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SPEECH | Sept. 17, 2019

AFA Media Roundtable with General Raymond

AFA Media Roundtable with Gen Raymond

Sept. 17, 2019

Note: The reporters (20 members total) were not mic’d and hard to hear in the audio recording. Based the quality of recording, the reporter’s name, affiliation and overall topic of their questions are listed as thoroughly as possible. 


RAYMOND: Good evening, everyone, and thank you for taking time to meet with me today. I’m not sure how many of you were able to listen to my speech earlier, but I appreciate the opportunity to sit down and discuss our vision for the future of military space with you, as well as highlight the incredible work our military is currently doing with allied partners and industry partners. 

It’s an exciting time to be in the space business right now, and I couldn’t be more honored to lead our talented men and women in the Armed Forces as we further develop space warfighters in Air Force Space Command and U.S. Space Command. As you all know, the Department of Defense recently established its 11th combatant command with a singular focus on protecting and defending the space domain, and we are concentrated on producing combat-ready forces prepared to fight for and preserve United States and Allied space superiority. 

Space is no longer a benign environment. It is a warfighting domain, and we are actively working with our allies and partners to promote peace, deter aggression, and if necessary, fight and win. 

As I stated earlier, our strategy is focused on our ability to deter, defend, deliver, and develop – based on the direction given in the National Defense Strategy and Unified Command Plan. The way in which we deter aggression, defend U.S. and Allied interests, deliver combat power to the joint and international forces, and develop ready and lethal forces all within the space domain directly impacts the success of the Department of Defense and our allies. 

Again, this is an exciting time for the space community. I’m privileged to represent the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines of the United States Space Command as we answer our nation’s call to ensure space superiority to secure our way of life and our way of war. At this time, I’d like to open the floor up for questions.

QUESTION – Integrating space operators in other commands?

RAYMOND – Today we integrate space in the air component commands and AOCs around the world. Our main integration touch points are in those AOCs – where we embed space operators. Those teams work at the strategic level. They will be integrated at the COCOM at the strategic level, not just the tactical AOC level…These teams will be comprised of space experts at all the Combatant Commands as we meet the imperatives of the national defense strategy it’s going to be very important we integrate at the strategic level.

QUESTION – Will space command’s purpose be to develop (inaudible) Russia and Chinese land-based targets that has anti-satellite potential (inaudible)…?

RAYMOND: We are going to develop the necessary plans that all Combatant Commands do to conduct warfighting business in space…As our National Defense Strategy says, we will respond in a place, time, domain and manner of our choosing to protect our assets. 

QUESTION(Defense One) Small satellites, sensors…vulnerability that might exist in smallsat constellations as we rely more on them? 

RAYMOND – What we’re looking at doing is developing a more hybrid architecture rather than a one-size-fits-all model – a mixture of larger satellites and smaller satellites so that you don’t have a vulnerability that (inaudible)…What you’ll see in the future is a more hybrid architecture going forward, which will provide us more resiliency and balance three things, resiliency, mission performance and costs. 

QUESTION – (Defense One…inaudible)

RAYMOND – I think that everything has vulnerabilities and we will architect our systems to make sure there isn’t one vulnerability that (inaudible)

QUESTION – (Defense Daily, Vivienne Machi) What are target dates for IOC and FOC for Space Command? Who is responsible for selecting the service components’ headquarters locations?

RAYMOND – We don’t have a specific date for IOC or FOC. What we are doing is moving out with a sense of urgency towards that end but we are going to build the conditions needed to reach that, a condition-based decision. To your second question, each of the services will identify the service component to U.S. Space Command. The Air Force has identified Air Force Space Command as the service component command to USSPACECOM and the other services are doing that. It’s a services function to formally document and decide that.

QUESTION – (Space News, Sandra Erwin) What is your thinking for how SMC is going to provide SSA to SPACECOM? I know you have concerns about the quality of SSA. What steps are you taking in that regard?

RAYMOND – I think SMC is doing a great job. My concern, as we make this shift from a benign domain to a warfighting domain, the information you the need for SSA changes. For example, if it’s a benign domain without any threat, just knowing where you’re sitting is good enough…to know where you’re at and you’re not going to hit any debris in space is enough. But if it’s a contested domain, you need a lot more information than just the address of where something is in space. You need a lot more information about it. So it’s about making that shift from metric tracking and knowing the address of an object, to having much fuller set of information. That’s the shift we’re going through. We’re partnering with our Allies to do that and the intelligence community and commercial capabilities. We’re also working a data strategy for how you handle all that data. There’s a lot of ways we’re getting after it, but it’s nothing against one organization. It’s just the requirements of SSA have shifted.

QUESTION - (Space News, Sandra Erwin) On a scale from 1 to 10, how satisfied with where you are now?

RAYMOND – We’re the best in the world, but I’ll never be satisfied as the person responsible for keeping the domain safe. More is better.

QUESTION(Reuters) You referenced fighter pilots in your speech. What would the fighter pilot in space look like?

RAYMOND – If you took that we don’t have great warfighters in space, that’s not what I was trying to say. It’s about how we move forward in how we build those warfighters [comparing fighter pilot training to commercial pilot training]. The fighter pilot has a deeper understanding of the domain, it’s capabilities, how to operate those capabilities under threat, what it’s ancillary capabilities are…it’s all the above.

QUESTION(C4ISRNET) Recently NRO and SPACECOM discussed how NRO would take directions from SPACECOM...Are there more organizations you need to properly (inaudible) those satellites?

RAYMOND – We’ve got organizational structure in place with U.S. Space Command. We now have missions assigned from the Unified Command Plan. We’ve got great partnerships and the C2 capabilities and what we agreed to was to do the planning necessary to have the playbook, if you will, for how we would defend those satellites in a time of need and the give the U.S. Space Command commanders the ability to make direction (inaudible) based on that playbook. 

QUESTION(C4ISRNET) As you go through those exercises, do you feel like you have what you need when directing them?

RAYMOND – I feel very comfortable that I have what I need today to protect and defend satellites, and I feel with the U.S. Space Command and a U.S. Space Force that we will develop those capabilities we need to stay ahead of that growing threat. But I am comfortable today.

QUESTION – Wide based AOR, integrated satellite architecture, SATCOM…Is that still the case? What is the pathway to that? What does industry have to do to help?

RAYMOND – Around December 2018, in my Air Force Space Command hat, I took responsibility for the procurement of commercial SATCOM by the NDAA and that gives us great opportunity. We’ve had several meetings with commercial industry partnering with them on a vision going forward and plan to publish a document (inaudible) in the coming months. We’re eager to work with industry and the relationships provided by the NDAA will give us a great advantage. 

QUESTION – Schriever Wargame lessons learned

RAYMOND – We’ve learned a lot with each wargame. This year on our big takeaways, and it’s been this way the past few years, just how important our coalition partnerships are in space. That provided a great advantage during the game and it’s clear we’re stronger together. It’s also clear our focus is to deter conflict. We do want a fight that extends or begins in space, and I think our coalition gives us great strength. 

QUESTION – What about the new COCOM’s role?

RAYMOND – It helps streamline the relationship with our joint warfighting partners around the world and sharpens our focus with our Allied partners as we play the Combatant Command. 

QUESTION(Signal Magazine, Kimberly Underwood) Can you talk about your vision for leveraging more partnerships and what countries are you looking to build on?

RAYMOND – Historically in space as a benign domain, the need for partnerships wasn’t as great as now in a warfighting domain. We’re working very hard with our five eyes partners and France, Germany and Japan. We have sharing agreements with many more countries where we share SSA data and services. We’ve opened up our schoolhouses for more training opportunities. We have a command and control center that’s manned with our five eyes partners, we also have a multilateral space collaboration cell (inaudible)…We are open for partnerships and eager to have more.

QUESTION(Breaking Defense, Theresa Hitchens) Has the new command changed the investment strategy for space in regards to the DOD’s budget?

RAYMOND – I wouldn’t say the investment strategy has changed. I would say the strategic environment that we face and the National Defense Strategy has shifted our investments (inaudible)…

QUESTION (JIJI Press Japan) What countries are participating in Global Sentinel and how has it different this year, and what role does Japan have?

RAYMOND – I’ll have to get you the specifics on the number of countries that are playing. Japan is a strong partner. It’s an exercise focused on space situational awareness. We invited Japan to play last year in Schriever Wargame. We see great value in our partnership with Japan and will continue to exercise with them. 

QUESTION(Washington Post, David Montgomery) Future of space 2060 document urged the military to have a role in promoting military and commercial activity on earth and space. Do you agree with that vision?

RAYMOND – Yes, in my AFSPC hat, I was the one who chartered that effort. My science and technology team pulled together a broader group to talk about strategy (inaudible)…It’s clear the missions we’ve been given today are more near-term focused; however, it’s very important we continue to push the boundaries for our future and that’s what our science and technology team does. 

QUESTION – The SDA has a new warfighting council. I was hoping you could talk about feedback on that from AFSPC and SPACECOM…

RAYMOND – In my new role as the SPACECOM commander, I’ll have a very strong voice in that council as they are providing capabilities that will meet my requirements (inaudible)…

QUESTION(Inside Defense, Courtney Albon) Regarding initial numbers and requirements for IOC…

RAYMOND – We started on 29 August in the headquarters building with about 270 personnel dedicated to the command at the headquarters level. But more than that, we have operation centers like the NSDC and CSpOC (inaudible) about 300 there as well, so that 640-ish number includes those at the headquarters and those at the operations centers. At the HQ level, we are going through the process of going through requirements and validating those requirements (inaudible)…Although those numbers are still being finalized, it will be consistent with (inaudible)

QUESTION – When do you think you’ll have those numbers approved?

RAYMOND – We had the commander’s conference this past week just after the ceremony in Colorado Springs…We have a pretty good sense of what those numbers are going to be and will finalize those in the next month or so and then I’ll present that to my leadership.

QUESTION(Defense Daily) Has the Netflix Space Force show reached out to you?

RAYMOND – The reason this conversation is going on in this country right now is because it’s really important. I can’t overstate the importance of this dialogue and standing up the U.S. Space Command and a separate branch of the Armed Services. It’s an imperative. Not just a space imperative but a joint warfighting imperative. You look at the National Defense Strategy and listen to all the other speakers here, the foundation of that is space superiority. We have a strong opportunity to accelerate our efforts and it’s a great time to be in this business.

QUESTION(Bloomberg) mentioned working with intelligence agencies in your speech…

RAYMOND – DIA just published a report and that’s what I was referring to. The report walks through the threat. With China, the scope, scale and complexity of the threat is concerning and it’s something we take seriously and are prepared for today to stay ahead….includes everything from low (inaudible) jamming of satellites and GPS all the way to kinetic disruption (inaudible)

QUESTION – Working with commercial partners, constellation satellites

RAYMOND – Something that came out of Schriever Wargame a few years ago and we still have it, is the commercial integration cell in our Combined Space Operations Center. We have commercial partner representatives on the floor and it allows us to share data with them…We’re working very closely them them.

QUESTION – Rework international framework with countries for rules in space?

RAYMOND – Yes, I support that. One of the things we’re doing with our Allied partners is we’re operating in a responsible manner and demonstrating what good behavior in space looks like everyday.

QUESTION(CNBC) Did you ever think you’d have billionaires investing in space like that have for fun?

RAYMOND – I don’t know if it’s “just for fun.” They’ve stated what their goals are. Essentially when I was a young colonel, I worked in an organization called (inaudible) and I was given a project that it was referred to get after this new business model in space to build a satellite really cheap to meet a specific warfighting requirement. That was right at the beginning of SpaceX and we actually gave Elon Musk his first contract and it for a Falcon-1 rocket. Even earlier in my career, as a young captain, I was the commercial space officer for AFSPC. In the early 1990s, there was an iridium and (inaudible)…I have been steeped in interfacing with the commercial businesses for a while and I see great things coming from that. 

QUESTION – Recently, have you met with Vigin or SpaceX leadership?

RAYMOND – All the above. Again, I see great opportunity in working with them in the future. If you look at NASA, we have an Air Force colonel at the International Space Station right now. You look at what’s going on with NASA going to the Moon and Mars, the commercial industry, our Allied partners and their developments in space capabilities, you look at what’s going on for national security in space, all of that has energy behind it. It’s a fascinating time and exciting to lead Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers and Marines in what’s foundational to our national security. 

Note: The full audio files can be found at

Transcribed by Capt Lauren Hill, Air Force Space Command Public Affairs,