First, during his keynote address at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference, Raymond Guardians and Airmen said “we weren’t thinking brave enough. The second challenge was that if we thought boldly, bureaucracy could choke our bold thinking.
“We were determined to prevent both. And when we got that right, we wanted all the other services to be jealous because we had the opportunity to start with a clean sheet of paper.”
Raymond’s conclusion is that these pitfalls have been avoided, and while much work remains to be done, the achievements and advances since the birth of the Space Force on December 20, 2019 are impressive.
“The United States Space Force is just getting started and has a great story ahead. I couldn’t be more excited about the future of Space Force,” said Raymond.
And in a powerful nod to the arrival – and persistence – of the Space Force, Raymond ended his 40-minute address by unveiling the official Space Force anthem, “Sempra Supra.” At the same time, Raymond will soon complete a 38-year Air Force career, the last nearly three years as the senior officer in the Space Force.
Lt. Gen. B. Chance Saltzman was nominated to replace Raymond.
With that context and what Raymond called his “final tally, or, in Air Force terms, the ‘brief finale’ of my career,” he peppered his speech with thanks, calling by name Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, Chief of Staff, General CQ Brown and retired former Chief of Staff, General David Goldfein. He referenced his time at ROTC at Clemson University, Space Force Vice-CSO General DT Thompson, and his wife Mary, and most notably Raymond’s wife Molly, whom he called “my wingman.” Not only is she my wingman, she is our family’s wingman.”
All of them, he suggested, helped take the Space Force from an “almost blank sheet of paper” to where it is today.
While it’s difficult to focus on space, it’s also crucial, he said.
“On December 20, 2019, the United States took the opportunity to elevate space to a level commensurate with its importance to our nation; an opportunity to enhance global security by enhancing deterrence and increasing the lethality of our joint and coalition forces, which are critical to integrated deterrence,” Raymond said.
“It was an opportunity to firmly establish US leadership in space and to shape the norms of behavior in space.”
In three years, the Space Force has grown to 16,000 personnel and demand for places in the highly specialized force is strong, Raymond said.
A big reason, he said, is that the Space Force has developed six core branches and worked tirelessly to build the nation’s first new military service around each since 1947. They are:
- recruit, evaluate, develop, nurture and retain employees;
- Write your own doctrine… like what the Air Force did before independence;
- Create your own budget;
- Design his troops from both an organizational and a force-structural point of view
- Prepare the Force;
- Introduce the squad to the combatant commandos.
As he has done many times in the past, Raymond highlighted the Space Force’s novel approach to recruitment and training, as well as finding the highly specialized personnel the service needs to fulfill its missions.
“Due to our small size and because we were starting from scratch, we wanted to fundamentally change our ability to develop our most important asset, our people,” he said, noting that the approach required “a little more art than science”.
The same philosophy applies to the operational aspects of the service. It also applies to how the service modernizes itself, determining the “space architecture” it requires, and how it breaks with military norms and adopts a more flexible, flat organizational structure.
Through all of this, Raymond hinted that the Space Force is moving in the right direction.
“As the missile threat continues to evolve and threats to our space resources emerge, we must redesign our space architectures to be more capable and resilient,” he said.
“Organizationally, we have flattened our structure to eliminate two tiers of command and establish mission-focused deltas. “
Space Force created the Space Warfighting Analysis Center (SWAC), “made up of our brightest graduate students and our best and brightest operators,” which became the operational heartbeat of the service, Raymond said.
“They first addressed the (missile warning and missile tracking) force design to provide more effective capabilities in response to the changing missile threat and to diversify the architecture in the face of a growing threat to our space capabilities,” he said. “This is the most consistent work the Space Force has accomplished and I am very proud of the SWAC team.”
It was rooted in an acquisition strategy that also deviated from the norm. Raymond summed it up like this: “Use what we have, buy what we can, build what we need.”
Raymond noted that even traditional questions like “readiness” required a different mindset for the Space Force.
“We’re doing a fundamental rethink of what readiness means for a force that’s primarily deployed locally, rather than waiting to be deployed abroad,” he said. “We’re addressing every aspect of readiness – do we have the right amount and mix of people? Do we have the right systems including ground and space, hardware and software? And have we met the right education, training and further education requirements?
“This means a different approach to training and maintenance, as well as new ways of reporting that data to higher headquarters and to the Pentagon,” he said.