NOVEMBER 19, 2020 – Space Force Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, chief of space operations, spoke today about the Space Force at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics conference.
“We anticipate adversaries will try to degrade or destroy our space capabilities, denying the advantages that they provide,” he said, mentioning Russia and China, which have cyber jammers, lasers and missiles that can take out satellites.
To better compete, the command places a premium on speed. “We know a conflict that begins or extends into space over vast distances at tremendous speeds.” he said, noting that anti-satellite missiles can reach low-Earth orbit in a matter of minutes, moving at speeds of over 17,500 mph.
Raymond also mentioned that big organizations move slowly, and the Space Force and Space Command have to stay “lean, agile and fast.”
And, the Space Force has also shortened the decision-making process by removing unnecessary layers of bureaucracy and shortening the acquisition process, he added.
For instance, this year, the service brought in 50 software coders and then secured over 6,000 licenses to be used for defense software innovation.
What is Raymond’s next goal? “Our vision for a digital service should be out soon. Beyond our workforce, we aim to build a digital headquarters that designs and executes digital operations because we know there’s power in data, information and software,” he said.
Raymond said another goal is to improve partnerships with the other services, the intelligence community, allies, partners and the commercial sector. Historically, DOD space organizations have not had the number of partnerships as other domains such as land, air and sea, he said, adding “This has to change.”
He added, “This is an exciting and critical period for our country in space. As a spacefaring nation, we are strongest when the domain is secure and stable, accessible to enterprising Americans for scientific and economic reasons.”
Secretary of the Air Force Barbara M. Barrett addressed the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics during the first virtual Accelerating Space Commerce, Exploration, and New Discovery (ASCEND) event, on the importance of the newest service in the Department of Defense, Nov. 16.
Throughout her discussion, Barrett emphasized the vital role the United States Space Force plays in shaping the future of international space operations.
“The most important thing for the Space Force and the Air Force is working with allies and partners,” Barrett said. “So we’ve been teaming up. It’s not an exclusively American mission. It’s the world’s mission to encourage and ensure the future a free and open access to space, so that elements of space are not put off-limits to others.”
Instrumental to molding the first new military service since 1947, Barrett shared some insight on how the U.S. Air Force Academy has evolved to help build strong foundations for the next generation of USSF officers.
“At the Air Force Academy, we believe that in the field of Astronautics you learn space by doing space,” said Barrett. “So the Air Force Academy Cadets are building spacecraft. They’re building satellites. And, they’re putting them on the X-37B. In May, we launched an Air Force Academy cadet-built satellite into space. “
Barrett also noted that USAFA recently started a Space Operations degree program, which will further enable building depth in space expertise.
On current operations, Secretary Barrett highlighted the role the service has on lives throughout the world.
“In our everyday life, we’re using space constantly, but we often don’t recognize [it],” said Barrett. “Just think about the GPS system alone and consider how much we depend upon the system. It’s accessible to everyone globally and it takes just 8 to 10 people during a single shift to operate it. So, a total of 40 people operate this extraordinary system upon which so much of our current economy depends.”
Continuing her remarks, Barrett spoke about the vulnerabilities that the 31 satellites currently face and how the USSF is leading the way to not only keep the GPS satellite network available but also to maintain Space as a free and open domain.
“It’s broadly used. It’s transformative, but it’s fragile. And, space debris is really a danger to things like our GPS systems. We’ve got to minimize their vulnerability. And, we have to have the capability to deter others from doing damage to that system upon which so much depends,” said Barrett. “So, we are building processes and doctrine of what is threatening and what is to be acceptable behavior in space. “
In her closing remarks, the secretary stressed the vital need of a dedicated Space Force.
“A final word, I would simply say we are building the United States Space Force to protect the free and benevolent use of that ultimate frontier, the ultimate high ground—space. Semper Supra,” she concluded.
BY DAVID VERGUN, DOD NEWS