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Senate Confirms Saltzman to be Space Force’s next Chief of Space Operations

Saltzman Will Lead The Space Force And Its 16,000 Guardians And Civilians

The Senate has confirmed Lt. Gen. B. Chance Saltzman to be the U.S. Space Force’s next Chief of Space Operations, positioning him to lead the nation’s newest military service.

With his confirmation in hand as well as his promotion to general, Saltzman is poised to step into the position held by Gen. John “Jay” Raymond who has served as the Space Force’s highest-ranking military officer since the service was created on Dec. 20, 2019. Raymond is retiring after a 38-year career that spanned senior service in both the Air Force and Space Force.
Saltzman will lead the Space Force and its 16,000 Guardians and civilians at a key moment as it transitions more fully from the early stages of its creation that focused heavily on organization, administration, doctrine, and sustainment to a more operational posture and modernizing the constellation of satellites that are at the heart of the Space Force’s operation.

Saltzman, who previously served as Space Force Deputy Chief of Space Operations for Operations, Cyber, and Nuclear, acknowledged that mandate and the importance of space during his Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing Sept. 13.

“Space is truly a critical domain for U.S. interests, so we must all be clear-eyed in our understanding that our strategic competitors have invested heavily in fielding systems capable of disrupting, degrading and even destroying our space capabilities,” Saltzman said at the time.

“If confirmed I will work to ensure that the Space Force is ready to protect these vital interests from these threats,” he said.

Department of the Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall welcomed Saltzman’s confirmation while also praising Raymond’s contributions in leading the Space Force since its birth.

Despite its small size compared to the other military services, the Space Force’s strategic importance is clear. During his confirmation hearing Saltzman pledged to build on Raymond’s accomplishments. “The inspired work that General Raymond started has set us on a path. It is a path towards advanced capabilities, modern, resilient architectures, and innovative approaches to meet our service missions.”

When asked for his biggest worry surrounding the shifting conditions in space, Saltzman offered an assessment that is now widely shared.

“We are still the greatest spacefaring nation on the planet,” Saltzman said at the time. “The Space Force’s capabilities … are extremely capable and I still put us at the head of the table. Unfortunately, our adversaries are investing heavily to close that gap and supersede us,” he said.

“I’m worried about the pace with which they are making those changes, China first amongst them but Russia also which is committed to investing heavily in the kinds of capabilities that are going to disrupt, degrade or even destroy our on-orbit capabilities.”



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