COLORADO SPRINGS — The U.S. Air Force is creating a new deputy chief of staff for space position to be filled by a three-star general, Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, the head of Air Force Space Command, announced Tuesday.
The idea is to have a high-ranking general in charge of organizing space efforts and policy for the service, similar to the Air Force’s current deputy chief of staff positions for operations and intelligence, Raymond said at the 33rd annual Space Symposium.
Raymond did not indicate when the position might be filled, but said that the individual will be “focused on [space], making sure that we can organize, train and equip our forces to meet the challenges in this domain.”
The new position is part of a broader Air Force effort to normalize military space operations. The service also is working to develop a concept of operations detailing how to conduct warfighting in space, like the Air Force handles aerial combat or transportation.
The new three-star would be more focused on policy, organization and acquisition of space systems, while Raymond would remain in charge of military space operations and warfighting.
In a statement, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said that a new three-star deputy chief of staff for space, known as the ‘A-11,’ will be the space advocate at Air Force’s headquarters.
“We are making changes now to ensure we can organize, train and equip our space forces to have the skills necessary to operate in a contested environment, defend our systems, and assure space missions and space superiority,” Goldfein said. “This new organization will be instrumental in fostering, at the Air Force Headquarters level, the cultural change and capabilities evolution required to operate in an increasingly contested space domain.”
Raymond, who took over leadership of Space Command in October, said the organization also is looking to overhaul its acquisition system, including greater leveraging of the Operationally Responsive Space Office that was established to rapidly develop small satellites and other space systems to meet urgent needs.
The U.S. finds itself “at this uncomfortable intersection of being very heavily reliant on space capabilities, but at the same time being extremely vulnerable,” Raymond said, adding that the Air Force is focused on preparing space operations for any future conflict.
“We’re not interested in getting in that fight,” Raymond said. “Nobody wins that fight. But we are interested in getting prepared for it.”
He pointed to Operation Desert Storm in 1990 and 1991, when space capabilities enabled many combat operations from precision bombing to communications.
“Since 1991, this command has never come home from that fight,” Raymond said. “We have been continuously engaged.”