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.

SPEECH | Sept. 12, 2019

Recognition of the Establishment Ceremony - General John Raymond

Recognition of the Estabishment Ceremony —

General John Raymond

Command seal

Transcribed on:

September 12 2019 


USSPACECOM Public Affairs


Good morning.  Beautiful day, isn't it?  Chairman Dunford, Congressman Lamborn, Mr. Secretary, distinguished visitors—but most importantly, the men and women of U.S. Space Command, it is a spectacular day here at Peterson as we recognize the establishment of our nation's 11th and newest unified combatant command.  I thank the state and local leaders that are here with us today.  I'd like to give a special shout-out to the Mayor plus Mr. Bill and Frankie Tutt and Don Addy.  Thank you for all you do for us.  You provide us such great support—not only to us, but to our families.  


I'd also like to take a moment to recognize my wife Molly who, when the Senate confirmed me for this position, the Command won the lottery, and it wasn't because of me.  It's because of Molly, and Molly has worked tirelessly to take care of not only our family but our military family—and so Molly, thank you very much.


I'd like to recognize Molly's brother Joe and our niece Jenny and her husband Kyle for flying in from Minnesota to be with us today—it means a lot to us.  Thanks for being here.  


And Chairman Dunford, by presiding over today's ceremony, you honor this Command.  We can't thank you enough.  It means a lot to our space warfighters that you are here and on behalf of everyone in attendance today, thank you for your leadership of the Joint Force over these past four years and for your 42 years of service to our nation.


What a surreal couple of weeks it's been.  It was the honor of my lifetime to represent the men and women of this Command during the formal establishment ceremony at The White House in the Rose Garden.  It was pretty cool.  President Trump presided over that ceremony along with Vice President Pence and Secretary of Defense Esper.  In his remarks, the President stated, and I quote "As the newest combatant command, SPACECOM will defend America's vital interests in space, the next warfighting domain.  The establishment of the 11th combatant command is a landmark moment."  And he paused, and he said "No, this is a landmark day."  It was truly a landmark day and I thank the President, the Vice President, the Secretary of Defense for establishing this new Command and for the honor of being its first commander.


The Command's inception couldn't be timelier.  We find ourselves at a strategic inflection point where there's nothing that we do as a joint force that isn't enabled by space and yet simultaneously we can no longer have the luxury of assuming space superiority.  We are the best in the world at space and last Thursday, with the establishment of U.S. Space Command, we're even better because now we have a command with a singular focus on space superiority.  


Many in this hangar remember the original U.S. Space Command right here at Peterson Air Force Base from 1985 to 2002.  I was honored to serve in that Command as a young major for a short period of time and I know there are others that are here that probably served in that Command as well.  General McMahon, thank you, sir, for being here.  And we're very honored to have with us General Howell Estes, former commander of U.S. Space Command.  Sir, thank you, and thank you for your continued leadership and mentorship.  


When the Cold War ended and the threat to space diminished, we stood down the Command and established U.S. NORTHCOM focused on protecting our homeland in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  As a country, we are extremely lucky to have General O'Shaughnessy and Donna leading this critical Command—and personally, Molly and I are lucky to call them neighbors and friends.  Thanks for being here.  


In 2002, when the Command deactivated, the responsibility for space transitioned to United States Strategic Command and for the past 17 years STRATCOM was the Steward of this warfighting domain.  We've been lucky to have commanders such as General 'Chilli' Chilton, General Bob Kehler, Admiral Cecil Haney, and General John Hyten.  General Hyten and his wife Laura are with us today.  General Hyten is among the finest officers that I've ever had the privilege to serve with—even though he couldn't get into Clemson.  I had to throw that in there.


Sir, it's been a great privilege to serve with you and under your command.  I would ask you a favor—if you would please pass along our sincere gratitude to the men and women of United States Strategic Command who have worked so tirelessly to advance the space mission and to get us to this historic point.  I also want to thank you in advance for your continued support because we're gonna rely on U.S. Strategic Command as we get our warfighting legs underneath us. 


In 1985, in his speech at the establishment of the original U.S. Space Command, General Herres stated "As we give birth to this new Command today, one cannot help but reflect upon how much the world has changed within a short span of years and to wonder also what kinds of change must lie ahead in the years to come.  Those of us who will serve in this new Command are well aware that those changes are likely to have significant impact upon our nation's security needs, and that change will bring difficult challenges before us, so the mantle of responsibility that has been passed is heavy indeed.  This Command will have much to do with the preservation of our nation's capability to preserve peace, assure our freedoms, and guarantee the sovereignty of the United States for future generations."


So today, we've built on the legacy of this original United States Space Command—but this is a different command built for a different time.  Built to compete, deter, and win in an extremely complex and quickly evolving strategic environment.  The new U.S. Space Command's missions involve four distinct areas of focus.  First, we will deter aggression and conflict from beginning or extending into space.  We will strengthen our deterrence through the provision of space warfighting options that preserve U.S. and Allied competitive advantages and promote security and stability.  


Let me be very clear:  Although space is clearly a warfighting domain, we do not want to fight a fight that extends into space.  We seek to deter that conflict and the best way I know how to do that is to do that from a position of strength.  


Next, we will defend U.S. and Allied interests to meet the demands of the National Defense Strategy.  The new U.S. Space Command mission has a much sharper focus on offensive and defensive operations.  Towards that end, we've established a Joint Task Force for Space Defense—a first.  And that's under the Command of Brigadier General Tom James.  If deterrence were to fail in coordination with our Joint Force, interagency, Allied, and commercial partners, we will lead the protection and defense of those critical capabilities that fuel both our way of life and our way of war.


Third, we will deliver space combat power to our joint and combined force.  Foundational to executing this effectively, we have designed U.S. Space Command to embed and build stronger partnerships with our Unified Combatant Command partners and allies from the onset. 


Last week, we established a Combined force Space Component Command—another first—under Major General Stephen Whiting's leadership.  This Command will work seamlessly with our allies to ensure our warfighters have the space capabilities that they have become accustomed to have over the years.


And finally, we will develop ready and lethal space forces.  A warrior ethos is a combat enabler.  We will take our existing space warfighting culture established with the original United States Space Command, honed in the Cold War and hardened in the many conflicts since and adapted to today's strategic environment.  We will further embed that warfighting culture among our greatest resource—our people—with a singular focus on space as a supporting and a supported combat capability.


I couldn't be more proud of the team.  We need to recognize the fact that by establishing this Command, we have reached a significant milestone.  However, we have a big task ahead.  We must move fast and we must be bold in fielding space warfighting capabilities in order to execute our assigned missions.  


For the men and women that are standing in formation and for those in this Command, you are the foundation of our great strength.  You have my complete trust and confidence and I couldn't be more proud to serve at your side.  You are the source of U.S. Space Command's combat power and I know that together we will answer the call of our new national imperative for space.


Now it's time to get to work.  Thanks a lot.