Raymond’s New Space Force Planning Guidance Calls for Boldness

Raymond’s New Space Force Planning Guidance Calls for Boldness

Chief of Space Operations (CSO) Gen. Jay Raymond issued planning guidance for the U.S. Space Force this morning as the newest military service closes in on its first anniversary. The news was somewhat overshadowed this afternoon by President Trump’s firing of Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, but Esper’s departure should not have any impact on Raymond’s plans for moving forward. Boldness is his watchword.

The U.S. Space Force will celebrate its first anniversary on December 20.  Part of the U.S. Air Force, it joins the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps (part of the Department of the Navy), and Coast Guard (part of the Department of Homeland Security) as the sixth military service.

Raymond told reporters this morning that he viewed the first year as “inventing” the Space Force and the upcoming second year as “integrating” it across DOD and the joint staff and with allies and partners, including the commercial sector.

The military services organize, train, and equip personnel to support the 11 Unified Combatant Commands that are in charge of warfighting. In 2019 President Trump also reestablished a U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM), which had existed from 1985-2002, as a unified combatant command.  Space Force and USSPACECOM have an especially close relationship, but very different responsibilities.

Raymond served as Commander of USSPACECOM for almost a year until Army Gen. James Dickinson was confirmed by the Senate and sworn in on August 20, so has a keen understanding of what Space Force needs to do to fulfill its role.

The service’s motto is Semper Supra (Always Above) and is “ready to protect and deter, and to fight and win in freedom’s high frontier.”  Raymond says in the  CSO’s Planning Guidance released today that —

America needs a Space Force able to deter conflict, and if deterrence fails, prevail should war initiate in or extend to space. Space capabilities enhance the potency of all other military forces. …

We will design and build a Space Force to meet three cornerstone responsibilities: preserve freedom of action, enable Joint lethality and effectiveness, and provide independent options – in, from, and to space. …

Let me be clear – if we do not adapt to outpace aggressive competitors, we will likely lose our peacetime and warfighting advantage in space.

His five priorities are:

  • Empower a Lean and Agile Service
  • Develop Joint Warfighters in World Class Teams
  • Deliver New Capabilities at Operationally Relevant Speeds
  • Expand Cooperation to Enhance Prosperity and Security
  • Create a Digital Service to Accelerate Innovation

The message he has for military space leaders is to be bold.  “The strategic environment demands we act boldly now. … We do not have the luxury of delay for further analysis.”

“We face twin challenges: we will not be bold enough, or that risk-aversion and legacy-oriented processes will undermine our efforts. The first challenge is my charge to all space professionals – be bold, your leaders and your Nation expect it. The second is the responsibility of Service senior leaders – lead boldly and inspire bold leaders inside and outside the Service.”

Although creation of the Space Force is often attributed to President Trump, it grew out of a bipartisan effort on the House Armed Services Committee beginning with the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act.  Its fate is not likely to hinge on the outcome of the presidential election.

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