Lt. Gen. B. Chance Saltzman, U.S. Space Force deputy chief of space operations, speaking at the 2022 GEOINT Symposium. Credit: U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation

WASHINGTON — President Biden has nominated Lt. Gen. B. Chance Saltzman, currently serving as U.S. Space Force deputy chief of operations, for promotion to four-star general, and selected him to lead the Space Force as chief of space operations.

The White House on July 27 submitted Saltzman’s nomination to the Senate and it will be referred to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

If confirmed by the Senate, Saltzman will succeed Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, who is retiring after 38 years of service. Raymond was the first chief of the military space branch established in December 2019. The chief of space operations is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The Space Force is an independent military service under the Department of the Air Force. It has nearly 8,000 uniformed members known as guardians, and about an equal number of civilian employees charged with operating and protecting the U.S. military’s satellites and supporting systems.

Saltzman served most of his military career in the U.S. Air Force and commanded coalition air forces in the Middle East before transferring to the Space Force in 2020 where he has overall responsibility for operations, intelligence, sustainment, cyber and nuclear operations. 

According to multiple sources, Raymond strongly supported the selection of Saltzman as his successor. Other candidates on the short list included Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting, commander of the Space Force’s Space Operations Command; and Lt. Gen. John Shaw, deputy commander of U.S. Space Command. 

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...