous now. And you know, the question here is, you know, the commercial market investment in R&D is attracting a lot of the talent.

Then arguably the center for innovation is moving into the commercial sector. And we see that happening in the space commercial industrial base in particular. A lot of really innovative work going on there, a lot of talented people being attracted there. Congress has also, of course, been pushing the Space Force to leverage commercial space capabilities in legislation. So, you know, what can you tell us about what the Space Force is doing to better leverage those advancements that are happening in commercial space capabilities?

Gen. Raymond Yeah, so every time I talk I – well, so when I was growing up in the Air Force as a young captain, I was the commercial space officer at Air Force Space Command for three years. I have a close affinity to the commercial space business. I see the value that it provides us. And historically what it has provided us is commercial launch and commercial communications satellites – you know, large communication satellites. What we’re seeing now is as commercial launches really help bring the launch cost down, the access to the domain has been – or, barriers to entry into the domain have been reduced. What used to be great-power competition between the Soviet Union and the United States now has devolved down to we have students launching satellites.

And so there’s great value to be had. I say in almost every speech I give on this topic, I say that U.S. commercial industry is a great advantage for our nation, and we need to capitalize on it. And it is hard at work – and as hard, and as much emphasis as we put on being able to partner with commercial, it hasn’t – it hasn’t been without challenges. And I think one of the things that I’ve – that I realized is, you can’t just start with the acquisition part of it. You have to start much earlier on, in the design of it. And if you build constellations that allow for that commercial investment to be relevant, I think you can actually bring them in earlier and have greater aid.

I’m a big fan of it. I want to do more. We’re committed to doing more. I appreciate Congress’ focus on it. We’re focused on it. We’ve stood up some things – a couple things that I’m really proud of. We have something called SPEC OT, where we’ve broadened the industrial base. And partners that – out in Space Systems Command, where we have a pool of partners. And a significant portion of those are nontraditional partners that are part of that. We’ve set up a space works. Our goal, though, is to not just – our goal is to build more opportunities into the design of our architecture so we can get – we can capitalize on it even more.

Mr. Harrison: You know, one of the interesting things that came out of this year’s NDAA as well was created the number of reviews that DOD has to conduct, and some independent commissions. And one of them was Congress mandated a full review of classified space systems. And the intention, of course, is, you know, to see if there’s areas where we can downgrade classification or even declassify some things. Now, I know this is something that you have talked about publicly before, that we’re overly classified. General Hyten, you know, the outgoing vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, who had also been a previous, you know, commander of Air Force Space Command, has also said the same thing now.

With two powerful four-star generals like you having championed this for so long, you know, it’s got a lot of people scratching their head of why have we not made more progress? You know, now Congress has established this commission. So, you know, how do you think it will be different this time? And how do you see, you know, the Space Force going about carrying out this review, and hopefully getting some results in the end?

Gen. Raymond: Yeah, so a couple things. One, I think it’s critical that the work gets done. And I’ve been passionate about this for years. We have made some progress in – I mentioned GMTI. We reduced the classification.

What I’ve learned is it’s really easy for a young action officer to classify something at a really high level. And it’s really, really hard then to declassify that once it gets classified. It’s unbelievable what you have to go through to get something reduced down to a lower level. So I think there’s an education part of this.

But I’ve also learned the space part clearly is one of our most classified areas across the – in model of over-classification across the department. And not only were we overly classified, but we’re overly classified kind of in a non-normal way. (Laughs.) Not the way the normal bureaucracy does it. And so I’m – we’ve also been doing a lot of work on the strategy part, on – because our job, our main job is to deter conflict from beginning or extending into space. It’s really difficult to be able to do that if everything is classified and we can’t talk about it. And so we’ve also done a lot of work on the strategy pieces of this.

And I think as the department moves towards an integrated deterrence strategy as the part of the National Defense Strategy, that’s also going to raise the importance across the department – clearly space will be a key part of that – of getting after this. So I’m encouraged that we’re going to make some much-needed progress on this front. We’ve made some already, and I’m hopeful that with the broader strategy work, and then with the work that Congress has directed in law that we’ll be able to really move out and make some differences.

Mr. Harrison: Now we’re running close on time here. I got one final question for you. Joint All Domain Command and Control, JADC2, has been a big focus area in recent years for the department, for the Air Force. And I just wanted to get a quick update from you, you know, what do you see the Space Force’s role in JADC2? And, you know, are we going to hear more in terms of linkages between programs, or maybe new programs, from the Space Force that are intended to support JADC2?

Gen. Raymond: Yeah. So, you know, if you just look at JADC2, Joint All Domain Command and Control, space puts the all – you know, is one of the domains that puts the “all domain” into that definition. We have to have the ability – if you’re to ask any warfighting commander, what do you need to do your mission? There’s a couple things that they probably will tell you. One they have to have domain awareness. They have to have – whatever domain they’re operating in, they have to have a level of awareness. And then they have to have an ability to command and control their forces. And so it’s really important to us.

We’ve been – I’ve been saying kind of tongue in cheek – we’ve been joint – we’ve been JADC2 before it was cool. We’ve been working really hard on this Joint All Domain Command and Control piece. We’ve made some really good progress in some capabilities that we’ve built on the space side of the house that better integrate with other domains, specifically the air domain. I would also say that one of the – one of the key pieces of JADC2 is the ability to get – you know, it’s the linking sensor to shooter and being able to take data and transport that data for decisionmakers. And I really believe that the work that we’re doing on the force design for a data transport layer will really be a key part of that.

Our big focus for the first couple years of the Space Force on C2 was data. The domain that we operate in is a domain that we operate in, and experience, through data. Unless you’re one of a handful of astronauts that have had the opportunity to – more than a handful, but not many – that have gone into space across history and lived in the domain, you don’t experience that domain in person. You experience it through data. And so we’ve really been focusing on building the data architecture, if you will, for being able to solve a lot of the challenges that we have, which are big data challenges.

And so I believe Space Force has a – has a critical role in this in data, in being able to transport data. And then having the ability to command and control our forces in a way that lends itself to integrated deterrence across all domains is going to be really important. And I think you’ll see that continue to be a broad effort for the broader department, and clearly an effort on the Space Force side as well.

Mr. Harrison All right. I see we’re out of time. This has been a really great discussion.

Gen. Raymond: Let’s keep going.

Mr. Harrison: (Laughs.) Well, if you’ve got – if you’ve got time for one more question.

Gen. Raymond: I do. If you got time, I got time.

Mr. Harrison: (Laughs.) All right. Let’s do one more question here. You know, you’ve, you know, talked a lot about how the Space Force has made strides in collaborating with international partners. A question from the audience here is: The way you collaborate and the way you interact with other countries, you know, when it comes to military space, is there a noticeable difference between the more advanced space powers and the more emerging space powers, if you will? Are there different challenges and opportunities in each country?

Gen. Raymond: There are different challenges and different opportunities. I will tell you, though, the way the domain has changed, even though we’ve been operating in the domain for 50 years, you know, or since the ’50s, the demand has really changed. So we don’t have all the answers either. And so it’s good to have conversations with a whole spectrum of partners. We obviously have some partners that our partnerships yield capabilities – more near-term capabilities. You know, we’ve leveraged information from Canada on space situational awareness, for example.

There’s others where it’s more just sharing information and data and thought. We exercise together. We train together. You know, for some that have space operation centers, our space operations centers are linked together. As we develop C2 tools, we develop those jointly, not just at our U.S. space C2 centers but at our closest partners’ C2 centers as well. And we’re now at the point where we’re actually building capabilities together. And so I’ve talked about this, and I know many people have heard me say this in the past, but, you know, we had a requirement to build communication satellites that we’re going to cover the northern part of the globe. It was going to take us a few more years to get done, and it was going to cost us a significant amount of dollars to build two satellites.

And we went to Norway, who was building two satellites already and we said: Can we just put our payloads on your satellites? It saved us over $900 million and would get us on to orbit three years faster. We have international partnerships with Japan where we’re putting hosted payloads on what they call a QZSS satellite, which is their GPS augmentation satellite, if you will. There’s other partnerships that we’re working capabilities on. We have other partnerships were countries buy into WGS, for example, and AEHF. There’s all kinds of ways to do these partnerships.

My intent is to grow those partnerships and to continue to develop emerging partners and mature the ones that we have. Yes, there’s a difference, but we’re all in this together. And I think the value of these partnerships can’t be – can’t be overstated.

Mr. Harrison: All right. And really the final question. If you have to compare the threats posed in the space domain by Russia and China – I’m not going to ask you to rank them – but how do you see the similarities and differences posed by Russia and China when it comes to space?

Gen. Raymond: Yeah, well, I think – I don’t even you have to say as it comes to space. I think just in general – well, as it comes to space, I think both countries realize that, and have stated, and have demonstrated by their actions, that they’re developing capabilities to deny us our access to space and the advantages that it provides. And we’ve seen that on full display here over the last set of years. I think they both are developing capabilities for their own use.

You know, China has built a very robust space architecture that will give them the same advantages that we have. And they’re becoming more dependent on space. And their space capabilities are critical linkages, and their ability to do what they’re – you know, to do military – their military operations. I think what’s different is that China has gone very, very fast. And I think they – the economic engine that they have has allowed them to go at a speed that is really concerning. And I think that’s why I would consider them our pacing challenge.

Mr. Harrison: Hmm. All right. Well, we’ll let that be the final word. I want to thank you so much, General Raymond, for joining us today. And thank the audience. A lot of great questions. And couldn’t get to them all in the amount of time we had. But thank you. And we hope to have you back for another discussion –

Gen. Raymond: Yeah. If you wouldn’t mind post-budget at some point, if you can fit it into your schedule, I would love to – I’d love to have another session and talk about, in more detail, what I think is going to be a significant advantage for our country that we’re delivering. And again, sign me up whenever you can fit it into your schedule.

Mr. Harrison All right. We’ll do it. And maybe we can be in person by then. (Laughs.)

Gen. Raymond I would hope so. Happy birthday, sir.

Mr. Harrison All right. Thank you.