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Space Force Rockets Toward Milestones

July 24, 2020 | BY David Vergun , DOD News

Although the Space Force, the military's newest service, is just seven months old, it has sprinted toward its goal of preserving dominance in the space domain, its leader said.

Gen. John W. Raymond, chief of space operations of the Space Force and commander of U.S. Space Command, held a video briefing today at the Pentagon, hosted by the Center for a New American Security.

Man in a military uniform participates in a virtual face-to-face call via laptop.
Space Briefing
Space Force Gen. John W. Raymond, chief of space operations, and commander of U.S. Space Command, holds a Pentagon briefing, July 24, 2020.
Photo By: Lisa Ferdinando, DOD
VIRIN: 200724-D-BN624-0034Y

Although U.S. Space Command was stood up on Aug. 29 and the Space Force stood up Dec. 20, significant advances have already been made, he said.

The Space Force was involved in launching the X-37 Orbital Test Vehicle, the Advanced Extremely High Frequency communications satellite, GPS satellites, and other launches out of Cape Canaveral, Florida, he said. The newest service also supports the first human space flight since the end of the space shuttle era.

A rocket launches into space.
Historic Launch
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying NASA astronaut and retired Marine Corps Col. Douglas Hurley and fellow crew member Robert Behnken is seen launching from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., May 30, 2020.
Photo By: Courtesy: Bill Ingalls, NASA
VIRIN: 200530-M-M0231-203Y

Also in the works is a draft of the first ever capstone warfighting doctrine for space, which will be rolled out in a week or two. He said it’s a foundational document that will inform Americans and allies about the value of the Space Force in protecting national security.

Just last week, the Space Force graduated its first classes in space electronic warfare, orbital warfare and space battle management, he noted.

Raymond said his organization will integrate closely with all of the combatant commands to ensure they have the support they need in the space domain. To do that, teams are being formed that will be a part of that integration effort.

One of the notable values the Space Force will bring to the American people is unity of effort and cost savings, he said, noting that there are many organizations, allies and partners doing work involved in the space domain.

An enclosed aircraft sits at rest.
Liftoff Ready
An Encapsulated X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle sits ready for United States Space Force-7 mission, May 6, 2020.
Photo By: Courtesy of Boeing
VIRIN: 200506-F-XX000-0001

The Space Force is looking to avoid duplication of effort. As an example, the Defense Department needed to have two satellites in polar orbit. Raymond said his organization found that Norway was already involved in doing just that, so the U.S. partnered with its NATO ally to put payloads on their rockets.

Raymond emphasized that he wants to ensure that the Space Force stays lean and agile, and he said the organization will be flattened, thus avoiding layers of bureaucracy. 

Men work on a satellite terminal.
Satellite Work
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Alan Alexander, 55th Wing noncommissioned officer in charge of command and control operation training, and Paul Wheeler, 55th Strategic Communications Squadron, secure data maintenance on a single-channel, anti-jam portable satellite terminal, April 29, 2020.
Photo By: Charles J. Haymond, Air Force
VIRIN: 200429-F-AJ823-1147

The requirements, acquisition and personnel processes will likewise be streamlined and efficient, he added.

That small force will also be digitally savvy, he said, noting that only the best and brightest will be accepted.

Raymond said he wants the new workforce to be up to date, both technically and proficiently. In an effort to do that, he said he expects Space Force personnel will be allowed to work for certain periods of time within agencies like NASA and the National Reconnaissance Office as well as industry.

Like other organizations, the Space Force has been impacted by COVID-19, he said. As a result, the Space Force has embraced virtual events, such as hosting a combined space operations principles meeting with close partners in space: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, France and Germany. 

Finally, Raymond noted that an airman in Germany sent him a note recently suggesting a new Space Force motto, Semper Supra, which is Latin for "Always Above." Raymond said he approved it.

The U.S Space Force released its logo and motto, Semper Supra (Always Above), July 22, 2020 at the Pentagon, D.C. The logo and motto honor the heritage and history of the U.S. Space Force.
U.S. Space Force logo and motto.
The U.S Space Force released its logo and motto, Semper Supra (Always Above), July 22, 2020 at the Pentagon, D.C. The logo and motto honor the heritage and history of the U.S. Space Force.
Photo By: Staff Sgt. James Richardson
VIRIN: 200722-F-GO452-0002