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Vandenberg AFB/14th Air Force
Buckley AFB/460th Space Wing
Los Angeles AFB/61st Air Base Group
Patrick AFB/45th Space Wing
Peterson AFB/21st Space Wing
Schriever AFB/50th Space Wing
Thule AFB/821 Air Base Group
Vandenberg AFB/30th Space Wing
Advanced Systems and Development Directorate at Kirtland AFB
Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) at Los Angeles AFB
National Space Symposium 2017 Keynote Address
33rd Annual National Space Symposium, Colorado Springs - 4 Apr 2017
Good afternoon—everybody doing okay? First, General Shelton, thank you for your kind words. I clearly wouldn't be here today without your leadership, mentorship, and friendship. I'll tell you the Air Force and Air Force Space Command wouldn't be here, where we are, without your leadership over the years. It was really an honor to have you introduce me; I'm privileged to follow your footsteps, so thank you very much sir.
I'd also like to say 'thank you' to the Space Symposium and the Space Foundation. This is the event to be at in the space business and I will tell you it gets bigger and better every single year. We've heard that. And I'll tell you, it has to get bigger and better every single year because this is a really, really exciting time to be in the space business. Anybody disagree with that? I can't see anybody because of the bright lights, but anybody disagree with that? I don't think you would.
I would also like to thank The Broadmoor. You know, one of the things that I learned—if you're going to host an event, do it at The Broadmoor. It's kind of hard to screw this up. It's a pretty spectacular place, right? And it's just a great, great place, so if you have an opportunity throughout the week to thank those from The Broadmoor that are providing the hospitality for us, I'd appreciate it if you would do so.
As I mentioned, this is a really, really exciting time to be in the Air Force and it's a really exciting time to be in Air Force Space Command. If you'll go to the first slide, please.
So September of this year, the Air Force is going to celebrate our 70th birthday and in that same month we're also going to celebrate our 35th anniversary of being an Air Force Space Command. We've been in the space business for 54 years, but in 1982 we stood up Air Force Space Command and I'll talk a little bit about that when I begin my remarks. But before I do, what I'd like to do is get our blood pumping a little bit and play a really short video clip to highlight these two significant milestones.
< video >
So that's a shout out to the 45th Space Wing and to the Airmen that are assigned to that wing that do this mission so great; a shout out to our industry partners and to our international partners who all came together to make that mission so successful.
As General Shelton said—he introduced me as having gone to Clemson University. I like to call that the 'Harvard of the South'. In fact, my predecessor went to the Clemson of the North. I tell him that every single time I get the opportunity to do so, but I will tell you, if you look at the 70 years that we've had in the service, if you just take a look at our innovative Airmen, you look at the warfighting ethos that Airmen have, and then you look at the technology that we couple with it, that's what makes us the world's best air, space and cyber force in the world with no close second. And I don't want that to be lost on anybody. I would also like to highlight a couple of folks that are here. First of all, Mollie, will you stand up? This is my wife—thank you, Mollie. And another person I'd like to highlight is General Holmes, if you could stand up. General Holmes is our newest four star in the Air Force; he's the Commander of Air Combat Command and it sends a loud message that we're an air force that operates in air, space, and cyber and we're an air force that integrates operations in air, space, and cyber to great effect. Sir, thanks for being here—it's a privilege to have you here and I'm proud to serve with you.
So back when I was in the Harvard of the South, I remember hearing very, clearly General Hartinger, the first Commander of Air Force Space Command, come to the school and talk about space. I remember it vividly—I just can't remember what the event was. And I remember him talking about Air Force Space Command. So when I got here in October and took command of Air Force Space Command, as part of my in-processing I met with all the different agencies of Air Force Space Command and I had the privilege of sitting down with our historians, and I told that story and I said "Hey, I really remember hearing General Hartinger speak when he came to Clemson. Could you do a little research and see if you can come up with something?" So sure enough, two days later they came back and they said "Sir, you're right—he did go to Clemson. He was there in April 1984, the month before you graduated and he gave a speech to the AFA and we actually got a copy of the speech." If you wouldn't mind, I'd like to just give a few words from this speech.
So again, April 1984. General Hartinger: "Why did we establish a Space Command, and why now? Our perception of space has changed. Space is a place like the land, the sea, and the air—just another dimension. And it was just a matter of time until we started treating it as such. We had an ongoing study in the Air Force to determine when we would need an operational space command and several factors converged which led to that decision. The first reason is the Soviet threat. The Soviets have a major military space program. Over the past decade, they have launched four to five times as many satellites as we have and 70% of their launches are strictly military. They have an orbital ASAT system which they have demonstrated for years and which is a threat to our low earth orbiters. They have a solid ground-based electronic warfare system and their high-energy laser program is three to five times the U.S. level of effort.
The second reason for an operational command is our growing dependence on space systems. I can perform the missile warning mission only because I have a satellite early warning system. Our military weather satellites provide key data to all services. Over 70% of our long haul communications are handled via satellites. And the Global Positioning System will let us navigate worldwide with unprecedented accuracy. With this growing military dependence on space has come an ever-increasing national security resource commitment. Ten years ago, our military space budget"—again, this was in 1984—"10 years ago, our military space budget was $2 billion." The FY85 budget that was being considered in Congress when this speech was given, was about $10 billion. "With this resource commitment, it dictates the most effective management possible which we can provide with an operational space command."
So when I read that whole speech, it was striking to me the similarities of where we are today. We find ourselves at this uncomfortable intersection of being heavily reliant on space capabilities but at the same time being extremely vulnerable. And so as I look back at the history of the Command, I broke up the 35 years of the Command into three eras, and the first era of the Command begins with General Hartinger in 1982, and that's the building of Air Force Space Command. And if you look at the general officers that are on this chart, the first commanders of Air Force Space Command—I'd like to highlight General Moorman—sir, it's always a privilege to be with you. Thank you for getting us to where we are today. These are the gentlemen that led that building of the Command. So the Command formed in 1982—in 1983, we took the DSP mission; in 1983, we also inherited the DMSP mission; and in 1983 we took over the MILSATCOM mission; in 1987, we took over the Air Force Satellite Command and Control Network; and in 1990, we took over the East Coast Launch Operations; and in 1991 we took over the West Coast Launch Operations. While we were building that Command, something happened. About seven years into this, the Berlin Wall came down. The Soviet threat went away and we had the luxury of operating now in a domain that was a benign domain.
Nine years after the startup of this Command, and based on the great work of these leaders and the Airmen that they were privileged to lead, this Command went to war for the first time in 1991, and all this work to build that operational command paid a huge dividend; and we saw that in Desert Storm. We saw space capabilities enable a left hook, if you will, through the desert with GPS. We saw DSP satellites that were built for strategic warning being able to help detect and locate SCUD missiles as a tactical threat. And we saw for the first time, and I remember this very clearly and I think everybody in this room remembers this very clearly, watching General Schwarzkopf and General Chuck Horner on television talking about the luckiest guy in Iraq that just went over the bridge as a precision weapon struck that bridge and took it out very, very, very precisely.
So we saw what space could do to joint warfighting and I give credit to the folks that are on that previous slide that got us ready for that fight. Since 1991, this Command has never come home from that fight. We've been continuously engaged since 1991. So this brings me to the next point and that's the integration phase. And I start this phase with General Chuck Horner. General Horner was the JFACC in Desert Storm—the first ever in Desert Storm and he came out of Desert Storm as the most experienced air joint warfighter that we had at the time. And where did he come after the war? He came to Air Force Space Command to serve as the Commander of Air Force Space Command. And that began what I would call the second era of Air Force Space Command and that's the focus on integrating space into the fight; taking those strategic capabilities—that again, Desert Storm; some have called it the first space war—but taking those capabilities and integrating it into what we call today 'multi-domain operations'. And if you look at these gentlemen that are on this slide and you look down below, there's a series of steps that were taken to build that infrastructure, if you will, that allowed the integration of space like we have today.
General Joe Ashy stood up an Air Force Space Weapons Division—a Weapons School in the Warfare Center—probably, in my opinion, the most significant thing we have done on the integration of air and space. We have now trained a generation of operators, that are beginning to reach the general officer level, that have a deep, deep understanding of not just space capabilities, but the multi-domain capabilities of how we fight. At the same time, we built an operational level of command and control capability out at Vandenberg called the '614th AOC'. That's the precursor to what is today the JSpOC.
We also stood up and established this position called the Director of Space Forces—a senior colonel that we put in theater working for the Commander of Air Forces that works at the Combined Air Operations Centers around the world to better integrate those capabilities into the fight.
Let me give you a little vignette that pulls all this together because this might be lost on some. There's a lot of effort that went into this and there's no way we could do today what we do today without the work of this Command.
See the picture down on the lower right—those are three weapons officers. So back when I was deployed as the Director of Space Forces in in 2006, the Air Force was about to employ the first ever small diameter bomb off of an F-15. Small diameter bomb, by its nature, is small and it needed to be very accurate, and so smart folks back at Schriever Air Force Base figured out a way to get refined GPS accuracy off of a computer at Schriever and if there was a way to broadcast this over Link 16 in theater, we could get enhanced GPS signal straight to that weapon on the wing of an F-15.
So, if you look at this infrastructure that was built, the CFACC at the time, General Gary North, pulled me into the office and said "Make this happen." "Sir, I got it." I reached back and talked to then Lieutenant General Shelton, the 14th Air Force/JFCC Space Commander, and said "Sir, we need to make this happen." And without hesitation, General Shelton went to work with his team and the infrastructure in CONUS at Schriever and at Vandenberg was all set up. Those three weapons officers that are in that picture, the gentleman in the middle is named Colonel Troy Endicott—goes by 'Krusty'. Krusty was the weapons officer that was working for me in theater at the time. The weapons officer to the left part of the slide is Lieutenant Colonel Mark Guerber. Mark Guerber was integrated into the AOC and ran the current ops division for space on the AOC floor. And the gentleman on the right hand side of the chart is an F-15 weapons officer. So Colonel Endicott got with the F-15 weapons officer and said "Hey, we need to make this happen." And those two experts, with the training that they had at the Weapons School, figured out how to do this. Lieutenant Colonel Mark Guerber working in the CAOC figured out how to transmit this over Link 16 and I will tell you—and this is without exaggeration—that first small diameter bomb dropped off of an F-15 and by the time the second one dropped, which I think was just about 10 days, this was up and running—because of the work that was done in this phase. And I'll tell you, it couldn't have happened without that work. And I'd like to ask Colonel Endicott to stand up. Thank you Krusty. Well done.
So there I am again, as the Director of Space Forces; small diameter bomb had just dropped; we had enhanced GPS going directly to the weapon with the great support back with the space professionals back in CONUS, and something else then happened—pretty significant event—and that was about a month later and when China shot down their own satellite and blew up their weather satellite into about 3,000 pieces that we're still tracking today. Next slide, please.
And that event is where I mark the [start of the] third phase of this Command, and that's space as a warfighting domain and being able to normalize—as John Shaw talked about in his luncheon speech, about normalizing space as a warfighting domain. And just as we did in building that integration foundation, we're now doing that for warfighting. You see the graphic that talks about the ASAT; you see that General Hyten two years ago at this symposium, via a charge from Deputy Secretary Work, activated the JICSpOC—my charts are out of date; it's now the National Space Defense Operations Center—to get at that C2 piece of how do you C2 a contested domain to be able to fight and win a war that extends into space. Let me be really, really, really clear with everybody in this room: We're not interested in getting into that fight. Nobody wins that fight—but we are interested in being prepared for it and that's one way we can deter it and that's what we're working hard to do. And that became, over the last couple of years under General Hyten's leadership, something that we've called the Space Enterprise Vision—a vision for how do you take an enterprise look at our space capabilities to make sure that when a warfighter comes in and turns the lights on and needs space, that it's always there. We worked very hard to [develop] another training program and that's the Space Mission Force—to give advanced training to our space warriors to be able to operate in that contested domain.
What we've done now is wrapped all that into a Space Warfighting Construct and that's the illustration on this chart. Now you've got the Space Enterprise Vision, but this construct really is to turn this vision into reality, it all starts with CONOPs, and so we're working very closely with the National Reconnaissance Office to build those CONOPs—the big strategic CONOPs for space as a warfighting domain. A CONOPs on battle management, command and control—that C2 capability that's necessary for this domain. A CONOPs for integrated space situational awareness and indications and warning, and those are all being done, again, in partnership with the intelligence community and with the NRO. And I just would like to say publicly—and I say this every chance I get, but there's no better audience to say this to than this group—is we have the best relationship that we've ever had with the National Reconnaissance Office. And I give a lot of people credit for that; but I would give credit to Betty Sapp for her leadership and building this [relationship]. I think you would also [hear]—in talking to folks that are in the NRO or the folks that are in DoD Space—as great as that partnership is, it's not good enough. We've got to continue to get better; we have to move fast and that's what these CONOPs are doing. We couldn't have done this work two years ago. We weren't mature enough to do this work two years ago or three years ago. We're doing this work very, very collaboratively today and my hat's off to the NRO team. Steven Decker, thank you very much for your leadership; with Betty and Damon Wills, thank you for your leadership as well.
I'd also like to make an announcement today that the Air Force will announce that we are going to stand up a three-star Deputy Chief of Staff for Space that's going to be assigned to the Pentagon. So just like we have a Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Deputy Chief of Staff for Intel, we're going to have a Deputy Chief of Staff for Space. They'll work at the Pentagon—he or she will work at the Pentagon. And it'll be a three-star general. They'll come to work every day focused on [space], making sure that we can organize, train, and equip our forces to meet the challenges in this domain. I'm really, really excited about that big step.
The other thing that we're working—and it gets to the resilience architectures and the enterprise agility—is getting after acquisition; rapid acquisition processes. We're working really hard to implement the NDAA language from last year and to have the Air Force get milestone decision authority for those space programs that are currently held in OSD. The other thing that we're working very hard in the acquisition piece is to leverage our ORS authorities that General Greaves already has as the Commander of SMC more broadly and to be able to use those in different ways.
And then finally, partnerships. I've talked about the partnerships with the National Reconnaissance Office. I've talked about in the past—every chance I get—the partnerships that we enjoy with the commercial industry and I'm a huge fan of that partnership. And then I talk every chance I get on the partnerships with our allies. We haven't had those partnerships to the level that we've needed and we are working really hard to do that. I really appreciate all of the allies that are here and partners that are here. We are eager to partner with you as we meet the challenges of this domain going forward.
So this is a warfighting domain just like air, land, and sea, and the Airmen of Air Force Space Command are joint warfighters. What I'd like to do is use the remainder of my time to introduce you to a few of those joint warfighters, past and present. What you're going to see are Airmen that are innovative; you're going to see are Airmen that are innovative; you're going to see Airmen that have that warfighting ethos; you're going to see Airmen that are making changes based on the change in the strategic environment. And I'm going to try to draw some parallels between past and present.
So when you look at this picture, you see General Douglas MacArthur right in the center; what you may not be as familiar with are the gentlemen on either side. The gentleman on the right is Lieutenant General George Kenney; he was MacArthur's Airman in World War II. He was—you can picture him as the first JFACC, if you will, of the time. He was a very innovative officer; he was one of the first officers or first Airmen to look at using machine guns off of fighter aircraft. The officer, to the left of General MacArthur is a fighter pilot named Ira Bong—Major Ira Bong. Major Ira Bong was a hotshot pilot; in his mind, he would say he's the best fighter pilot in the Air Force, but if you ask Gen Holmes, he'd probably argue. This pilot is doing loops around the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. He was flying by a building at the second story and waving to secretaries as he flew by and he was knocking clothes off of clotheslines. And in fact, General Kenney called him in his office, braced him, and said "Hey, you're going to knock that off and you're going to go hang up clothes in this lady's house until she doesn't have any problems with the Air Force anymore." When General Kenney got summoned to go to the Pacific, he reached out and said "I want this guy" and he brought Major Ira Bong with him. What's legendary is this is the ace of all aces—40 confirmed kills. Just an incredible officer—very innovative. He developed a skipping tactic where you can—just like throwing stones off of water—skip a weapon off of water to destroy naval vessels. Go to the next slide—and later received the Congressional Medal of Honor.
So what I'm going to do—just to kind of give you where we're going with this speech—I've talked to you about the past and now I'm going to talk to you about the present. I'd like to highlight Lieutenant Ian Brotnov. Ian is a lieutenant in our—in the 16th Space Control Squadron, the only space control squadron—defensive space control squadron—in Air Force Space Command. That warfighting construct that I put up—this officer's helping us figure that out; he's helping us mature the Space Mission Force; he's helping us develop tactics, techniques, and procedures; he's helping us define those CONOPs that are so very, very important. Ian, thank you for what you do. Thank you for your service. If I get called to go to war, I'm going to come get you. Stand up—thanks.
So anybody know who these folks are? This is the first Wild Weasel crew. It's Captain Al Lamb who is on the left and Captain Jack Donovan who's on the right. If you recall, back in Vietnam in June of 1965, a pilot in an F-4 and in his back seat are Captain Roscoe Fobair and Captain Pop Keirn who were flying over Vietnam and a surface-to-air missile—an SA-2—shot them out of the sky. It was the first—again, that was in June of '65—the first of 110 U.S. Air Force aircraft to be destroyed via an SA-2. Did the Air Force stop flying when that happened? No. What we did was we figured out how to be able to operate through that contested environment, and the way we did that was we took five hand-selected crews—they were F-100 pilots and five B-52 EWOs—and the EWOs weren't all that excited about this because they get to sit in the back seat with a hotshot fighter pilot running around trying to find an SA-2 before they got shot down. In fact, I won't say it in public, but 'you’ve gotta be “kiddin'” me' is their motto. You know the word that I corrected—that's still the motto today of the Wild Weasels. But what's interesting is when you pair this together with the technology, with the warfighting ethos, with the need to get this done; six months later this crew—this Wild Weasel crew—destroyed the first SA-2 in Vietnam and thus began the long legacy of the Wild Weasels. You can go to the next slide.
This is Major Bryony Slaughter. Bryony is an Air Force weapons officer, a space officer—outstanding by all measures. When we were looking at similar changes to the strategic environment—went from a benign domain to a contested domain—we stood up this National Space Defense Center; we sent Major Slaughter to go do that. She is doing superb work setting up experiments, developing CONOPs for battle management and command and control; developing tactics, techniques, and procedures to be able to respond to a potential threat; working those close relationships with the intelligence community because the bedrock of the National Space Defense Center is that unity of effort between DoD Space and the NRO and Intelligence Space—and Bryony, thank you for what you're doing. You are absolutely a superb officer and I appreciate it—thank you. Please stand up.
This is Bob Gilliland. He is a legend in the high altitude ISR business. He was the test pilot, primary test pilot, for all of the SR-71s and for every variant of the SR-71. He had ice cold blood running through his veins going mach 3.5 and very harrowing missions as they were working this out. If you recall, this was being done—why? Because what we thought was a benign domain, way high with a U-2, really quickly became not the case when in 1960 Francis Gary Powers was shot down and we had to come up with a new way of doing situational awareness, and so that's what this gentleman helped do. He helped redefine and provide a capability that can provide our nation with the situational awareness that we need. Go to the next slide.
This is staff sergeant D.J. Mucha. He's assigned to the 1st Space Operations Squadron out at Schriever Air Force Base operating our Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program—the GSSAP. If you look at the way we do SSA today, it was really built for a benign domain. It's largely built around a catalog. Knowing where something is in space in a benign domain is good enough; in a contested domain, it's not good enough, and we've got to figure out how to shift the focus of SSA from cataloging to warfighting and that's what this NCO is doing for us. We talked at lunch about the neighborhood watch; he's helping us develop those tactics, techniques and procedures to be able to characterize that domain, to give us the awareness of that domain that we need to be able to successfully operate. So D.J., thank you for what you do. Please stand up.
Anybody know who this is? Another Medal of Honor recipient. A1C “Pits” Pitsenbarger, Vietnam, 1966. There was probably the bloodiest fight in Vietnam and many people refused to go into that fight to help. He was one of our first battlefield Airmen; he was a PJ in Vietnam. He flew in. Not only did he fly in; he stayed there. And if you look at the statistics, 106 of 134 Army soldiers were either killed or significantly wounded. This Airman saved nine lives—in fact, saved one life by putting dead bodies [on top] of him to hide him from the enemy. When the helicopter came in to remove those that were wounded—that they could save—he refused to get on the helicopter. He stayed behind and he gave his life for that. Go to the next slide, please.
In my last job as the Air Force A3, I had the absolute distinct privilege of having the opportunity to serve with battlefield Airmen and I'll tell you, as space professionals we operate on the other end of that spectrum of warfighting—they're kind of the three-meter target; we're global. But I'll tell you, we are extremely lucky, as a service, to have these folks that do incredible work for our nation and I'd like to introduce you to Staff Sergeant Wade Smith. Wade is a JTAC—joint terminal attack controller—who is stationed at Fort Carson and embedded with an Army unit at Fort Carson. When battlefield Airmen go into the fight today, they don't go into the fight just working the air domain; they go into the fight with air, space, and cyber all integrated. That's because space and cyber are the DNA of that multi-domain integration. All the work that I showed you on the previous slides of building this command and integrating this command have set us up now to be able to fight and meet multi-domain challenges that we currently face. I really appreciate your service. If you'd roll the video, please.
< video >
Wade, thank you for what you do and for the work of your teammates as well. Please stand up.
I'll close—I'm a minute over time. I've got the red light blinking. Let me close with this: In my last job, I really had the privilege of getting to serve with some of our special operators. I got to meet some that were wounded and were coming back to Walter Reed for treatment and I developed a connection with one of these battlefield Airmen and had the absolute distinct privilege of pinning a purple heart on him about a month later. So when I got selected for the absolute privilege of commanding Air Force Space Command, I called him and asked him to pin the fourth star on me." The reason why I did that was because, again, when you turn the lights on, space needs to be there. You need to have space, and our joint warfighting partners need to have space all the time. It's not a given anymore. We're hard at work to make sure that that it is a given. We can't lose sight of that. It's going to take the support of government, it's going to take the support of industry, it's going to take the support of our allied partners—and I'll tell you, we are eager to get going on this work and continue that. It's an absolute privilege to be here as the Commander. It's been an honor to share a few thoughts with you. If you will allow me, I'd like to bring these Airmen up on stage and have you recognize them one more time and then we'll call it a day. Please come forward.