Watch, Read: CSO Gen. Raymond’s Keynote from AFA’s vASC 2020

Video: Air Force Association on YouTube

Space Force Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond presented his keynote address for AFA’s virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference from the Pentagon on Sept. 15, 2020, in front of a live audience of Airmen and space professionals. Here is a transcript of his speech:

“Good morning, and greetings from the Pentagon auditorium. I’m here with about 50 space professionals stationed from around the National Capital Region, some of the newest members of the United States Space Force. I want to thank each and every one of you for being here with me today. It’s unfortunate that COVID is keeping us from gathering in person at the AFA conference over at the Gaylord hotel. And what has become the largest and best professional development opportunity for the Air Force and for the Space Force. But I truly appreciate the work of AFA’s leadership, under the leadership of [retired Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force and AFA Chairman of the Board] Gerald Murray and of [AFA President Bruce “Orville”] Wright, and the work of the Air Force and Space Force teams to reinvent this conference into a virtual opportunity. Despite this pandemic, this is a really exciting and a really critical, consequential time in the history of national security space. And I’m excited to share with you an update on the newest branch of the armed service, the United States Space Force. 

“Today, we are entering into a defining period for this country in space. We have an expansive spirit of exploration and experimentation. Our nation is strongest when space is secure and stable, accessible to enterprising Americans and economic and scientific pursuits. But we are on the cusp of a tectonic shift in warfare. Access to space can no longer be assumed. It must be underpinned by strength. And if deterrence fails, I’m convinced that the next major conflict with a peer competitor will be won or lost in space. 

“In order to be ready for the conflict, we must be bold. We must innovate. And we must move and we must think faster. And we must empower and leverage the outstanding talent that we have in this room and around the force. These imperatives are in the DNA of the Space Force. In fact, that’s why we were established. The Space Force has a bias towards action. Since the 50s, the Air Force has been a leader in the national security space enterprise. Giants like General [Bernard] Schriever, [James V.] Hartinger, [Donald J.] Kutyna. Generals [Charles A.] Horner, [Joseph W.] Ashy, [Howell M.] Estes. [Richard B.] Meyers, [Ralph E. “Ed”] Eberhart, [Lance W.] Lord. [Kevin P.] Chilton, [C. Robert] Kehler, [William L.] Shelton, and [John E.] Hyten. All Air Force leaders that built the world’s greatest national security space enterprise. Unfortunately, we lost one of these giants just a few months ago, [Gen.] Tom Moorman. An exceptional general, an exceptional human, and a true leader of space operations. He was the commander of Air Force Space Command when we first integrated space into theater operations and our hearts and prayers are with his wife Barbara and their family. The first, and he was the commander back in the first space war, which was deemed, you know, Desert Storm was deemed the first space war. We are the world’s greatest space force, and that shouldn’t be lost on anyone.

“But our adversaries are moving deliberately and quickly, in order to reduce our advantage. We are extremely lucky to have Secretary Barbara Barrett as our Secretary of the Air Force to help lead us to meet these new challenges. Secretary Barrett, on behalf of all of our space professionals, thank you for your leadership and your dedication to the space professionals that we are both so privileged to lead. I’m also very excited to have an opportunity to partner with the Chief of Staff the Air Force Gen. [Charles] CQ Brown. Gen. Brown is a classmate of mine from Air Command and Staff College and we’ve worked very closely for the last 24 years, worked very closely together. And he’s an incredible Airman. And there is nobody, absolutely nobody more qualified, to lead the Air Force and to partner with the Space Force than C.Q. Brown. C.Q .and Sharene, Mollie and I really look forward to serving with you in the years ahead. 

“We’re also very blessed to have Chief Master Sergeant Roger Towberman, Toby Towberman, as our Senior Enlisted Leader. Chief Towberman is a brilliant warfighter, intelligence professional, and leader. He cares deeply about our force, and he and his wife, Rachel, make a difference every single day. Chief, thanks for being here this morning. And thank you for serving at my side. I also want to thank the President, the Vice President, and the Secretary of Defense for the privilege of serving as the first Chief of Space Operations. I am truly humbled. I also want to thank Congress for passing the National Defense Authorization Act to establish the Space Force. You got this exactly right. This law gives us a huge opportunity to start with a clean sheet of paper to build a service from the ground up, purpose-built to compete, to deter, and to win and lead globally in space. And that’s exactly what we are doing. And we began with doctrine. You know, in 1931, the Air Corps Tactical School moved to Maxwell [Air Force Base] in Montgomery, Alabama. It would become the birthplace of American air doctrine. Where the foundational beliefs about air power were debated and documented by Airmen named Fairchild, George, Hansell, and Chennault. Everything from tactics, theories of victory, and independent air-centric operations were developed by these pioneers.

“You know, last fall, even before the National Defense Authorization Act established our service, 22 space power experts, including the names like Beard, Grosselin, Print, and Surman, articulated an independent theory of space power. Established on the purpose and identity of military space professionals and affirmed a strong commitment to two demanding professions: the mastery of space and the mastery of warfare. Because of their work, just seven months after our establishment, we published ‘Spacepower: Doctrine for Space Forces.’ This is the book. If you haven’t had an opportunity to read it, I encourage you to get a copy.

“We know this doctrine isn’t perfect, but it lays the foundation for the intellectual dialogue on space. And again, I encourage all space and Airmen to read it and throw your voice into the conversation. Let me be really clear: We do not want to get into a conflict that begins or extends into space. We wanted to deter that from happening. However, if deterrence fails, a war that begins or extends into space will be fought over great distances at tremendous speeds. Both posing great challenges.

You know, U.S. Indo-PACOM is the largest, has the largest area of responsibility on Earth, approximately 10,000 miles across, from California to the west coast of India. But it pales, it pales in comparison to the vastness of space, the space AOR.  The U.S. Space Command’s AOR, commander’s AOR, extends from 1,000 kilometers above the Earth’s surface globally and higher. Yet, direct descent anti-satellite missiles can reach low Earth orbit in minutes. Electronic attacks and directed energy weapons move at the speed of light, and on-orbit capabilities move at speeds greater than 17,500 miles an hour. To plan for warfare at that speed and those distances, we must be lean, we must be agile, and we must be fast. You know, since establishment, we’ve been in the business of slashing bureaucracy, delegating authority, and enhancing accountability at every crossroads. My opinion, big organizations are slow, and we must move at speed to outpace the threats that we face. We just completed the largest reorganization in the history of our space enterprise. We removed two echelons, echelons of command, a numbered Air Force Command, and an O-6 level command. We’ve also reduced the size of our planned staff at the Pentagon. Back when we started, the Pentagon staff was going to be over 1,000 people. That was the initial plan. We’ve slashed that by 40 percent. We’re shortening the distance between decision makers, and you, the experts conducting our mission.

“But internal service actions are only part of the solution. We have a unique opportunity to be a disruptive innovator, and an incubator for change across the entire Department of Defense. In the lead up to the establishment of the Space Force, Congress highlighted 65 different organizations that had a hand in space acquisition, with close to 30 organizations having a role in force design. So now we are going to go after that bureaucracy. Space Force is a mandate for change. We must bring unity of effort across the department, we must reduce duplication of effort. We must slash costs, all while increasing our speed. If we get this right, we will be the envy of the other services, because we are not tied to business of the past. This is not to say that we don’t have the preeminent space capabilities in our country today, in the world today. 

“You know, on January 7, Iran fired more than a dozen missiles and Al Asad Air Base. Space professionals assigned to the 2nd Space Warning Squadron up at Buckley in Colorado, were standing the watch, operating the exquisite Space-Based Infrared System. The 2nd Space Warning Squadron team detected the launch, insured vulnerable forces took shelter. Capt. Tasia Reed and Lt. Christianna Castaneda personally planned the mission, ensuring optimal sensor coverage. This optimization resulted in vital early warning getting to the theater of operations and preserving the lives of U.S. personnel and their partners. They operated the world’s best missile warning capabilities. And they did outstanding work. And I’m very, very proud of them.

However, the capabilities they operated were designed and built for an uncontested domain. We need to build for the future. In doing so, we must first protect what we have on orbit today. Our national security demands nothing less. Next, we must bridge to a new force design, a warfighting architecture able to meet the threat while reducing first maneuver advantage. And third, we must have the ability to punch back. The unified command plan is clear. U.S. Space Command commander must have the independent options through and from space to ensure freedom of action in all domains. And finally, we must identify new missions that should be conducted from space. Tactical level ISR is the perfect example. Therefore, I will accept moderate risk in order to innovate and to experiment. To ensure our long-term competitive advantage and to move towards a new business model, and Congress agrees, and as required in the law, we are proposing a new acquisition system for space. We’ve already begun implementing that. We’ve already delegated the head of contracting authority down from the Pentagon staff to the acquisition experts in the field. We know from experience, this kind of delegation speeds up acquisition decisions, and makes us better partners for industry. This is just the first of a number of changes coming so that we can design, and build, and field capabilities at tactically relevant timelines. 

The X-37B [Ortbital Test Vehicle] is the perfect example of tactical relevance. This team recently won the 2019 Collier Trophy for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America. Our future also took a ride on the latest launch of the X-37B: Falcon Sat 8, ‘The Ocho.’ Great young minds of the Air Force Academy class of 2019 and 2020 built this satellite. Some of them are lieutenants in the United States Space Force today.

“Even with the best capabilities and the best minds, we can’t do this alone. We must integrate, because we are clearly stronger together. The Space Force is working very hard to develop robust partnerships with the intelligence community, our sister services, and our total force and our allies. Today, our partnership with the intelligence community has never been better. We have a shared protect and defend strategy, a combined concept of operations. We operate together, we train together, we exercise together, and we develop capabilities together. And as good as that relationship is, it must evolve. With new technology, the Space Force can develop and operate tactical-level ISR systems critical to our success on the battlefield at the speed of need.

We must also forge stronger partnerships with our sister services. Today, it’s no surprise that we are closely integrated with the United States Air Force. We now have to foster that same level of integration and trust across the entire joint force. We also get incredible capacity and capability from our total force team. In fact, we cannot execute our space missions today without the Air National Guard and the Reserve. They deliver wartime surge capacity, operational depth, and seamless day-to-day support to our missions. Historically, we’ve not had the same partnerships with our allies in space that we’ve had in other domains. This has to change. And I’m pleased to report that it is. We are transitioning these partnerships largely from a one-way data sharing relationship to developing operational capabilities together. On the capability and development front, the Space Force has established a chief partnership office at the Space and Missile System Center under the leadership of Mrs. Deanna Ryals. Deanna and her team are leading the way and expanding our space partnerships with Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom, France, and Germany. As a further example, we’ve partnered with Norway to host two of our payloads. This is going to save us $900 million and get capability onto orbit three years sooner than if we did it on our own. I just got back from Japan, we’re partnering with them as well. We’re gonna place a space situational awareness payload on their QZSS satellite. QZSS satellite is a GPS augmentation satellite. These efforts improve our capabilities, and they strengthen our partnerships between our great nations. In addition to our need to partner, we also need to innovate and outpace our adversaries. To do so, we need to build the Space Force as a digital service from the ground up. As we build this digital service, we are focusing on three components: a digital workforce, a digital headquarters, and digital engineering. 

“Let me highlight a few of our early wins. To start, we’re bringing 50 software coders into the space force by the end of this year, and we expect that number to grow and have organic expertise inside of the United States Space Force. Additionally, to increase the digital fluency of the entire force, we’ve issued 6,000 licenses to Digital University. Our expectation is that all Space Force members will speak a second language, and that language is digital. We established our Kobayashi Maru software team that is leading the charge in modernizing defense software, software development, in partnership with our allies. The work we are doing to build a unified data library will also serve as the foundation for Joint All-Domain Command and Control. And finally, we’re adopting digital engineering as our service standard.

Let me tell you about two space professionals who are making this vision a reality. First Lt. Torrey Smith, and 1st Lt. Jackie Cromer, are digital experts. They came to me about a year ago with a plan for digital service. And we empowered them to make their plan a reality. They’re now here on our team. And they’re implementing that plan. Shaping the digital blueprint for the Space Force. These two officers are just what we need in the Space Force. The outstanding talent, the outstanding talent we need to continue to build. The Space Force is focused on recruiting and retaining number one recruits. We plan on being very, very selective. We’re going to interview everybody that comes into the Space Force. We’re building a 21st century human capital management plan to ensure we get the best talent our nation has to offer. Our leaders and teams will embrace diversity and inclusion as a key element of readiness and lethality. We will get this right from day one. Every single space professional should know that they are noticed and needed. Their unique cultures, perspectives, experiences, and beliefs are a force enabler. They underwrite our ability to be agile and innovative, to compete and to win. Additionally, we must ensure we take care of our world class families, we recruit space professionals, but we retain spouses, sons, and daughters. 

“Building a world-class team also requires us to overhaul how we train and develop our warfighters. At the 533rd and the 319th Training Squadrons, we have completely transformed our education and training from undergraduate to advanced follow-on courses, all to ensure our operators have the knowledge and skills to compete. We’ve increased the rigor of these courses, increased the access to classified material, materials. We’ve also developed new follow-on training courses in orbital warfare, electronic warfare, and space battle management. We didn’t have those courses before, and roughly 120 students have already graduated, and more students are in the pipeline. 

“One of the professionals I’d like to introduce you to is Master Sgt. Rob Yarnes, who works in the current Operations Division at Joint Task Force Base Defense out at Schriever Air Force Base. He is a master of space and a joint warfighter. He understands how to get the most combat capability out of our current systems. He brought this experience from Joint Task Force Base Defense to help co-author the capstone doctrine that I mentioned earlier. And he built the courseware for an advanced instructor course for enlisted space professionals that’s the precursor to a weapon school for enlisted operators in the United States Space Force. Thank you, Master Sgt. Yarnes. 

“This year we celebrate 75 years since the end of World War II. At the war memorial in Washington D.C., on the floor of the north and south pavilions, there is a large rendering of the victory medal surrounded by the words, ‘victory on land, victory at sea, and victory in the air.’ I am not confident that we can achieve victory or even compete in a modern conflict without space power. And I’m not willing to lose in order to learn. Today, the Space Force is answering that call to compete. Forging a warfighting service that is always above. I’m really proud to lead you into the future, and I can’t thank you enough for your service. 

“Now we get to do something really cool. We’re going to transition to a mass swearing-in ceremony. And I would like to invite the Secretary of the Air Force, Secretary Barbara Barrett, and Chief Master Sgt. Towberman to join me on stage. So, today we have are space operations located around the globe, so Thule Air Base, Greenland, Central Command in Afghanistan and Qatar, all the way over to the Pacific with Japan, and all the places in between in the continental United States. So we’ve got probably close to three or 400 operators that are here with us today virtually in those locations spread out around the globe. And we’re going to take the oath to officially bring those Airmen into the United States Space Force. And so if the folks that are on the screen can see me, if you will please rise. And we’re going to start, we’ll start with the officers. 

Towberman: “Auditorium, please, come on up.”

Raymond: “Raise your right hand and repeat after me. ‘I having been appointed an officer in the United States Space Force, do solemnly swear that I’ll support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. That I’ll bear true faith and allegiance to the same. That I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. And that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I’m about to enter, so help me God.’ Congratulations, and welcome to the United States Space Force.

“I would now like to enlist the new enlisted members into the United States Space Force, so if you’ll please stand, raise your right hand, and repeat after me. ‘I, state your name, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. That I’ll bear true faith and allegiance to the same. That I’ll obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulation, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, so help me God.’ 

“Congratulations. Again, welcome to the United States Space Force. 

“So as you can see, space is a global force, and the representation that you see here on the slides or in the Zoom call, shows just how global we are. I mean, think about it, we have folks in, north of the Arctic Circle, all the way over to the Pacific, into the CENTCOM AOR, all around the United States, all performing our critical space mission, 24/7, for the benefit of our nation, our partners, and for our joint coalition warfighters. I couldn’t be more proud to be on this team, and I really appreciate all that you do each and every day for our service. Madam Secretary, thank you for being here with us to mark this special occasion, and Chief, thank you for being on our team. We’re really, really proud and excited to serve with each and every one of you. And with that, we’ll sign off on this, and thank you very much.”