U.S. Leadership in Space: A Conversation With General John Raymond
General John Raymond discusses the establishment of the U.S. Space Force, current and potential national security threats in outer space, and areas of cooperation between the United States and both foreign allies and private-sector organizations.
DUELFER: Good morning, everyone, if it’s morning wherever you are. My name is Charles Duelfer. It's my honor to preside over this discussion with General John Raymond, who is head of the United States Space Force. General Raymond has had a long career in the Air Force with assignments all over the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan. And as near as I can tell, he's had just about every space related task in the United States Air Force, but, as I have to keep reminding myself, he's not in the Air Force now. He's the first leader and Chief of Space Operations for the United States Space Force. That's quite a task so not only does he have space to worry about but he has Washington to worry about. So General Raymond, I thank you very much for taking the time to spend time with CFR this morning.
Now there are a lot of critical security and foreign policy challenges in space and we'll get to some of them. But first, I'd like to just let you take a second to address the incredible task of standing up an entire new force. You have organizational issues, budget issues, staffing issues, you know, all the worst possible headaches that the Washington and Pentagon battlespace can produce at one time. So just to start after eighteen months, where do you stand?
RAYMOND: Yeah, well, first of all, Charles, thanks for the opportunity to be with you today and thanks to the Council for the invitation. I'm really excited and I hope we have a robust dialogue back and forth. It's hard to believe it's been eighteen months. It was 20 December, 2019 at a hangar at Andrews Air Force Base when the National Defense Authorization Act was signed, which was our birth certificate. When the law was signed, it said, I'm paraphrasing here, I don't have the exact quote, but "effective immediately" or "upon signature" Space Force is up and running. We've been in a full sprint ever since that time. The U.S. took an opportunity here. We're the best in the world at space but our competitors are moving very, very fast. The U.S. took an opportunity to stay ahead of that threat and to make needed change to go fast and put some focus on this domain at the level that international security demands. And so it's a huge honor, absolute huge honor to have an opportunity to be part of this historic service.
I'm proud of the team and they made incredible progress in eighteen months. The first year was all about building the service and we're not completely done yet with building, but our main focus was building the first year that focused on people. Today, as we speak, we've got what started with one person in the Space Force, who was affectionately known as "patient zero." I was the only person in the whole Force. We now have, as of today, 5,578, active-duty guardians in the force. We've built all the processes to be able to do that, to bring those folks over from the Air Force. We've got approximately 6,100 civilians that are assigned. We've built a human capital strategy. We're getting more people that are interested in coming into the Space Force than we have positions for. It's a great challenge to have. There's a ton of interest. In fact, we just commissioned 118 members from the Air Force Academy into the Space Force. Two years ago, pre-Space Force, we only got thirty. And of the 118, we got really top tier talent, including a Rhodes Scholar. I mean we're really attracting incredible talent.
We've completely reorganized national security space to make it up. Slashing bureaucracy at every level, flattening the organizational structures, eliminating two layers of command to be able to go at speed, which is what the space domain requires. I'm really, really pleased with how that organizational lay down has been planned and implemented. We still have some pieces to implement but the planning is all done.
We worked our first budget that was just released, the budget request was just released. It's about a $2 billion increase from last year's budget. About a billion dollars of that is tied to missions that will transfer over from the Army and the Navy into the Space Force and then about another billion or so of new dollars to get after the critical need to protect and defend these capabilities. We wrote our first doctrine--independent theory of space power. It's gotten really rave reviews, it's not 100 percent perfect, but it begins the dialogue and we're excited for that.
So now we're in the year two. In year two, if the first year was all about building the service, year two is all about integrating it. And as I tell the team that we now drive the car that we built and drive it really fast, you know, keep the foot firmly on the accelerator and move at speed. Shortly after our first birthday, we became the eighteenth member of the IC to get integrated more into the intelligence community. We're on track to stand up--planning and standing up a new national space intel center. It would be co-located with the National Air and Space Intel Center to put some more focus on foundational level intel for this critical warfighting domain.
We've established service components to U.S. Space Command to better integrate with the joint command. We're exploring now standing up components at other combatant commands as well to better integrate our service amongst all the other warfighting combatant commands like all the other services do. We're redefining how we measure readiness. Readiness in the past was always defined from a benign domain perspective. It's not that domain anymore, it's a contested domain and we're redefining that. We've developed a capability development process to generate and to build and bring online capability at speed. It's everything from a new Force design effort--we stood up at an organization called the Space Warfighting Analysis Center to get after that Force design, to provide the analytical underpinning of that design to a more streamlined requirements process. Working with the Joint Requirements Council, the JROC, we've redesigned our acquisition organization to drive unity of effort, again, to flatten the structure, to be able to push authorities down to the lower level and, again, move at speed.
For the first time ever we've designed a testing architecture that's an integrated testing architecture with developmental and operational tests as an integrated team. We're excited where that's going. The first big Force design work of that, which is the headwaters, if you will, of that capability development process is the missile warning, missile defense architecture. We pulled the entire Department together, there's five different organizations that have pieces of that architecture. And now that you have a service in place that's driving unity of effort and have come up with an architecture that we think is going to provide significant advantage for our nation to be more resilient and hopefully save some costs as well.
This year, we're transitioning Army and Navy capabilities into the Space Force. The first year was all about Air Force. We've come to an agreement with the Army and the Navy and we are in lockstep and those capabilities will start transitioning this year. We've also opened up to the other services the opportunity for soldiers and sailors and marines to volunteer to come into the Space Force. All the people that are part of the service, you have to volunteer. We were going to bring in about thirty or so this first year, just to test out our processes. We received, I think, 3,800 applicants for those thirty-two positions. It gives you a sense of how much interest there is in what we're doing. We've completely redesigned, re-architected our launch ranges to be able to move at speed. And if you look at the transaction rates that we're experiencing now on our launch ranges, it's significant and it's providing advantage for us.
And probably the thing that I'm most proud of is the work that we've done to develop international partners, to further those international partnerships. What used to be one-way data sharing partnerships are now two-way partnerships. We operate together, we train together, we exercise together, we war-game together, for the first time we're building capabilities together, we're deterring together because we are stronger together with our international partners. So there's a lot going on. I couldn't be more proud to be part of this. There's still a ton of work to do but the team comes to work every day focusing on making sure that our nation and our joint and coalition forces have the space capabilities that they need to field both our American way of life and our American way of war. With that, hopefully is a little bit of a primer to prime the pump for a good dialogue. I'll turn it back to you.
DUELFER: Thank you, General. I want to pick up on one thing you mentioned that you said that space is not benign any longer. In my personal view, I'm not sure it ever was. I remember the ASAT tests back in the 70s and 80s. So if anyone thought it was benign, I think that was wishful thinking. Maybe some of our members would be interested in what constitutes your ops tempo? Is it situational awareness? You know what happens during the day when you get an alert and Space Force has to react? I mean, somebody launches a satellite, you're not sure where it's headed, you don't know who owns it. Is it getting near one of our assets? So then what do we do? What can we do? Give us a flavor of that?
RAYMOND: Yeah. So first of all, I think I'll start by just talking about when we stood up the Space Force in December of '19, we actually stood up another organization called U.S. Space Command in August of '19. I commanded that U.S. Space Command. Then a couple months later, a few months later, we stood up a Space Force. There's two distinct functions of those organizations. Space Command is the operational command that when our guardians do their work, they operate under the authority of that command. The Space Force is all about organizing, training, equipping, and operating all those capabilities, and providing those capabilities to U.S. Space Command so that they can operate. So I'm stepping a little bit in the U.S. Space Command lane because I'm not responsible for the day-to-day operations there, but our folks conduct those operations, operate all that equipment.
And so space is a very dynamic domain right now. There's a lot happening. If you look at starting with foundational space domain awareness, a couple years ago, when I was in charge of the operational part of it, we were tracking about 22,000 objects. Today, I think there are over 30,000 objects that we're tracking. If you look back then there was small numbers of those objects, only about 1,500 were actually satellites, everything else was debris. If you look now, there's a significant amount more satellites that are on orbit. In fact, one commercial company has well over 1,600 satellites just doing global internet from space. So there is a lot happening commercially, that the barriers to entry have been reduced. There's a lot of different countries, companies, even students that are launching things into space. I was just out in Silicon Valley taking a tour of some of the innovative small companies that are out there. It's incredible what's going on in our country. I'll tell you, I'll bet on our commercial industry any day. We're really being innovative and we want to capitalize on all that.
But from a domain awareness part, there's a lot of objects to track. We act as the space traffic control for the world, making sure that things don't collide and cause debris. From integrating those capabilities into everything that we do. Doing space domain awareness, launching, our launch tempo is going through the roof. If you look at what we're launching down at Cape Canaveral, we're pretty much on a track to launch every week or so. It's a very frequent cadence of launches, which is great for our country. To operating those capabilities that we operate, and then integrating those capabilities into operations around the world globally to make sure that our joint and coalition partners have the space capabilities they need. What's new today is we also need to protect and defend those capabilities. So making sure that we can characterize what's going on in the domain and then developing norms of behavior. How do you operate in this domain? What's safe and professional conduct in this domain that today is largely the Wild West with very little rules? So there's never a dull moment. The good thing is space is always on, it's always global. We almost make it look easy, our people make it look easy. It's not. Space is really, really hard. But just like when you walk in the room and turn the light switch on, the lights always come on, today, space is always there and we got to make sure that that's the case into the future.
DUELFER: You know, we are the Council on Foreign Relations and so I have to ask some questions that will be, I'm sure, rattling around in members' minds and they'll have time to ask their questions too. But just where do we stand with respect to our two top competitors? Russia, which has got a demonstrated capability, they've also demonstrated, in my opinion, some malevolent behavior in space, and then there's China which has done an incredible amount of progress. I mean, they've done everything that they said they would do. They've landed on Mars, they've got a rover on Mars, they went to the Moon, they returned samples from the Moon, they've got a satellite on the far side of the Moon that acts as a comm relay. They're proceeding pretty far ahead. Just when you look at our competitors and our capabilities with our allies, where do we stand?
RAYMOND: I would say we're still the best in the world in space. But they're moving very fast, as you said. China, specifically, which I would characterize as our pacing threat, have developed a very robust space program. They're developing capabilities for their own use in all sectors. You talked largely about what they're doing on the exploration side but they're rapidly developing capabilities for their own use. So if deterrence were to fail and we were to get into a conflict, which we desperately don't want to do. We want to deter that from happening but if we were they're going to have the same advantages that we currently have by integrating space into their operations. The other thing that they're doing, is that they're building capabilities to deny us our access to space in a pretty robust spectrum of threats.
Same thing with Russia. Russia, as you said, has been doing the same thing, developing their own capabilities but also developing a pretty significant spectrum of threats. You mentioned some activities that they've done over the past year, where they've launched a satellite in close proximity to a U.S. satellite. I describe it as a nesting doll type of satellite, where there's a doll, inside of a doll, inside of the doll. We've all seen those. Well, this is a satellite, inside of a satellite, inside of a satellite. And that satellite was positioned up next to one of our satellites. They opened up and released the second satellite, if you will, the baby satellite. And then we started talking about it and we say, "This isn't safe and professional behavior. You don't do this next to other people's satellites." They've maneuvered away and then opened up that baby satellite and sent out a projectile. It's very concerning.
This is why the Space Force and Space Command are so important. We've had the luxury, we've had the absolute luxury, since the end of the Cold War, to really operate in a domain that wasn't contested. We were able to focus on integrating space into operations around the globe. My whole career was largely spent doing that. A wake-up call came in 2007 when China blew up one of their own satellites and blew it into 3,000 pieces of debris that we still track today. It's pretty much all still up there and we still track and we still provide warning for the world so people won't hit that debris and cause more debris. But it's an extremely, extremely challenging and dynamic time.
DUELFER: General, it strikes me that, in some ways, you've got some of the same problems in space as we face in cyber. In the sense that you've got to be able to track what's going on, if something bad happens, was it an accident? Did a piece of debris hit a satellite? XM Radio just had a satellite went out in December, maybe it was just a failure? I'm sure they know but do we have an attribution issue? Did a malevolent actor do something? And presidents are going to want to know the answer to that question. That's a tough one. That is very tough. How do you address that?
RAYMOND: So first of all, I would say the challenges that we face are warfighting challenges in any domain, you mentioned cyber, but it's any domain. If you're a commander responsible for conducting operations in the domain, you have a couple must haves, you got to have a level of domain awareness. Space, it's challenging because the sheer size of the AOR. If you look at the AOR that is assigned to U.S. Space Command, it's a hundred kilometers above the Earth's surface and out. And so the volume of space that you have to track is pretty significant, very significant. The other thing is operations in the domain happen so fast. Just to stay in the domain, the object has to be going 70,500 miles an hour. And thirdly, the objects that are being launched, because of technology advances, are much smaller. Where you have satellites that are the size of a grilled cheese sandwich and stuff that are that are providing benefit. So it's a challenging time. We track, as I mentioned, all those objects in space. It's critical to our national security that we do so.
The other thing you have to have, if you're a commander operating in the domain, you have to have the ability to command and control. And so having the command and control capabilities necessary that operate in this domain is another huge priority for us. On the attribution side, it's tough. I think if we were to get into a conflict, if deterrence were to fail, I think that the domain you highlighted, cyber, and the domain we're talking about now, space, are going to be areas where attribution is a little tougher.
DUELFER: And the relationship you mentioned how, in the United States, we clearly have a leg up in commercial and the government is taking advantage of that. We've got all these small satellites, that you mentioned, both in imagery and there's even a company that does commercial RF emitter locations. That has a couple of consequences, it seems to me. A) Our national security kind of depends on them but then are they part of our defense structure? Do we need to worry about what happens to them? In some ways, it's a good problem to have because it's free assets, in a sense, that the government doesn't have to pay for them. But do we need to defend them? How does that all fit in your equation?
RAYMOND: Absolutely. First of all, we want to leverage commercial in a significant way. It is a huge national advantage for us. Historically what has been commercially viable are large communication satellites in commercial launch that was it. Now that launch costs have gone down, largely due to commercial launch in satellites. Technology has allowed smaller satellites, cheaper satellites to be more relevant. Now, many, many more mission sets are now commercially viable, and we want to be able to leverage all of that. And so we see that as a great advantage. We leverage them significantly today and we're going to leverage them more in the future. If you look at the Unified Command Plan mission statement for U.S. Space Command, it says that the U.S. Space Command commander is responsible for protecting and defending U.S. and as directed, allies, partner in critical commercial space, operational capability. So it's a broader mission set. We see ourselves as keeping that domain safe for all. If you look at what space does for our nation, I mean, it underpins every instrument of national power--diplomatic, economic military. It underpins all of that in information. We want to make sure that we can keep that domain safe so we can use it to our advantage.
DUELFER: Let me ask you a simple question. Down the road, what do you want to spend money on that's new? I mean, I read something, there's an investment in a potential launch capability called rocket cargo. Which sounds good. You know, it's hard for me to kind of envision. But you must have some downstream ideas, capabilities that you would like to have. Where does your future lie in that way?
RAYMOND: Yeah, so first of all, going back to an earlier question we had, I think, you have to have a level of domain awareness and you have to have the command and control capabilities. So those two are going to be key areas where we're going to continue to invest to make sure that we have that awareness that we need to be able to operate as the domain is changed in its character. We have to have responsive launch. And we've done a lot of work over the course of the last year or so to really streamline our processes to be able to support. I mean, we operate both of the launch ranges at Cape Canaveral and at Vandenberg. We are really working hard to streamline the processes to getting people onto those ranges, to be able to flatten out that structure, if you will, and to capitalize on autonomy. We've mandated by 2025 every space launch that will launch off of California, the range in California, the range in Florida, will be all autonomous. That will allow us to increase the capacity, reduce costs, get more objects, more satellites into orbit for all sectors of space. We've worked very closely with the FAA to streamline the processes, if you will, so there's no duplication between what their responsibilities are and what we're responsible for. That's going to be felt significantly by commercial industry and civil space because it reduces the burden of the processes to be able to get onto a range.
The other thing that I'm very proud of--about a year ago, one of the main reasons why we set up the Space Force was that we have to go fast. If you were to ask me what keeps me awake at night, or what do I wish we had, the thing that concerns me is our ability to go fast. And so everything that we're doing in the Space Force is designed to allow us to move at speed.
About a year ago, I challenged our acquisition organization to develop a capability in tactical timelines, integrate it onto a launch vehicle, launch it, and let's see how fast we can do it. We stood up an organization called Space Safari, modeled after what the Air Force has done with their big safari program. And in less than a year, they took satellite components off the shelf, marry it up with a satellite bus that was off the shelf, put them together in a Space Domain Awareness Satellite. They built that satellite, we kind of had it on the shelf, we just gave them a twenty-one day call-up. Saying, "Get ready to launch in twenty-one days." They got a contract for a launch vehicle, which is a Pegasus launch vehicle that launches from a wing of an aircraft. They mated that rocket to the airplane yesterday out at Vandenberg and on the 13th, we're going to launch it. So we're really driving to be able to develop capability and move at speed.
The other big area that we need to make a shift on is we have to change the design of our architecture. The design that we have today are small numbers of very exquisite, highly capable satellites and we need to diversify that architecture. So we're doing a lot of work to redesign what that architecture should look like to build resiliency into the inherent design of that architecture. That's probably the most critical work that we've got going on right now to make that shift.
DUELFER: General, to me, it's a key issue. I hope our members understand, responsive space is more than just jargon, it addresses the issue of if something happens, how quickly can you get something up there that you need to inspect, to adjust? Exactly what you're talking about getting the response time down. I mean, you guys are not like the U.S. Navy, where they order an aircraft carrier this decade and maybe it arrives next decade. The traditional way of buying satellites and deploying them had taken years and the world’s moved on. So I think that's tremendous. (Unintelligible.)
RAYMOND: We've got a lot of work to do. We've had the luxury of having time on our side. We didn't have to go fast, if you will, and that's not the case today, we have to. It would take us if I wanted to today to build a clone of a GPS satellite, it's about a five-year process. That's not good enough. And so there's a couple of big opportunities here with the industry doing what they're doing, with technology advances, with the barriers to entry to space being significantly reduced, with allies and partners that have growing capabilities, and plans for more growth. We have a huge opportunity ahead of us to change that dynamic and to go fast.
This is a first experiment and I'm proud of the team. It was less than a year from when I gave them the challenge to a launch here in a couple days. Previously, I think the fastest we've ever done was a couple years and so we've slashed that by a half. We've got more work to do, we've got to go faster. And everything that we're doing in this capability development process, from force design, to requirements, to acquisition, to testing, are all being done with being able to balance being able to conduct the mission, to do it at speed, and to do it at a cost point where we can save some dollars.
As an example, we partnered with Norway. We had a requirement to put two communications payloads or satellites onto orbit. Norway was already building the satellites and so rather than have us build satellites, we went to them and said, "Can we put our payloads on your satellites?" They said yes and it saved us over $900 million. And will get us onto orbit three years faster because we don't have to build the satellites. So everything that we're doing, whether it's international partnerships, whether it's commercial partnerships, whether it's how do we design the Force is all getting about resiliency at speed and at cost.
DUELFER: That's interesting. That's fascinating. The only thing I would just observe that an air launched response, you're not stuck to one point on the planet to launch from and you don't have to wait for the Earth to be in a certain position to get there, so that's huge. Of course, Norway has bought a lot of F-35s I think too, so they owe us one.
RAYMOND: We have not had the international partnerships in the past in the national security space on the space domain side. As this domain becomes, is a warfighting domain and becomes even more contested, it's very clear that we can't do this on our own. We have to have those partnerships. There's great strength there. As I mentioned in my opening comments, probably the thing that I'm most proud of, is how we've advanced those partnerships. It's been really, really good.
DUELFER: Look, General, now's kind of the time when our members have the opportunity to ask questions and I'm sure it'll be quite good. Let me turn it over to Kayla to do the necessary. Kayla?
RAYMOND: I appreciate it. Thanks for the conversation
STAFF: We'll take the first question from Jim Taiclet.
Q: Good morning General Raymond. Jim Taiclet of Lockheed Martin.
RAYMOND: How are you, sir?
Q: Just great, thanks. You highlighted that space is increasingly important to national defense and it's a pivotal element of the new Joint All-Domain Operations doctrine too. So what can we in industry do better or different to best help you and Space Force reach your goals?
RAYMOND: Well, first of all, thanks, and thanks for what you're doing today. You know, if you look at our budget. I agree with your statement upfront that space is critical and it's critical to any joint warfighting construct that we have. We represent 2.5 percent of DOD’s budget. We're a huge force multiplier. If you look at what the Air Force, all the other services, whether it's Air Force, Army, Navy, or Marines, their force structure all is built around assured access to space and freedom to maneuver in space. If we were to lose that, the bill that would be required to robust the forces of all the other services would be significant.
And so what I would ask you to do, and you and others are helping us. I mean, we've all got the same sight picture is we have to move at speed, and we have to do so in a way that we can be innovative and reduce costs. I think there's great opportunities ahead. But if you can help us continue to stress speed and continue to stress reduction in costs. We've got to make this transition from an architecture that we have that's not very defendable to a defendable architecture and we're going to need your help and the help of all of our industry partners. The other piece of this, along that line, is we're really moving out towards digital engineering. Being able to do this whole capability development process from Force design, to requirements, to acquisition, to testing, to then training, and operating using a digital Force design. The work that you can do to help embrace that digital engineering effort is going to be really important to us.
DUELFER: Next question, Kayla.
STAFF: We'll take our next question from Samuel Visner.
Q: Thank you. Thank you, General Raymond for your insightful comments today. I'd be grateful for your thoughts about our growing dependence on non-government and commercial space systems. I think you you're aware that Blue Origin is going to be putting up over 3,200 satellites. I think SpaceX already has over 1,400 up with a goal architecture of 12,000. There is a discussion underway about the possibility of declaring space systems, a new critical infrastructure sector. So I would be grateful for your thoughts about what we can do in terms of recognizing the importance of space systems and not just DOD and national security space, and whether there's a benefit to declaring them to be a sector of the nation's critical infrastructure. Thank you.
RAYMOND: No, thank you, sir. I appreciate the question. First of all, I think space is critical infrastructure if you look at what it provides our nation. Just look at GPS and look at what it provides our nation and what it provides the world both from a navigation point and from a timing point. I mean that is really critical infrastructure for our country. You talked upfront about the commercial industry. I'm really excited about what I'm seeing. I think that's probably the biggest opportunity that we have is to partner with commercial industry in a way. I've used this term before, to have more of a fused relationship with industry. If you look at what NASA has done here over the last year, they've launched U.S. astronauts, from U.S. soil, from a DOD range, on a commercial rocket with civil astronauts onboard for a civil mission. That fused relationship is where we want to head on the Space Force side as well. We think there's an opportunity to build an even tighter relationship. I do think I would bet on our commercial industry without hesitation. If you look at all the advances that are being made and the innovation that's happening with not just launch but also with satellite constellations. I think there's a huge opportunity and we're eager to capitalize on that. And actually do the Force design work in a way that allows us to leverage commercial industry to an even greater extent than we have today and to build resiliency into that design.
DUELFER: Okay, Kayla, next one.
STAFF: We'll take our next question from Kristine Liwag.
Q: Hi, good morning, General. Kristine Liwag from Morgan Stanley.
RAYMOND: Good morning.
Q: Thank you for taking my question. I guess from the problem that you've highlighted, my question is this $2 billion increase in the Space Force budget enough for you to be able to meet the mission requirements? And also how does that $2 billion compare with how much our adversaries like China is increasing its spend?
RAYMOND: So first of all, every taxpayer dollar is precious and if you're from Morgan Stanley you understand the money business. Every taxpayer dollar is precious. Oh, by the way, we operate inside of a Department of Defense and we operate with a budget. We have to compete along with everybody else for a share those precious taxpayer dollars. We have competed very well over the last few years because people clearly understand the importance of space to our country. I fully support the President's budget. There has been a clear increase over the last several year for space because everybody understands the importance. I think if we can design our Force structure, design the Force in a way that allows us to capitalize on commercial industry, allows us to capitalize on foreign investment as well, foreign partnerships. I think there's a way to do this without breaking the National Treasury. As I said upfront, space is a huge force multiplier. I think it's a really good deal for our nation. Although I agree it doesn't come out of petty cash. There's an investment here that's critical, as we talked about in the last in the last question. But I do think we can do this in a way that doesn't break the Treasury by any means and really amplifies what we're doing across all the other services and all the other joint warfighting commands. As it relates to what others are spending, it's hard to determine what others spend. I'm more focused on what we're doing and remaining the best in the world at space, which we are today.
Q: Thank you.
DUELFER: Next question, Kayla?
STAFF: We'll take the next question from Chris Miller.
Q: Chris Miller from the Air Force Academy. General Raymond, thanks for the discussion today. In addition to the technical and organizational things you've been doing, I think it's also worth noting that you're trying to create a new sort of organizational culture. I'm curious, how you see the name for Space Force members, guardians, both driving and directing that culture and how you see it explaining what the Space Force does to the public, both in the U.S. and in the world?
RAYMOND: Yes. Sir, it’s great to see you again. It was great to see you a few weeks ago when I was up at the Academy. We worked really hard on that name. When it was announced there was a lot of people saying, "Oh, they stole it from Guardians of the Galaxy." That's not the case at all. In Air Force Space Command, back in 1982, when that command was stood up, there was a motto for the Command that was adopted and it was, "guardians of the high frontier." Air Force Space Command published a magazine, I think it was quarterly, that was Guardians of the High Frontier. So as we crowdsourced this, I mean, we had 700 different inputs, I think, 400 unique different names. We went to linguists and said, "Come up with names." We looked at every possible option. We focus group tested the top ones that were identified that people in the Service and those that are outside of the Service resonated with the most. I think it's appropriate for the work that we do. I think the capabilities that we operate like the missile warning capabilities that provide the unblinking eye for our nation to detect against any threat either at home, or as we saw with the missile launches from Iran into Iraq. We provide that unblinking eye to be able to protect our nation and protect our operational forces.
As it relates to culture. Culture is not something that you can order on Amazon Prime and get it overnight, it's going to take us some time to build this. I do think the name is important. We want to build a warfighting culture. We want to build a culture that's innovative, that is bold, that can move at speed. I'll tell you, I'm really pleased with how this is going. The Academy cadets that you help grow into second lieutenants, both last year where we had eighty-six that came into the service and then this year with 118. They're going to be the ones, along with the ROTC cadets, the OTS graduates, and the new recruits that we have coming in through basic training, they're going to be the ones that are going to help us build this culture and get it right. But I think the name is appropriate, it's tied to our history, and it reflects the critical work that we do for our nation and for our joint coalition forces.
DUELFER: General, can I just jump in there and, you know, we're talking about getting the next generation involved. Any chances any of them will fly? I remember back in the days when the Air Force was going to have its own shuttle and shuttle missions. They recruited astronauts that wore blue suits. Any chance they'll be one of these graduates from your Academy to be in orbit?
RAYMOND: Absolutely, there's a chance of that. In fact, we've got two today. We've got two astronauts that are assigned to NASA, that are Space Force colonels. Colonel Nick Hague, who was on the International Space Station two years ago, landed two years ago. He actually works here on my staff. He was the officer that helped me, as a Test Pilot School graduate, and helped us design our testing infrastructure. And then Colonel Mike Hopkins, who just landed from the ISS, he commanded the operational crew mission that went up to the International Space Station. It just landed probably a month ago or so, I lost track, but here just recently. While he was on orbit, he transferred over into the Space Force. So there's clearly, just like all other services, the Space Force will have astronauts that will be a part of NASA.
I also think if you look at where the domain is headed, we're building the Service, not just for today, but we're building the Service for a hundred years from now. And just think what our Air Force is today compared to what it was in 1947, or what the Navy is today compared to what it was its beginning, or the Army compared to what it was. I really see, maybe not in the next two years, or five years, or maybe ten years, who knows when? But as barriers to access to space to continue to get lower, and more things go into space, more humans go into space, I could predict a future where the Space Force will be going into the domain as a Space Force not just as astronauts assigned to NASA. We'll see how that plays out as the domain evolves.
DUELFER: Kayla, next question.
STAFF: We'll take the next question from Dee Smith.
Q: Thank you very much, gentlemen, it's very informative. Dee Smith, Strategic insight Group and Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, University of Texas. I had a question, General, about the traffic control role that the U.S. plays for the world. How do you see that being affected by rising nationalism and autarky and the trend to fragmentation that exists in the world? Will that still be respected and will we still have that role? And related to that, what is the threat of the kinds of activities that might occur in conflict in terms of creating a cascade of debris from attacks that might be mounted against U.S. or other satellites? Thank you very much.
RAYMOND: Thank you. On the space traffic control work, back in 2008 two satellites collided and it caused about 3,000 pieces of debris. Once that happened, we started doing all the conjunction analysis, if you will, on every object in space against every other object and seeing when things might collide. Then once we got indications that there was a potential collision, we would really track those objects and refine that analysis and then make warning to the world. We still do that today. The reason why we do that is we want to keep the domain safe for all. My data is a couple years old so I'm assuming it's still the case but don't quote me on this. I know it's the case today that that we warn the world. If a satellite is about to hit a piece of debris that China caused, when they blew up their own satellite in 2007 into 3,000 pieces of debris, we will warn everybody against that. In fact, we warned China that they were about to hit a piece of their own debris. And back then, this is the part that I don't know if it's still accurate, but a couple years ago, that represented about 10 percent of the conjunctions that we had, that debris caused by that one event. So debris forming events of any kind, whether it's collision, whether it's satellites that break apart at the end of life, or launches that litter the space domain with debris upon launch, or purposeful destruction like we saw with China. All of those are concerning.
The way you keep debris from happening today is largely to keep from creating it in the first place. And so you put in engineering standards so when things launch it doesn't break up into pieces. You design satellites that they don't break apart. You do the warning of the world, the space traffic control, if you will, for the world, so things don't collide. And you act responsibly in the domain and you don't blow up satellites kinetically in to thousands of pieces of debris. And so that work is becoming a full-time job, keeping this domain safe because there's a lot more objects that are in space. That's only going to continue. We're looking forward to being able to transfer the space traffic control piece of that mission to the Department of Commerce, to take that over and to allow us to focus on the space domain awareness piece and understanding the national security implications of that domain. But turning it over to another organization to work the traffic management piece.
DUELFER: General, can I just pick up on just one little element of that--the China piece. Do we have an existing channel to talk to the Chinese about these types of issues? I know we have some limits on what we can do in space with China, obviously. In Russia we have our open channel, but where are we with China?
RAYMOND: The way we communicate to the world again on potential conjunctions and we send the emails to folks if we think two things are going to collide. That's the channel that we use today. It's a channel just to send notice that there's a potential conjunction.
STAFF: We'll take the next question from Matthew Padilla.
Q: Thank you and thank you for your service and your time General Raymond My name is Matt Padilla and I'm the government affairs manager of Relativity Space. Relativity is building the world's first 3D printed rocket, Terran 1, which will launch at the end of the year and the world's first fully reusable 3D printed rocket, Terran R, which was announced this week. New launch providers are eager to provide a resource for the Space Force as it develops its fast-paced culture and utilizes ultra low-cost access to space. I wanted to take this opportunity to expand on your points regarding responsive launch. What is your vision for incorporating launch providers utilizing new manufacturing techniques into the launch cadence for the Space Force? And how important is rapid responsive launch to the future of military operations in space, especially with regards to developing deterrence by denial against near-peer threats? Thank you.
RAYMOND: First of all, thanks, and thanks for what you're doing. As I mentioned upfront, responsive launch is going to be really important to us. It's important to us today and we need to get better. If you look at our launch strategy, our launch strategy has largely been three things. Assure access to space, increase competition, and get off RD-180 engines, Russian engines. In all three of those, our launch strategy is working really good. And on the competition side, I'm really excited to see industry develop responsive capabilities, as you discussed. I think it's going to be very important to us. We're taking an enterprise approach to this. I think we've got multiple companies that are on contract with us for responsive launch capabilities. We're working the policies, the processes, the range part of this, the satellite interfaces, so we can do that work responsively as well. And so we're taking a whole enterprise approach to this. But I see it being important to us today and even more important to us as we go forward.
Q: Thank you, sir.
DUELFER: Thank you. Kayla, next one in the queue?
RAYMOND: Thank you.
STAFF: We'll take our next question from Richard Foster.
Q: Thank you very much, General, for this interesting report. What is the role of the Space Force in defense from hypersonic missile attacks?
RAYMOND: Our big piece of this? I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name.
RAYMOND: Oh, okay. Our big piece of this is detecting and providing missile warning for the world. And so through our satellites and through our on-orbit constellation with satellites and our radar architecture around the world, our mission is the missile warning piece of that and to be able to detect and track those threats.
DUELFER: Next question, Kayla? We've got time for a couple more.
STAFF: We'll take our next question from Bruce MacDonald. A reminder to please announce your affiliation.
Q: There we go. I'm Bruce MacDonald with the Johns Hopkins University, both Applied Physics Lab and the School of Advanced International Studies. I wanted to ask you about a part of space that is getting a lot more interest and activity, the cislunar region, the region between the Earth and the Moon and to include the Moon. There are a lot of activities planned over the next few years with Artemis and the China-Russia moon base, possible interest in Lagrange points, to get technical for a moment. What is Space Force's plans for this part of the space domain? How do we monitor all of this? Likely a lot more activity is going to take place over the next five or ten years in that part of the domain. Thank you.
RAYMOND: It's a great question. As the world expands further out in activities beyond traditional orbits of low Earth orbit, medium Earth orbit, and geosynchronous orbit, so will the Space Force. We're going to have to have domain awareness in more than just where we've traditionally had domain awareness. We're also doing a lot of work on those and Force design, if you will, using those same strategic points that you highlighted. But I just think that as--you know, if you look at over the end of this decade, there's talk about a trillion-dollar economy growing between here and the lunar surfaces. Those activities emerge and things expand beyond the traditional orbits. The Space Force will have to provide capabilities that will be able to protect and defend our nation across the entire domain. Again, if you look at the AOR that Space Command is assigned, it's a hundred kilometers above the Earth's surface and out. We need to be effective in all of that.
DUELFER: Kayla can we have one more brief question? We've got about three minutes before our clock runs out.
STAFF: Sure, we'll take our last question from Mark Hannah.
Q: Hi, thank you, General, for this presentation. It’s informative and exciting to hear about the energy with which we're pursuing this, and you've talked a lot about the need for speed. I'm Mark Hannah with the Eurasia Group Foundation. My question is about what kind of reassurances we're providing to other countries that these capabilities are primarily defensive? Obviously, other countries might see this speed and treat it as a pacing threat for them, so to make sure that we're not unduly creating a kind of arms race in space or weaponizing space in a way that goes beyond what America's vital national interests are. Thank you and I apologize for the sound of toddlers in the background.
RAYMOND: Oh, it's all good. First of all, on space becoming warfighting domain. As I've said a couple times throughout the answers to these questions, we want to deter conflict from beginning or extending into space. We do not want that conflict to take place. We think space has a way of amplifying deterrence messages. People talk about space deterrence; I don't think there is such a thing. I think it's deterrence and there's different components of it. It's an integrated view of deterrence. And I think space has a play in that. I think space has a play in strategic stability. I think if we get this right and we can protect and defend our capabilities and to do so in partnership with our partners which is a really critical point. We work very closely with our partners on this. If we can deter conflict from beginning or extending into space, we can then deter conflict from spilling over into other domains and enhance strategic stability rather than degrade it.
The way we're doing this is we're working this, again, very closely with our allies and partners. We train together, we exercise together, we operate capabilities together, we war-game together, we message together, we're developing norms of behavior together. I think that the way we do this is to do it in partnership with our partners and to demonstrate what is safe and responsible behavior in the domain, to be transparent in what we're doing. I'm not naive enough to think that if we develop this that everybody's just going to follow suit. But I do think if we develop this, we're going to help identify those that are running the red lights and us and our partners will be successful at that. So it's working closely with our partners as we go down this path. It's being transparent. It's being responsible. It's sharing data broadly. And there's nobody that does it better than the United States.
DUELFER: Well on that note, General, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to the CFR members. I hope you'll come back, maybe in another year and you'll have even more to report. Again, today's session was on the record, there'll be a transcript posted on the website with the audio. Thank you for all the members for showing up. Good luck with your mission, General.
RAYMOND: Sir, thank you. Let me just say thanks for the opportunity. I'm proud of the team. It's remarkable, it's absolutely remarkable. As an airman that's been an airman for thirty-five years as part of the world's best Air Force, I'm proud of where we started with coming out of the Air Force, but it's been remarkable the progress that we've made. And I'll tell you, it's important, it's really important work for our country to get after all the challenges and opportunities that we've discussed over the course of the last hour. I appreciate the opportunity and I sure hope you'll invite me back again.
DUELFER: Thank you.
RAYMOND: All right, take care.