Adm. Cecil D. Haney, U.S. Strategic Command commander:Â Let’s give a round of applause for the color guard and for Senior Airman Spjute for singing the National Anthem.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, family and friends, men and women of my joint command here, those who man the Joint Space Operations Center, and of course, the 14th Air Force â€“ thank you all for being here today!
It is great for me to be back at Vandenberg Air Force Base.Â This is sort of good timing as I am here this week and if all goes well, am back again next week.Â So it’s always great to be here and to be able to stop and recognize all that you do here for the United States of America and for our national security.
What a beautiful day it is here to celebrate with Lt. Gen. Jay Raymond and his wife Mollie, and their family as he wraps up this stellar tour as my component commander for space and as they both embark on their third tour in the Washington, D.C. area and (inaudible).
I also want to welcome Lt. Gen. Dave Buck who is the newest lieutenant general in the United States Air Force, and his wife, Stella, and also Patrick.Â Thank you for being here at Vandenberg and joining the U.S. Strategic Command family.
It is fantastic to see this large crowd here, which is a true testimony, in my opinion, to what Dave and Jay’s leadership is all about here and the importance of the this space mission.
John and Laura, it is good to see you here as well.Â Thank you for your leadership.
Mayor Richardson, thank you and all the other local community leaders, for what you do, day in and day out, for the support you provide the military and its mission here and for all you do to provide support for their families.
To the industry partners that are here, thank you for your support to this very important mission and for your partnership.
I also want to salute all the veterans who are out in the audience too, for your service and of course, their families.Â
And finally, I have to salute our space warriors, from the senior leaders to the most junior among you â€“ for all you do â€“ day in and day out for our nation, particularly in support of our Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen, and Marines, Coastguardsmen and civilian’s conducting operations around the globe.
This is certainly a very exciting day for Jay and Dave.Â Coming into this job, Jay kept telling me, over and over again, about how this was his dream job.Â He hasn’t said that about his next one.Â So, we’ll see.
Interesting enough, I have heard the same thing now from Dave. This is a great job because I think this is such a vibrant and exciting area to lead in!
I am sure they would both agree that the space mission, associated operations, and capabilities have changed so significantly during their career.Â Who would have thought that space would underpin every part of our global economy, including our civil and commercial infrastructure?Â Who would have thought that our day-to-day activities â€“ from television to the internet, from cell phones to banking activity â€“ all of this would become just so dependent upon assured access into space?
From a warfighting perspective, our joint military forces depend upon precision navigation timing providing the capability for the warfighters and for the weapons to reach their targets.Â Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance to detect and assess threats and conduct battle damage assessment.Â Indications and warnings for early warning of missile and bomber threats.Â And, of course, secure communications connecting warfighters, decision makers, and in some cases to unmanned vehicles and to me each satellite is that ultimate unmanned vehicle.
And I could go on and on about the budget too, as another decision point.
This domain gets more and more complicated each day.Â We simplify that by describing the space domain today as contested, congested and competitive.Â While it is easy to remember those 3 C’s, addressing the challenges in space is not.Â Yet, Jay and his remarkable team have been addressing these challenges head on, even though I would say they have not in the past been adequately resourced.Â But his team has dealt with it in remarkable ways.
While I am grateful and encouraged by recent budgetary developments such as the presidential budget decision of 2016 to support investments to improve and modernize our technical and technology, and our operational approach to space, I am ecstatic that Jay chose not to wait around for 2016, but has been continually challenging his teams and the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community to aggressively work now to provide solutions.
Perhaps he knew he would not be in this dream job in 2016, and knew he needed to sprint ahead to get as much as possible done.
So, by thinking strategically and innovatively, demanding changes, and developing partnerships, Jay ultimately led his team to provide essential solutions that he was able in some cases implemented immediately.Â
He also provided the stimulus for long-term projects to ensure our nation and our Allies and our Partners will be better prepared to deal with the challenges in space for the foreseeable future.
This is important because we are doing more than directing the operations for our fleet of satellites for optimal performances to support terrestrial operations and dealing with much, much more than the challenges of cataloging and monitoring the extensive number of objects in space that move around at incredible speeds.Â China and Russia have openly acknowledged that they are developing â€“ or have developed â€“ counter-space capabilities such as the ability to blind satellites and disrupt key operations.Â Both have demonstrated their ability to perform complex maneuvers in space.
Last year China once again launched a rocket into space to conduct yet another anti-satellite test.Â Fortunately, unlike the one in 2007, this was not a hit to kill test and did not generate the tremendous amount of debris that we continue to deal with from that earlier test.
China has also publicly stated that its goal for the next decade is to out-perform all other nations in space.
North Korea has been busy upgrading their launch facilities and Iran has successfully launched a satellite into orbit after a string of failures.
This is why addressing the challenges in space is one of my top priorities especially since most of my other assigned missions are also dependent on the effective operations from space.
For example, my strategic deterrence mission, that is, to detect and deter strategic attack against the United States or our allies, depends upon the key satellite sensors in space that detect missile launches of missiles, move what is sensed information rapidly into our command centers, and allow for seamless survivable and enduring communications for leaders to address these challenges and to direct our forces.Â
Similarly, our joint military operations at the strategic, operational, and tactical level depend on our freedom of maneuverability and access to space.
Given all of that, our nation has been blessed to have Jay Raymond’s leadership in his dual-hatted role.Â
Over the past 18 months, Jay’s strategic vision and operational perspective have been instrumental in leading his teams to deliver space effects to support operations around the globe even in our rather constrained budget environment.Â
He has been a key component commander in my leadership team providing me sage advice on a variety of issues.
Jay has worked passionately and diligently here to prioritize and to get the most out of the resources he has been provided.
His visionary leadership and critical strategic and operational thinking has been critical in our progress towards better characterizing the operational environment, allowing for timely and accurate calculation of threats, and ultimately enabling better decision making at the most senior levels of our government.
He has promoted openness, predictability, and transparency in space operations.Â Today, for example, we have a number of allies and partners working in our Joint Space Operations Center who participate in the daily space operations and planning activities and he has expanded the space situational awareness data sharing agreements with some nine nations, 49 commercial firms and two multi-national organizations.
While working across combatant commands to optimize key sensor utilization for multiple missions or developing and executing forward leaning experimentation and tactics, techniques and procedures development, he has capitalized on other planned space activities such as the Air Force Research Lab ANGELs experiment to train his team to recognize dynamic operations in space and formulate unique approaches to space situational awareness to support space resiliency.
Similarly he has led the development of the first-ever space playbooks to better posture space assets for combatant command support taking space operations to a new level.
Of course, some of you know Jay as the TV celebrity.
I hope you saw Jay in the “60 Minutes” news program.Â I, of course, am proud of how he represented Strategic Command’s deterrence and assurance mission making it clear that no adversary will gain the advantage they seek by attacking the United States â€“ or our allies and partner’s â€“ in space, and that the United States will retain the right to respond, in a manner of our choosing, should deterrence fail.
Well, while he has not yet won any Oscars, he does in my mind get a four-star rating (inaudible) regarding his collective efforts to improve space situational awareness and our ability to command and control space operations.
He set out on a revolutionary path to transform our Joint Space Operations Center into a more effective operations center to address the challenges in the very this complex space environment. From developing and pushing the execution of an effective action plan, he created the effects of fusion cell and the ability to include not just allies and partners but also the intelligence community as well as commercial entities into more effective space situational awareness methodologies.Â He pushed to get additional command and control capabilities to experiment with in the Joint Space Operations Center and advocated for a new manning strategy.
His efforts fueled my thinking and gave birth to what we call the Joint Space Doctrine and Tactics Forum â€“ a gathering of senior leaders of the US space enterprise from the Department of Defense to our Intelligence Community.Â
The progress of Jay’s personal efforts has the attention of those senior leaders inside the beltway, which he is headed to.
No wonder he was chosen to lead the Air Force’s Air and Space Operations and as I believe, he is the first non-aviator to do so.Â This is a big deal!
Now Jay and Mollie, words can’t properly express how proud Bonny and I are to have served with you twice and all the contributions you have made, not just to our nation’s defense but in support of the stellar professionals and of course, their families.
Now Dave, you are joining the team at a critical time.Â I look forward to your strategic thinking and your critical thought because you are taking command when we’re facing some significant challenges today, particularly when we look at a strategic environment that has grown volatile and uncertain (inaudible).
You have a challenging job ahead. You will, of course, be working for (inaudible).
Dave, I am confident you are the right general officer to lead here as you have an extensive operational and leadership background.Â I am positive you’ll continue to create opportunities and innovative solutions.
Now, many of you here at Team Vandenberg will remember Gen. Buck from his time as the 30th Space Wing commander and that he is also of one the most humble and energetic leaders you will ever meet. Â Also, I hear he has a significant (inaudible).Â He has a reputation for being dedicated and approachable and for caring deeply about peopleâ€¦ he also has a great sense of humor.
I am told that he also has a passion for chocolate.Â We may have something in common.Â Dave has been known to roam the halls to find out who you are and what you’re working on, but don’t be surprised to see him sitting across from your “chocolate jar” on what became fondly known as I’m told as “Buck Baits” at Air Force Space Command Headquarters.
What a great strategy for connecting to the incredible team of professionals that delivers this unique capability.
Jay â€“ I sincerely appreciate the outstanding work you have done for me in two demanding jobs.Â Our military is truly better off.Â I look forward to seeing you inside the hallowed halls of the Pentagon and hearing about the great things you will continue to do for our nation.
I know you will be greatly missed here on the central coast, particularly â€“ as I’m told -- by the Hitching Post restaurant, and within your “winery speech circuit”.
I believe we also both share the unfortunate fondness for a certain D.C. football team, so I hope you and your son, Garry, get to see a few “winning” games while you are there.
Mollie, you have been a great former neighbor and you will always be a friend.Â Thank you for the love and support for Team Vandenberg, and, of course, the families here.Â I wish you the very best and I am sure you will enjoy your time in the D.C. area, especially, as I hear you may be ready for less Santa Maria BBQ and tri-tip (steak) in your diet.Â At least until Jay figures out how to get it shipped. Â (inaudible)
Dave and Stella â€“ Bonny and I welcome you to the Strategic Command family.Â I look forward to working with you, and I know the stellar professionals of both Joint Functional Combatant Command space and 14th Air Force also welcome you both to the space mission.
Thank you all and may God continue to bless these leaders, Team Vandenberg, our all-volunteer force, and of course, the greatest nation on the planet, the United States of America!