Senate Confirms Raymond to Lead Revived US Space Command

Gen. Jay Raymond, who leads both Air Force Space Command and the re-established US Space Command, is shown at an all call with the the 5th Combat Communications Group at the Museum of Aviation at Robins AFB, Ga., on April 24, 2017. Air Force photo by Edward Aspera.

The Senate confirmed Gen. Jay Raymond to be the first commander of the re-established US Space Command late June 27.

Raymond will continue to lead Air Force Space Command for at least the first year even as he takes the helm of the Defense Department’s newest combatant command, which is expected to begin standing up this year.

The Pentagon’s 2020 budget request allocates $83.8 million to US Space Command, funding about 643 military and civilian staffers, who will transfer from US Strategic Command to help stand up the new command.

During his nomination hearing, Raymond declined to give a timeline for when the new command would reach initial or full operational capability, saying that will largely be conditions based. However, he said he would focus on ensuring the command met certain requirements before declaring IOC, including:

  • The ability to “accomplish independent intelligence, indications and warning (I&W); operations, command and control (C2), and campaign planning functions required of a combatant command
  • The command must be postured with the appropriate forces, resources, and authorities.

Both the Senate’s version of the 2020 defense policy bill, which also was approved on June 27, and the House version, which is expected to be taken up next month, look to establish a new military service focused on space. However, there are significant differences between the two plans that will need to be ironed out in conference.

Under the Senate’s plan, Air Force Space Command would be transformed into a Space Force, a new military service that falls under the Department of the Air Force. As such, Raymond would then be dual-hatted as both commander of US Space Command and of the Space Force for one year before the jobs are split.