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USSPACECOM transcript header
TRANSCRIPT | Aug. 20, 2020

USSPACECOM Change of Command - CJCS

Command seal


U.S. Space Command
Change of Command Ceremony
Hangar 140, Peterson AFB, Colo.
 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark A. Milley 
20 August 2020

STAFF:  Thank you, Secretary Esper.  It is now my privilege to present the 20th Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark A. Milley.
GENERAL MARK MILLEY:  I could've sworn that we were just here, Shags.  Shags is supposed to be in civilian clothes, you're retired.  I don't know if anyone's told you that but you're retired there, big fella.  You're supposed to look like Renuart over here.
Hey, look it, just a couple of minutes here and -- and we'll conclude this but this is a big deal.  That little ceremony that you just saw a few minutes ago between Jay Raymond and Jim Dickinson is huge for America, really for the world, because this command, Space Command, as Secretary Esper just mentioned, is so critically important in today's world, given the various domains of war -- land, sea, air, cyber and -- and space.
So as we evolved over the last couple of years, much credit is due to the Air Force, much credit's due to now retired Dave Goldfein, much credit is due to the Secretary of Defense and thousands of people, but probably no more credit is due than is due to Jay Raymond. 
So Jay, I'm not going to recount your career, I'm just going to -- and you're still on active duty, you're not going the way of Shags, you're not putting civilian clothes on right now, you're the commander of a force that's responsible to train, man and equip the space warriors or space guardians, whatever the name's going to end up being, but those troopers that are going to defend this country from the ultimate high ground, as the Secretary said.
You are a national treasure.  You have created something that didn't exist before and you've created something that is unbelievably important.  As you look around this building right now, the reason you're here is because of capabilities in space. 
Some of you flew here, some of you drove but all of you came via GPS some way, somehow.  All of the planes on this airbase couldn't take off and land without the capabilities of space.  All of these televisions, all of your iPhones and -- and all of these iPads, all this -- all this Zoom stuff, none of that could be happening without the capabilities of space, and frankly none of our capabilities in space will be happening without Jay Raymond.
So Jay, you have done an unbelievable job.  Thank you so much on behalf of every American that's out there.  Thank you.
And Mollie, thank you.  As I mentioned before when we -- I didn't -- and I didn't mean to embarrass you, Leah, by calling you out but -- but the families are so critically important and Jay couldn't have done what he did without your support and the support of your entire family and he can't do what he's continuing to do as the first Chief of the Space Force without your support and love and care and dedication and sacrifice.  So thank you so much for what you and all the families do.
And for Jim Dickinson and his incredible family, a family of service, with his wife Angie and Debra back here -- Debra's a school teacher, married to an infantry major, an incredible example of service there.  Olivia is a journalist and we like to think that freedom of the press matters in our Constitution, so thank you for what you're doing every single day.  And their sons Hank and Joe both -- Joe wants to be a pilot and -- and Hank is in the -- in the construction business and his wife is a nurse. 
So you've got nurses, you've got teachers, you've got a future pilot -- military pilot, you've got an infantry officer and you've got a teacher and you've got a mom.  You talk about service, that's incredible service in the Dickinson family.  So thanks to all of you because Jim, as you mentioned earlier on your promotion, he wouldn't be here either without all of you.  So thank you for what you do.
And the Secretary noted, a lot of the accomplishments of Jim Dickinson -- and I won't rehash that -- but just to say that I've known Jim Dickinson for a long time, both as the Chief of Staff of the Army and in pre -- previous roles within the military. 
I've gotten to know him very, very well and I can tell you that when it came time to look at who's going to be the commander of SPACECOM following Jay Raymond, we did a -- a search, as you might -- as you might imagine.  The Secretary was very, very rigorous in his review process -- lots of interviews, looking and vetting through lots of records, and there were multiple, highly qualified, really talented candidates.
At the end of the day, Secretary Esper decided to nominate Jim Dickinson.  The reason he did that was because of obvious areas of competence, exceptional skill coming up through the system with the air defense artillery of the Army and a lot of joint experience in various commands, as the Secretary mentioned. 
So he has exceptional competence but also because of character.  Jim Dickinson is a man of enormous character and in this particular job, he's going to need every ounce of that character because he is going to have to continually render his best military advice to the Secretary of Defense and then the President in times of crisis, in good times and bad times and he's going to have to stand in the breach, be candid, honest, forthright, just as Jay Raymond did, just as every one of us in these positions has to do every day, day in and day out.
And it was for those reasons that Jim Dickinson, in addition to competence, it's his character that puts him on this stage before you.  I can tell you our nation and SPACECOM is in great hands with now General -- formerly Lieutenant General, now General Jim Dickinson.  So Jim, thanks for what you do, thanks for what you're about to do and thanks for your great leadership.
And lastly, to the -- to the soldiers and the sailors, the airmen and Marines, Coast Guardsmen, civilians out there not only SPACECOM, but Space Force. Right now, you're relatively small in number, but your impact on our nation is way bigger than your numbers would indicate.
So I just want to publicly thank each of you for what you every single day for all of us -- all 350 million Americans. Most of whom will never know you, but every single day you're impacting our lives in positive ways, so thank you for what you're doing and God bless America.