Podcast: Interview with U.S. Space Force Chief

Gen. John Raymond, the chief of space operations, looks back at the first year of operations for the U.S. Space Force and ahead at what is to come for the sixth military service in 2021.

Don't miss a single episode. Subscribe to Aviation Week's Check 6 podcast in iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify and Google Play. Please leave us a review.

Below is a rush transcript of our interview with General Raymond.

Jennifer DiMascio:                 Hello, and welcome to the Check 6 Podcast. I'm Jen DiMascio, the executive editor for Defense and space. I'm here with Pentagon Editor Lee Hudson, Defense Editor Steve Trimble, and in celebration of the first anniversary of the creation of the U.S. Space Force, we have with us a very special guest, general John Raymond, the first chief of space operations. Welcome, general Raymond. We're so pleased to have you with us. I know you wanted to make a few opening comments. So I'll hand it over to you.

General John W. Raymond:   Yeah. Well, first of all, let me just say thank you. Thanks for the opportunity to chat. We're really excited on this end. 20 December of 2019, the National Defense Authorization Act was signed. I've been saying recently that that's our birth certificate. And so our birth certificate was signed. What's interesting, if you look at what was originally planned for the Space Force, the law was going to be signed and the thought was it would give us a year to figure things out and then actually start implementing. When the law came out, though, was a little different than what we had thought, and it said, "Start now."

                                           And so immediately re-shifted the plan, if you will. And on that day, 16,000 airmen from Air Force Space Command and civilians were assigned to the United States Space Force, I was named as the chief of space operations, and we were off and running. And over almost a year, we're coming up here. Just nine more days we'll celebrate our first birthday. But over that year, we've been really hard at work at what I call inventing the Space Force. And I use that term very purposefully. This isn't just doing business as we do [inaudible 00:03:04] other business, this is purpose building a service for a domain, the space domain. And that strategic environment has changed, the context of that domain has changed, and we need to do things differently.

                                           And so we have all been about starting with a clean sheet of paper and building this service from scratch, from the ground up. And looking back on the year. First of all, it's hard to believe it's been a year, but looking back on that year, if you look at the incredible amount of progresses being made, I'm very proud of it. We have a great team. When you stand up an independent service, our thought was you have to do five things. First, you have to develop your people. Second, you have to have your own budget. Third, you have to have your own doctrine. Fourth, you have to design your force. And then fifth, you have to present those forces to a joint commander to use in our national defense.

                                           We have made a ton of progress. We have completely reorganized the entire National Security space enterprise to flatten the bureaucracy and be able to move at speed. And if you look at the space domain that we operate in, that's going to be critical because that's a very vast domain and things move very quickly. We have completed all the processes to pick people and bring them [into the Space Force.] ... I mentioned that 16,000 airmen that were assigned to the Space Force on day one. We are now transferring those folks onto the books of the Space Force. And the amount of work that that took was a lot. And now we've got I think close to 2,400 in. By here over the next few months we'll have about 6,400 on the books of the Space Force as active-duty members, and then we'll have civilians, about 10,000 civilians, that will be assigned as well.

                                           We wrote the first-ever space power doctrine, an independent view of space doctrine. We developed a chief of space operations planning guidance and to publish that guidance for the force design yet to come. We submitted the first budget. First time we've ever done that as an independent service. In the past, we were a major command of another service, the United States Air Force who we have a great partnership with. We have strengthened our partnerships with commercial industry, broadening the defense industrial base partnerships with our allies which I think is a really... If you're asking me, probably what's the most important thing we've done. I think I'm most proud of it. It might be that we are really taken some big strides on that.

                                           And then we've also done some of the culture things like... Well, that always becomes newsworthy, the seals, and the flags, and the logos, and then uniforms. Here, in just the two days, the 11th and about another week, we're going to announce what we're going to be called, the name of the... sailors, soldiers, airmen, marines. Today we're saying space professionals here, and another week we'll unveil our name which will be good. So I'm really proud of the team. We've been driving this force down the road, if you will, as we've been building it, and really, really proud.

                                           The second year, and I'll just tease the second year and then open it up to you all for questions. The second year is really... First year was inventing the service. The second year is going to be all about integrating the service, integrating it more throughout the department, integrating more with the joint force, integrating it in with all of our sister services, integrating it more with our allies and partners, integrating it more with our commercial industry, integrating it more with the intelligence enterprise.

                                           Oh, by the way. We've done all that under a global pandemic and haven't missed a beat in providing space capabilities to the world. Now, we're not the U.S. Space Command. We don't we don't execute those operations. But all of our folks, men, the consoles, and the radars, and command control, the satellites on behalf of U.S. basically. But all of that happened in a global pandemic without skipping a beat. So I couldn't be more proud, exciting time, and actually critical time in the space business. And hopefully that primes the pump for questions. And I'll turn it over to you all to fire away.

Lee Hudson:                          Thanks General Raymond. I for am excited to hear about your announcement next week on what you all are going to be called.

General John W. Raymond:  Too.

Lee Hudson:                          Yes. But going back to the budget.

General John W. Raymond:   So for this, as I mentioned in the opening comments, we spent the first year focused on building this budget for the first time. And that budget hasn't been released. So I can't go into a lot of details on it. But what we did was we took all the money that the Air Force had in Space, it was all part of the Air Force budget. And so the Space portion of Air Force budget. We took all that out of the Space Force and brought that into the United States... I'm sorry. Took all that out of Air Force and brought that into the United States Space Force. And so that was approximately $15 billion.

                                           So that was all money that existed and then was carved out of the Air Force and brought over to the Space Force. And then from there, we then went through the budget process to determine what this budget should include. And again, I can't go into details because that budget hasn't been released. Well, one of the reasons why we stood up the Space Force was, we realized it's more than just putting space capabilities up on the orbit. You also have to be able to defend those capabilities. And so you'll see a good balance on providing capabilities, being able to protect those capabilities, and then what other missions should go to space. And so those types of decisions were decisions that we address and the specifics of which will be provided when the budget is released.

Lee Hudson:                           And just to quickly follow up on that, could you talk about the impact of operating under a continuing resolution and what that is like for you right now?

                                           Yeah. So it's always better to have stable budgets that you can plan against. For the Space Force, the big thing for the continuing resolution (CR) was that the dollars that that were transitioned over from the Air Force to the Space Force don't actually get put onto the books until the law is passed. We've segregated the dollars. We know what that is. But it doesn't formally come onto our books until we get until we get the law. The second piece is that when the Space Force stood up, we only received a little bit of dollars at the end of last year just to get started. We don't have the full year's worth of dollars that would be programmed. And so the CR keeps us at that level. And we look forward to having the law that provides us the dollars that you would need to operate across the year.

Steve Trimble:                         I'm sure I can chime in here now. And thank you very much for the opportunity. It's been fascinating covering this. Nothing like this has happened in my lifetime. So it's been interesting to follow the process. One of the things you talked about when you stood up the Space Force was this need to declassify some of the activities in space as part of the deterrence message. Obviously, that resonates with the journalist community and we're very interested in and knowing where that goes. So what's the status now, of the strategy? I think there was going to be a strategy paper for the declassification. And what are the things that you want to have the power to communicate about our space capabilities?

General John W. Raymond:    So we're still in the final stages of building that strategy. We've made some good progress on it. We've got agreement on pieces of it. And there's some other pieces that we're still working through. But we've made really good progress and I'm excited for where this is headed. First, the thing that you've heard me talk more publicly about is what our adversaries are doing in space. And so you've seen me be more public about what Russia has done, for example, with putting a satellite up next to one of our satellites. That is a weapon system designed to kinetically destroy U.S. satellites in low Earth orbit.

                                           And so I think that's important that the average American understands, one, just how reliant they are on space, and two, the vulnerabilities that are out there. You've heard me do that when I was the U.S. Space Command commander. Again, in August, I gave up command of U.S. Space Command. I'm now just the Space Force chief. So I'm not in the operation side of the house anymore. But I think that step is an important step to say, "Hey, here's what's going on." So the average American understand why this is so important. On the reveal and conceal piece, obviously, I'm not going to go into the specifics of what we're talking about revealing and concealing because we're not complete with the strategy yet.

                                           But as you said, if you're going to deter something from happening in space, you have to be able to change the deterrence calculus or affect that deterrence calculus. It's the standard deterrence calculus. It's imposing costs and denying benefits. And if you want to do that, it's really hard to do that if you don't talk about what capabilities you may or may not have. Our whole goal in the United States Space Force, the primary goal, is to organize, train, and equip to be able to deter conflict from beginning or extending into space. And we think that a posture that allows you to have a strategy and then have a posture that allows you to communicate will be a deterrent which is, again, our primary focus.

Steve Trimble:                         And real quickly to follow up there. Do you have any timeline for getting that strategy done and getting it out?

                                           I don't, I don't have a specific timeline, but we're making really good progress. I mean, I we need to get this out, and we need to get it done, and I'm pretty comfortable we're making some good progress.

                                           So the other thing I'm curious about is roles and missions for the Space Force and the adjudication across the Defense Department Space enterprise, particularly the conversation with the Army. We saw this with Key West in 1948, between the Air Force and the Army on fixed wing aircraft and rotary wing, and so forth. I'm wondering where things are with that with the army today, with Space Force. And in particular, there was some comments made by Robert, I think it is, or Richard De Fatta, I forget his first name. Sorry. The director of the Space Missile Defense Center for the Army just a week ago, where he was at the IDGA conference. You may have seen the comments, but he said as Spacecom and the Space Force mature, SMDC’s focus is on how to transition between new and legacy architectures, not missions and functions between services. Any transfer, Army space capabilities, or personnel will require a deliberate conditions-based approach? Yeah. Go ahead.

General John W. Raymond:    So on the last year on 20th December, when the law was signed. As I mentioned, we took 16,000 airmen from Air Force Space Command and said, "Okay, Air Force Space Command, you are now wholly into the space war." So assigned forces to Space Force. Since then, we then went across the entire United States Air Force and said, "What else does the Air Force do in space that should come over to the Space Force?" And there was 25 or six different units. So, for example, a training unit that fell under Air Education Training Command, an intelligence unit that fell under Air Combat Command, if you will. And we went through and we did a scrub of all those units and we brought those into the Space Force.

                                           In the conversations I had with Dave Goldfein, I was the chief at the time, and said, "Hey, when we stand up the Space Force, this has to be more about... We just can't break up the Air Force when we stand up the Space Force. We have to make sure that we do this right." And so my whole career has been spent integrating Space into the Air Force. And now that we've set up the Space Force, we just can't break all that.

                                            And so we did this in a way, and worked through this in a way that not only did we not break the Air Force, that we increased the operational capability between two services. We're now doing the same thing with the Army and the Navy. And so we've gone through a significant scrub across the Army and the Navy, and there's vast agreement. I'd take a wild guess saying, we're probably 97, 98% in agreement. You can't break the Army and you can't break the Navy to transfer things over to the Space Force, although there are things that need to transfer to Space Force and both the Army and the Navy agree. It's just now a matter of finalizing the last couple things and then we'll move forward.

Steve Trimble:                         Well, and to be very specific about it, do you think that it's possible to have the Space Force and something like the Army's Functional Area-40 (FA-40) group of officers and teams existing alongside? It seems like a lot of the things that they do are also being done by the space elders. Is that redundancy good, or is that something you want to consolidate?

General John W. Raymond:    There are vast amount of the FA-40s in the Army. I think there's a little less than 400 total. The vast amount of those FA-40 officers are on what they call space support teams. And so they the way the Army grows space professionals is they take infantry men, and artillery men, and armor officers, and aviation officers. After they do assignment or two in that career field, they then take them over and give them some space training to make them space experts. They are then in these teams that are embedded with those units that help bring space to those organizations. You'll hear the Army say, "We're the biggest users of space."

Steve Trimble:                         Right.

General John W. Raymond:    And so that you can't break. You can't break that. You have to be able to continue to provide those space capabilities to the army. The army then also operates a few capabilities. For example, they operate payload on a [Wideband Global Satcom] satellite. And so what we're thinking through then is, what pieces stay in the army and what things should then transfer over? And I do think there is going to be a need for FA-40s in the army, to the [inaudible 00:19:18].

                                           I think there's also great opportunities for FA-40s to transfer over to the Space Forces. If that's their desire as well, they can volunteer to do so, and there's great opportunities. Again, you can't break the Army, the Army is the biggest user of space. It has to be able to have that integration of space to make them effective, just like the Air Force needs and just like the Navy needs. There are pieces though that we feel should transfer over. And for the vast majority we're in a complete agreement.

Steve Trimble:                         Well, thank you for that. I'll pass over to Jen or Lee for follow ups.

Jennifer DiMascio:                  Yeah, I've got a follow up. You mentioned that during your second year, you want to focus on integration. And you said you have to able to defend your space capabilities. John Ratcliffe addressed that a little b   it during the National Space council meeting. He said the military and the intelligence community would be working together more closely than ever to defend space capabilities. How do you see that integration unfolding over the next year, and also, with the intelligence community, and with commercial space companies, and commercial space services?

General John W. Raymond:    Yeah. So I would say right up front. And y'all have probably heard me say this in the past. The relationship between DOD space and intelligence space has never been better. We have a great partnership with the National Reconnaissance Office. We have a same strategy. We share our [inaudible 00:20:54] ops. We operate in operation centers together, the National Space Defense Center, for example. We wargame together. We exercise together. And for the first time, really, we've started building capabilities together.

                                           There was a satellite program that we were going to build in the Air Force at the time called... Hold on. I just lost it. Trying to find it. Space Situational Awareness follow on payload. And we canceled that program because it wasn't going to meet our needs as the domain had changed. And so we then entered into a partnership with the National Reconnaissance Office because they were building a satellite.

                                            And so I think you're going to continue to see us   work very closely together. I think our partnership is really, really good. They have their mission set, we have our mission set, and where we come together is on protect and defend, because we operate in that same contested domain. I do think there's going to be areas now where the Space Force might get into some of their mission sets at certain levels. I think, for example, tactical level ISR from space is a mission set that the Space Force should have a role in.

                                            So I think you're going to continue to see that close working relationship. As good as it is, I think both Dr. [Christopher] Scolese [director of the National Reconnaissance Office] and myself would agree that it needs to be even better. And I think there are some areas that we can even get closer to them on. On the commercial side, one of the things that we're thinking through as a service is how do we have a fused relationship with commercial industry to get after the challenges that we face.

                                           You all have covered and have seen the activity that's happening in commercial space. You've seen NASA, for example, launch humans using a SpaceX booster. So civil and commercial coming together. I really believe there's even a stronger partnership to be had and that's an area that we're going to put a lot of work into this second year on integrating is, what can we do to have a more fused relationship with commercial industry, capitalize on not only on their innovation, but on their business model? And to develop a rule-set of which we could operate that would provide us advantage.

Lee Hudson:                           And to piggyback off of that, how do you envision the Space Range of the future now that you're considering tbe greater partnership?

General John W. Raymond:    Yeah. So this is one of those things. I'm sure you've said, "If I ever got to this job, here's the one thing that I would do." Well, for me, it was ranges. I was the range commander as a colonel back at Vandenberg Air Force Base. And I knew there was a better way of doing business. The ranges are very large ranges. They're very capital intensive. It requires significant manpower to be able to stand these ranges up. They didn't support large transaction rates, if you will, a lot of numbers of launches. And I wanted to shift that.

                                            And so we stood up this program called Range of the Future, and it was designed to be able to increase the number of launches, reduce costs, and be more responsible. And it's for military space, it's for it's for the test community, it's for commercial space, it's for civil space, I mean, it's important to all of that. And so doing this in a way. So we brought a big partnership together and really tried to design the range to be a really flat and digital range that didn't have a whole lot of infrastructure.

                                           The key to that range was autonomous launches. And so we'd been trying to get to autonomous launches for a while. SpaceX actually got there. And now all of the launches that SpaceX launches off their ranges are autonomous, meaning they don't rely on radars, and optical dishes, and large number of telemetry dishes, and what we call command destruct antennas. That where there's an operator sitting on a console, if a rocket where to go astray, push a button, send a signal, and blow up a rocket. Because every rocket that we launch off of either one of our ranges has to have the ability to be destroyed to protect national safety.

                                           And so what they've done is with our support, we've gone through all the processes, certified all these systems. But their rocket now, when it takes off, it can sense itself whether it's going astray and it'll blow itself up. Reduces significant amount of range infrastructure, significant amount of the standing army that has to show up to support a launch, and reduces cost, and allows us to launch more frequently. And so you've seen us launch the 45th Space Wing in very short time spans between launches. The only way you can do that is to do autonomous launches.

                                           So we are now put in place a sign a policy letter, so that every space launch that's happening off of our ranges will be autonomous by 2025. That's going to allow us to really change that range and be more supportive of the entire launch enterprise that uses those ranges in the future.

Lee Hudson:                             And I'm to follow up on that a little bit. I guess, what are your procurement priorities? And in that vein, how do you get to that autonomous capability by 2025?

General John W. Raymond:    Yeah. So our big focus has been on... We pulled the whole team together, the broad team together and said, "Okay, let's come up with an architecture for the ranges and let's get everybody's buy in." And so we spent time doing that and got a table slap and told everybody, all the different communities that use that range have agreed on this architecture which is largely a shift from a capital intensive architecture to more of a data architecture.

                                            It then is up to the launch vehicle providers to make sure that their launch vehicles have that autonomous capability. And we're working very closely with them to be able to certify those so when those space launch vehicles materialize, they're ready to go and certified to do that. And so this didn't require a whole lot of dollars. In fact, one of the reasons why we're doing this is to reduce costs, to really reduce the infrastructure, reduce the sustainment cost. Really, it was about putting the communications infrastructure and to do this in a data infrastructure. And we've got a great team working it. We're on track. It's already paying its dividend.

                                           If you look at the numbers of launches that we're doing off of our ranges... I mean, we just did a launch of the Delta IV Heavy. There's other launches, it seems like almost every other day sometimes. So we really have increased our transaction rates and really working very closely with commercial industry to do that. I'm proud of both of our launch teams, both on the East Coast, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and Vandenberg Air Force Base, because they've really made some incredible progress.

Jennifer DiMascio:                  I'll follow up from there. Just to dig in looking ahead. What are the other procurement priorities that you have for some of the big satellite programs that serve the Space Force? And looking down the road 10, 20 years, you're in the process of building a hybrid architecture of satellites in geosynchronous orbit and then in low earth orbit. Do you see that hybrid architecture continuing into the future or will it change?

General John W. Raymond:    Yeah. So one of the things an independent service does is force design. And so we as part of the space force establishment, we're standing up an organization called the Space Warfighting Analysis Center. It will provide the analytical underpinnings, if you will, for this architecture or force design that we're building.

                                           If you look at the architectures or the design of our space capabilities today, they're not all that defendable. They were built for a domain that was peaceful and benign and there was no threat. And so we're really were looking to make a shift to a more defendable architecture. I think to do that, you will see where the hybrid architecture will be required. And so I think you'll continue to see what you chart in terms of the geo-architecture. I would put it, is more exquisite capabilities. And then I think you're going to see a mixture of what you'll hear called proliferated Leo constellations of larger number of smaller cheaper distributed satellites. And I think you'll end up seeing a mixture.

                                            We're doing the analysis now in different segments of that architecture to figure out what the right design is and then we'll prioritize those in this next [inaudible 00:31:36] cycle.

Jennifer DiMascio:                  And one of the reasons for creating the Space Force was to be able to make an act on decisions more quickly. Do you think at this point you're there, you're structured to do that? Or what more needs to be done to realize that goal?

General John W. Raymond:    We've made progress. And I'm proud of the progress we've made. The whole reorganization of Space was about flattening the bureaucracy. When I was an Air Force officer, we had five layers of command. There was a major command, a numbered Air Force commander, a Wing commander. A major command was a four star, a numbered Air Force commander was a three star, a Wing commander was a colonel, a group commander was a colonel, and the squadron commander was a lieutenant colonel.

                                            So there's five layers of command. When we redesigned this, we collapse that down to three. We made the four star a three star commander, and we stood up the Space operations Command out at Peterson to be that what we call, field command. The second thing that we did was we got rid of the numbered Air Force. So there's no 14th Air Force anymore. And then we had wings and groups, which are the two O-6 commands. We only wanted one.

                                            We have put O-6s now closer to the units that they're operating and it's really helping us drive forward in some key missionaries. I'm really happy with that. The second piece that we're doing now is building out the field command for the acquisition business. And so today we have the Space and Missile Systems Command out in Los Angeles. We're going to establish what we call the Space Systems Command. In fact, just yesterday, I got a final briefing on that design. Flop the table on that design. And we'll be unveiling this here as we look to build this command.

                                            But I think that's also a very flat organization. It's also trying to drive unity of effort across different acquisition organizations. It actually aligns the launch mission under Space Systems Command rather than the Operations Command, because as we go towards autonomous launch, you don't need a lot of operators anymore. It is largely doing oversight, if you will, or mission assurance of commercial work in the launching industry. And then the final piece that we're building is what we call Star Command, which is the space training, doctrine, readiness, all the things that an independent service needs that we haven't had as an independent command, we're standing that up.

                                            And then, on top of that, we are working to how do you streamline the bureaucracy inside the Pentagon. You all remember the discussions leading up to the Space Force where there was talking that there were 65 different organizations or 60 different organizations that did space things. And we think now with the language that was in the National Defense Authorization Act when we were established, it provides... We set up the service for a reason. And we think there's ways to streamline that. We put together a strategy to do that and we'll begin socializing that here in the coming days as well.

Lee Hudson:                            And to follow up on that, I know another thing that you've mentioned previously is how the Space Force is a digital service. And I was hoping you could talk a little bit about that, the strides you've made there this past year and where you hope to go next year.

General John W. Raymond:    Let me start off by saying we think this is really important. We think, again, the law has given us an opportunity to do something different. If you look at the domain in which we operate in. It's a big data domain. There's a lot of things up in space and we take a lot of observations to keep track of everything, and to make sure things don't collide in it. A lot of the challenges that we have are big data challenges.

                                            And so we started off a couple years ago, even before the Space Force, building the command and control capabilities that were designed this way focused on data until we built the whole data infrastructure that now is the data infrastructure as part of [Joint All-Domain Command and Control] in the [Advanced Battle Management System] program. That data infrastructure is all built by the space community as key to our command and control. As we did the design of the headquarter staff at the Pentagon, one of the innovative things that we did, we made one of our key three star positions, if you will, as the as a CTIO, chief technology and innovation officer. And that's going to be an NCS position. But it's getting after being organized to do that digitally.

                                            We're also trying to build our staff to be data driven, and be analytical driven, and have a data driven headquarters. So having a digital headquarters. Now, we've begun to lay that plan up. We still got a lot of work to do on that. The next piece of that was to have a workforce that was data fluent. And so we wanted to, I've said this a couple of times, everybody that's going to come in Space Force is going to speak at least two languages. One of those languages is going to be a computer language.

I've already seen benefits. We have airmen that are developing software tools that have increased our capability and reduced resources needed to accomplish the mission. We're already seeing benefits of that very early on, and we're excited about where that's going to lead us. The final thing that we're doing is that we're developing a digital engineering mindset. And we've slapped the table that we're going to use digital engineering as our standard for how we acquire our capabilities. And that's a digital threat. That's everything from force design, to requirements, to actually the acquisition of the capability, to the testing of the capability, and the training of the capability. We think there's a lot of value to be had. And so those are the big things, digital headquarters, digital workforce, and digital engineering are the three pieces. And we've made some initial strides in each of those, but there's still a lot of work to do.

Jennifer DiMascio:                   Okay. So my last question is, you said that you're most proud of the strides that you made with the international alliances. I guess I don't have a good picture in my mind of what those are and so I'm wondering if you can share an example of something you are most proud of in that arena.

General John W. Raymond:    I absolutely will. I was stationed over in Japan as a one star general. And I was there as the fifth Air Force Vice Commander when the great earthquakes, and tsunami, and nuclear reactor disaster happened back in 2011. And I was a space officer assigned in a pilot [inaudible 00:40:33], I call them a hostage exchanger. They got to go there and try expand my horizon, if you will. And when I was there, this natural disaster happened. And as a space officer, I hadn't had a chance to be assigned in that part of the world before. And what I saw in the response to that earthquake was great partnerships. Great partnerships.

                                            I mean, lots of countries came together to help a country that took three really strong natural disasters all at the same time. And when I came back then to SpaceX... We don't have those partnerships that we have in all the other domains. Because space has always been a peaceful, benign domain, which we want it to be, but we haven't had those partnerships on the National Security space side. We've had it on the civil side, but we haven't had it on the National Security side to the level that I thought we needed. And so we really started working to develop those partnerships. And our partnerships today are largely The Five Eyes partners, and in addition France, Germany, and Japan.

                                           And we've done significant amount of work. The partnerships that we did have were largely one way data sharing arrangements. And so we would send Space Situational Awareness data to them to help. But we have matured those partnerships is that we now train together, we exercise together, we wargame together, we operate together. When I stood up the planning for US Space Command, one of the components as part of US Space Command, that combined component, combined Space Force component command was now we have a fuller presence with international officers on our operation centers. The orders that US Space Commander operates off called operational impact defender, we made Five Eyes releasable so they could participate more fully in those operations.

                                           We have exchange officers. Not just international officers on our [inaudible 00:42:41], but we are now sending officers to their operations floors. We're actually building capabilities together. We developed a partnership with Norway. We had to launch two communication satellites and they were already building satellites and said, "Hey, why don't we just put our payloads on your satellite?" A hosted payload arrangement. Saved us over $900 million dollars, and we'll get those capabilities on orbit faster because we didn't have to build the satellites, they were already being built. They'd already started that process.

                                            We're doing the same thing with Japan. We just finalize the agreement with Japan to put two hosted payloads on their, what they call QZSSL, which are GPS augmentation satellites. We're going to put Space Situational Awareness payloads on those satellites, again, providing capability and saving some dollars in partnerships. We think there's a lot more to that. And so unless we do this force design going forward... One of the things that we want to do with our partners is to build that force design coalition from the beginning, if you will, and see where we could get international partners in helping us build those capabilities to help deter, save costs, and get things on orbit faster.

                                            And so, I am very proud of that work. We've opened up our schoolhouses to allow more international partners to come take our courses. And so I'm really proud of the work. I think we have made great strides in that. I think there's more to do and I think it's going to provide us and our partners a lot of good advantage.

Jennifer DiMascio:                   Well, thank you so much. And thank you for joining us today. I hope we can do another one of these in the future. [crosstalk 00:44:34]. That's all the time we have.

General John W. Raymond:    All right. First of all, thanks to each of you for coming up.

Thanks for listening to another edition of Check 6, which can be downloaded on iTunes, Google Play or Stitcher. If you like what you’re hearing, please give us a positive review, we’d love to get the feedback.

Jen DiMascio

Based in Washington, Jen manages Aviation Week’s worldwide defense, space and security coverage.

Steve Trimble

Steve covers military aviation, missiles and space for the Aviation Week Network, based in Washington DC.


1 Comment
It is not often that a four-star officer, who is heading our newest military service, to sit down and talk about his goals and vision for the new service. you did a great interview and I look for more as I am a long time AWST reader. H. Lees