Saltzman named head of Space Force
President Joe Biden on Wednesday tapped Space Force chief of operations Lt. Gen. Chance Saltzman to lead the service as the next four-star chief of space operations.
If confirmed by the Senate, Saltzman will be the second person to serve as a senior Space Force officer since the service was established in December 2019. He would succeed Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, who is expected to retire. after 35 years of service. in the Air Force and nearly three in the Space Force.
Raymond strongly supported the selection of Saltzman as his successor, according to SpaceNews, which first announced the choice on Thursday.
Other candidates for the post included Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting, who heads the Space Force’s operations branch, and Lt. Gen. John Shaw, the Pentagon’s second-most senior U.S. Space Command officer.
Saltzman has recently become the go-to person for high-level military planning initiatives, from the Air Force’s 2017 Multi-Domain Command and Control Enterprise Study to serving as the first Deputy Chief of the Space Force. for space, cyber and nuclear operations.
A proud graduate of Boston University, he entered the Air Force in 1991 as a nuclear missile operator before moving into military space jobs. Later, he assumed senior level programs and planning positions as well as a year-long tour as deputy commander of U.S. Air Forces Central Command – the first non-airman to hold the position.
Along the way, Saltzman has cultivated a reputation as an articulate, global thinker who leads the way in breaking down the Pentagon’s most ingrained obstacles to joint operations.
“He has strengthened all of the space and cyber functions in the various divisions of the Combined Air Operations Center by raising their stature within the divisions to ensure that these elements are also integrated into everything we do,” said the Air Force Col. Byron Pompa, AFCENT. director of air, space and information operations, said in a 2020 press release.
Since becoming Space Force’s chief of operations in August 2020, Saltzman has addressed the big questions behind space warfare: how should the service define its readiness and how can it operate seamlessly with other parts of the military giant?
The Space Force now has nearly 16,000 guards and civilians. They wear the service’s uniform or are assigned by other branches and operate U.S. military satellites and radars for missions such as GPS, communications, missile warning, and surveillance as part of the Department of Air Force.
It was largely formed from the former Air Force Space Command and includes rocket launch bases in California and Florida, as well as a host of other facilities in Colorado and around the world.
The service has played a leading role in exposing and shaming foreign actors for what it sees as misbehavior in orbit, such as foreign spying on other people’s systems or launching anti-satellite missiles that can spread damaging debris across the cosmos.
“Protecting and defending our space capabilities and defending our joint force against irresponsible or hostile use of space capabilities is why your space force was created,” Saltzman said at the GEOINT 2022 symposium.
He kept an eye out for possible lessons learned from Russia’s war on Ukraine, in which commercial satellite constellations play a key role in intelligence gathering and public transparency despite Russian cyberattacks.
“If you think the only way to take down space capabilities is to shoot down satellites, you’re missing the big picture…because these cyberattacks are happening on terrestrial networks,” Saltzman told reporters. in May.
Two key challenges will be making the case for a growing military space budget to legislators wary of bureaucratic red tape and convincing the American public of the merits of their new military branch.
He will also represent the service as it attempts to make its own mark on issues ranging from troop recruiting and retention to a non-traditional approach to Guard and Reserve components.
The Space Force is working on the details of setting up the Space Development Agency under its roof to accelerate a large constellation of commercial satellites for military use and support parts of Navy and Army space enterprises. , among other initiatives.
Saltzman is scheduled to appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee before a confirmation vote by the full chamber. A Space Force spokesperson told the Air Force Times on Wednesday that a change in command could come late in 2022.
Rachel is a Marine Corps veteran, a Penn State alumnus, and a master’s candidate at New York University for Business and Economic Reporting. She has also written for VTDigger and New York Magazine, and previously worked as the editor of Early Bird Brief for Defense News and Military Times.
Rachel Cohen joined Air Force Times as a senior reporter in March 2021. Her work has appeared in Air Force Magazine, Inside Defense, Inside Health Policy, The Frederick News-Post (Md.), The Washington Post, and others. .