Connecting at Space Systems Command

  • Published
  • By Brad Smith
  • Space Systems Command Public Affairs
Space Systems Command’s personnel are connected by a common purpose, far greater than any of the individuals that make up the organization, its commanding officer told a capacity crowd of several hundred people at a morning event, April 18, at Los Angeles Air Force Base.

“One of our four ‘Guardian Ideals’ is connection - character, connection, commitment, and courage,” said Lt. Gen. Philip Garrant, SSC commander, whose all-call address was the keynote for a day-long event celebrating the command and its mix of uniformed, civilian and contractor staff. “What we do is incredibly hard, but we do it incredibly well, and we do it because of all of you,” he said.

Despite the speed of change since the Space Force was created in 2019, SSC is keeping apace of the command’s mission, Garrant said, including implementing the new Commercial Space Strategy announced this month by Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman.

“We’ve never had a single mission command focused on the four aspects of readiness, those being people, training, equipment, and sustainment,” Garrant said. “For the first time, under a single commander, we are focused on delivering capability and readiness improvement.”

Space Systems Command is headquartered on Los Angeles AFB in El Segundo but includes organizations and personnel operating from facilities across the United States and around the world. The command manages a $15.6 billion space acquisition budget for the Department of Defense and works to develop, acquire, equip, and sustain resilient space capabilities to support U.S. and allied forces.

“We need to continue refining what a field command for an acquisition organization looks like, get after developing our workforce, and focus on delivering capabilities,” said Garrant, who spoke in the Schriever Courtyard on base. The courtyard is named for Gen. Bernard Schriever, who led SSC’s predecessor organization, USAF’s Western Development Division, which was organized in 1954 as a crash effort to manage the Air Force’s ballistic missile projects.

“We need capabilities for the warfighter by 1 January 2026, that are fielded, tested, trained, and presented to the warfighter, in about 20 short months,” Garrant said.

Garrant came to SSC in February, assuming command from Gen. Michael Guetlein, now vice chief of space operations. His service in acquisition positions dates to 1992, when Garrant started his career as a systems engineer and program manager for the Document and Data Networks Division, National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Maryland.

Following that assignment, Garrant went on to serve in a variety of acquisition positions including systems engineer, program manager, program element monitor, squadron commander, senior materiel leader, deputy program executive officer, and program executive. Prior to taking command at SSC, Garrant served as the Space Force’s deputy chief of space operations, strategy, plans, programs, and requirements, at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.

The general spoke on a wide range of issues during his keynote, directly and – along with Chief Master Sgt. Jacqueline Sauvé, SSC’s senior enlisted leader – in response to questions from the audience. The two talked about matters ranging from the physical plant and infrastructure needs at SSC’s facilities to the upcoming Torrance Armed Forces Day celebration May 17-19, where Space Force will be the honored service and Garrant will serve as grand marshal of the weekend event’s annual parade.

Along with the commander’s address, the day included a team-building physical training exercise on base sponsored by the Guardian Resiliency Team; a “Helping Agency Fair,” with service organizations from across LAAFB and Los Angeles, ranging from the base Military and Family Readiness Center to the Federal Voting Assistance Program; and an “Open Innovation Office Hours” event hosted by SSC’s AtlasX organization for military personnel and civilian staff to come forward with ideas about improving processes at the command.

At the end of his talk, Garrant offered a quote from the musician and singer songwriter Roger Waters:

“Dragged by the force of some inner tide, at a higher altitude with flag unfurled, we reach the dizzy heights of that dreamed-of world,” Garrant said. “Semper Supra!”