An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

News | Aug. 8, 2023

Ceremony shines spotlight on command’s asymmetric advantage -- its warfighters

By USSPACECOM Public Affairs U.S. Space Command

U.S. Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sgt. Scott Stalker relinquished responsibility of U.S. Space Command to U.S. Space Force Chief Master Sgt. Jacob Simmons during a change of responsibility ceremony at Peterson Space Force Base, Colo., August 7, 2023.

The ceremony recognizes the formal transfer of custody entrusted to the command senior enlisted leader and serves as a celebration and welcome to the outgoing and incoming leaders. The CSEL is responsible for the professional development, health and welfare of the command’s joint enlisted force comprised of all six branches of the U.S. military and assigned international partners

U.S. Army Gen. James Dickinson, commander of U.S. Space Command, officiated the ceremony and spoke of the significant role of the CSEL, while commending Stalker for his tenure at the command and his 31-years of dedicated service.

“The transfer of this key USSPACECOM leadership position is significant because of the CSEL’s role in leading our 18,000 members to perform our critical functions in the face of determined strategic competitors,” Dickinson said. “The rapidly changing strategic environment requires our joint space warfighters to outthink and outmaneuver our adversaries.”  

Stalker served as USSPACECOM’s second command senior enlisted leader, a role he held for nearly three years. During this time he was vital to educating the joint force on the importance of space, while growing the command’s enlisted force to achieve heightened levels of readiness and capability.

Dickinson highlighted what he considered Stalker’s most lasting contribution to the command -- instilling the warfighting ethos.

“The legacy that Master Gunnery Sergeant Scott Stalker leaves today will be felt for many years to come.  There’s no doubt we are a more capable warfighting organization because of him” he said.

Also in attendance at the event was U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Ramón “CZ” Colón-López, Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.  Colón-López spoke about the character and competence of Stalker and Simmons as well as reflected on the history of bold U.S. leadership in its approach to the domain.

In 1962, then-President John F. Kennedy told a crowd of more than 40,000 people at Rice University that American astronauts would land on the moon by the end of the decade and charged the United States to become the world’s leading space-faring nation.

Now, like then, “we must be bold,” Colón-López said … “always remember we are second to none.” And in emphasizing the important role of the CSEL, “you’re here to set that tone.”

A tone Stalker was well known for throughout his tenure.

“We must be prepared, we must stay ready, not get ready,” Stalker said in his remarks. “It’s always about warfighting readiness. Taking care of our people means we relentlessly prepare them.”

He, like the command’s first CSEL before him, U.S. Space Force Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman, now chief master sergeant of the Space Force, established a legacy of prioritizing people first.

“Our most important weapons system lives and breathes. There never has been and never will be a day without space because of the work you do every day,” said Stalker in a final message to the command. “I move on confident our future is in capable hands.”

Simmons comes to USSPACECOM after serving as the U.S. Space Force’s Space Operation Command senior enlisted leader. He has an extensive background in leveraging tactical to strategic space capabilities and effects, human capital leadership and military installation operations experience.

After passing the flag to become USSPACECOM’s third enlisted leader, Simmons echoed a similar theme, remarking that the ceremony was not about one single person, but rather a spotlight on the command’s “asymmetric advantage,” its people.

"As we field fast and as we forge forward, people and professionalism must always be our foundation,” he said.

Following the change of responsibility ceremony, Stalker retired honorably from the U.S. Marine Corps after 31 years of serving in a variety of theaters with multiple combat tours and contingency operations.

U.S. Space Command, working with Allies and Partners, plans, executes, and integrates military spacepower into multi-domain global operations in order to deter aggression, defend national interests, and when necessary, defeat threats.