Remarks by Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman at Space Forces - Space Activation Ceremony

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  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
As Delivered by Chief of Space Operations U.S. Space Force Gen. Chance Saltzman on Jan. 31, 2024.

Good morning. I think its morning. I left in the morning on the East coast, and I think it’s still morning here. So, that’s terrific.

Let me just add my welcome to all the generals, commanders, chiefs, community leaders, distinguished guests, friends, and family. It is truly an honor to be back here at Vandenberg.
I can say without a doubt I learned to conduct space operations here. I learned to lead space operations here.

In 2007, when the Chinese destroyed one of their own satellites, I learned what it really meant to have contested and congested space operations here at Vandenberg.
This is truly a special place to me. To the Schiess family… Doug, thanks for answering my call. Your continued service to the Space Force is very meaningful, also to this Command and to our Nation.

Thank you for that.

Big thanks to Deb, to your children, who are joining us virtually - I think: Kaitlyn, who is studying for a Ph.D. at Duke and Kendra and her husband Matthew.
Kendra is a first-year law student at Georgetown. So thank you for your love and support of Doug, and for sharing your husband and father with us for these many years. Thank you for that.

And actually, just welcome to all the family and friends of the Schiess family – we are delighted you could join us for this special day.

Now, the Chaplain kind of alluded to this. But as a history major, I’m going to tell you about being thrilled to be here on 31 January. On 31 January 1958, the United States entered the Space Age with its first successful launch of Explorer 1 from Cape Canaveral.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

But today marks another milestone for the Space Force. One directly tied to all the hard work and effort that went into making that first launch successful over six decades ago. Today’s version of the Space Race – what we now calling Great Power Competition – involves more players than the two nations in space in 1958. But the impetus remains the same – to ensure that the United States will be able to gain and maintain our strategic advantage in the space domain.

And that’s why the stand up of Space Forces - Space is so important.

It is a significant step in the evolution of the Space Force as we mature as an organization to better take on the challenges and responsibilities we’ve inherited in the space domain.

And although there are four other service components, Space Forces - Space is the indispensable component because its capabilities allow United States Space Command to perform its missions in the space domain, and these missions are critical to the success of the Joint Force.

As a service component now focused on mission operations, it will now take on the massive responsibility of ensuring its assigned Space Force forces generate the space effects needed by the nation to deter conflict and support national interests.

Carving out Space Forces - Space allows Space Operations Command to be laser focused on our “organize, train, and equip” mission.
And with this last element in mind, be a demanding customer now Doug, be a demanding customer, and drive Space Force readiness to the highest possible levels.

With the establishment of Space Forces - Space, Space Force commits to providing a cadre of space experts who will serve as a critical part of the Joint Force, support our allies, and enable our partners as we integrate space into our shared operations, activities, and investments.

But the work under U.S. Space Command is only a part of the story.

Space Forces - Space will be instrumental in supporting the other service components around the world.

By integrating directly with other space professionals at the operational level, space will be better accounted for in worldwide operations across multiple domains and in support of multi-regional interests.

Therefore, it is not an exaggeration to say that Space Forces - Space is a force multiplier in the truest sense of that term.

From this day forward, Space Forces - Space will enhance the security of our nation and our responsiveness across components.

That level of coordination will be invaluable because space has become more and more central to joint operations.

We are better connected, more informed, more precise, and more lethal thanks to the space capabilities directed by this small and mighty team here at Vandenberg.

And although Space Forces - Space is technically a new organization, the important work done here stretches back decades.

While the people, systems, organizational structures have changed over the years, what has remained is precise, dedicated, and continuous command and control of space forces. So, let’s talk about this for a bit…

You advanced the protect and defend mission by solidifying the relationship between Delta 5 and Delta 15.

This was particularly important as you demonstrated the ability to transmit tasks to the United States Navy as part of the broader Space Domain Awareness mission, all while executing Sprint Advanced Concept Training events with eight allied partners.

You were also the nexus for coalition and commercial support to space operations – essentially ensuring that the space domain remains safe and accessible.

Specifically, in 2020, you were involved in America’s return to human space flight when SpaceX launched NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.

Similarly, in 2021, when Russia’s destructive anti-satellite test created a large orbiting debris field, you were intimately involved in ensuring the safety of the International Space Station astronauts by warning of potential conjunctions and working with U.S. Space Command to rally our coalition to condemn this unprofessional behavior.

Finally, you were integral to providing stellar support.
That’s my favorite phrase…we provide “stellar support.”
Let that sink in. I love it!

We provide stellar support to the Geographic Combatant Commanders across the globe by delivering space capabilities in support of many contingency operations such as our response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and our on-going efforts to protect US and Allied forces, particularly with regards to the Houthi situation in Yemen and the ongoing conflict in Israel.

Clearly, the effort here at Vandenberg has been important and will continue to be important to the U.S. Space Force.

And you all can get ready, because your responsibilities and missions are only going to grow now that Space Forces - Space becomes a stand-alone organization.

Thanks for what you have done…and more importantly, what you are going to do.

The Space Force has proven time and again that the effects of space, and of individual Guardians, go far beyond our numbers.

No one exemplifies this better than General Doug Schiess.

Doug, we wouldn’t be here today without your hard work.

I’ve known Doug longer than either of us cares to admit.

We collaborated at Peterson Space Force Base to keep the generals happy when he was the wing commander there.

We collaborated in the Pentagon where Doug gave me pointers to keep the Air Staff on the good side of the Under Secretary of the Air Force when he worked for Secretary Donavan.

And now from these first days of the Space Force, Doug has been an invaluable partner, leader, and asset to all Guardians.

Doug has commanded at the squadron, wing, and now component level.

He has deployed to Qatar in support of the war in Afghanistan.

He served as commander of Combined Force Space Component Command and the vice commander of Space Operations Command.

He has a firm understanding of the wants and needs of this new organization, and I can think of no better officer to lead Space Forces - Space.
So, as we formally establish Space Forces - Space, my charge to the Guardians here is to be bold, be collaborative, be creative – solve problems, find answers.

The space mission is vast and ever-growing, and we will need your best to succeed in the challenging years ahead.

To the new commander of Space Forces - Space, Doug, on behalf of Jennifer and I, thanks to you and to the entire Schiess family for your continued service.
We wouldn’t be here today without your commitment to the success of the Space Force, our nation, and our allies.

I have every confidence you will carry out your duties with the character, commitment, connection, and courage you have demonstrated every day throughout your career.

To the Schiess family, along with the men and women of Space Forces - Space, thank you again for your dedication to the mission of securing our nation’s interests in, from, and to space and for your continued service to the United States Space Force and our nation.

Semper Supra!