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Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) at Los Angeles AFB
Space and Missile Defense Symposium
Space and Missile Defense Symposium, Huntsville, Alabama - August 8, 2017
RAYMOND: It really is—it is really great to be here. It's great to see some familiar faces. It's great to be back in Alabama, although I have to admit this is my first time in Huntsville. You know, as I was preparing for this visit, I was wondering "How come I've never been here before?" And I've always wanted to be here; I've heard a lot about it and I obviously hear a lot about it from General Hyten—and then it dawned on me that I'm a Clemson grad and I'm probably not invited for that reason.
So I’m a little intimidated to be here, so I asked General Hyten's security if they would provide me a little security for the rest of the time that I'm here because I did go to Clemson; I call it the 'Harvard of the South'. In fact, I tried to change General Hyten's school to the 'Clemson of the North'. I don't know if that went too well with him, but speaking of General Hyten, it's really a pleasure, and it's not unusual at all for me to follow him and it's actually a great position to be in. It's a great position because he's an exceptional leader. He's a brilliant, brilliant space warrior, and I mean, that and I'm lucky to consider him a boss, a mentor, and a friend and I'm lucky to have Lori here as well for all that she does for our airmen and the joint and coalition families that they get to lead.
There is one big, huge downfall, though, to General Hyten, and I'm surprised—it's really, really, really big and ** I'm surprised **, but I'm ** in because then I got to do my job—but that, again, is the college he chose to go to. I guess he just couldn't get into Clemson, so he had to **.
You just heard General Hyten talk about the need to go fast and the importance of speed and innovation—and I couldn't agree more. In fact, today's changing strategic environment and challenging strategic environment, especially in the domains that I'm responsible for, both space and cyber, I consider speed an absolute imperative—a national imperative. You know, our space capabilities fuel both our American way of life and after 26 years, almost my entire career has been spent integrating those capabilities into theater operations. These capabilities fuel our American way of war. However, our potential adversaries have had a front row seat and have been watching and observing how we have integrated space capabilities to great effect—and to be honest, they don't like what they see and so they are rapidly developing capabilities to deny our access to space and the advantages that that access provides us, and it is very clear today that space is a warfighting domain just like the air, land, and sea. And so if you can go—I only have one slide, so if you go to my slide, please—we in Air Force Space Command are working hard to developing the concept of space as a warfighting domain and are aggressively working to bring what we call our 'space warfighting construct' to fruition.
Some of you have seen this construct before. Ultimately—and I want to state this right up front—ultimately, the goal of this construct is deterrence. We do not want a fight that is sent into the space domain, but one way we're gonna be sure not to do that is to be prepared for that fight—and we are.
The foundation of this construct is a vision called—a joint vision with the Air Force and the NRO [National Reconnaissance Office] called the 'Space Enterprise Vision'. I can't take credit for that vision; that vision was General Hyten's vision and it's a very powerful, powerful vision that was, again, developed under his leadership while he was the Commander of Air Force Space Command. It is absolutely the right vision for our nation. We are working really hard to transform this vision into reality, so what we have done is we wrapped a warfighting construct around this vision so it provides context for what we're doing. At the core of this construct are three CONOPs [Concept of Operations] and you'll see that right below the vision there, and one of them is we took the vision and we put it in the language of a warfighter and made it a CONOPs-based approach. There's really nothing new—it's the vision; it's just written in the words of a CONOPs. And this overarching CONOPs describes how we plan to fight and win that war if it were to start or extend into space. And then below that, General Hyten asked us to put together, in partnership with the National Reconnaissance Office—and all of these CONOPs, again, are written in concert with the National Reconnaissance Office—and the larger, broader intelligence community asked us to put together two CONOPs. One of them is a command and control CONOPs and one of them is an integrated space situational awareness indications and warning CONOPs, and we've completed that work. So two weeks ago—I think it's two weeks ago—two or three weeks ago, Betty Sapp and I signed those CONOPs; General Hyten at STRATCOM [U.S. Strategic Command] endorsed those CONOPs and we now have written on paper "Here's how we plan to do this business." It's a really, really important first step in operationalizing these CONOPs.
The other key tenet to this construct is the investment in human capital. If you go to the line right below that, you'll see Space Mission Force. The Space Mission Force—through the Space Mission Force, we are providing our airmen with advanced threat-based training and academics which is designed to create successful outcomes against a thinking adversary—something that we haven't done before in the past. For those in the Air Force, what we've had is what we call 'white jet trainers'—teaching people how to operate the system but not how to fight. I can't—I cannot overstate the importance of the Space Mission Force. It might be the most important thing we've done on this slide because it is more than just training; it has really helped fuel, and to continue to fuel, a warfighting culture across the Command. It has just been a significant step forward for us.
But CONOPs and training are not enough; we must also equip our forces with the tools they need to succeed in this environment; therefore, we must apply the concepts of speed and innovation that General Hyten talked about to our acquisition processes.
And then finally, I'm gonna talk a lot more about that once I get through this stage, I'm gonna focus my remarks to piggyback on what General Hyten talked about, talking about what we are actually doing to get the speed and innovation.
Finally, the foundation of this is partnerships, and we in the space domain have not had—really, to be honest, we really haven't needed partnerships in the past. If you think about a benign domain, you launch something into orbit and as long as it survived launch and survived early orbit, you were good to go. That's not the case today. I got a first glimpse of the importance of partnerships when I was stationed in Japan, and I was there during the great earthquake/tsunami/nuclear reactor disaster, and when we provided some support to that great country, great partner of ours in Japan, we did so with partners, and I remember thinking "Well, why don't have this like we need to in the space business", and so we've been working really, really hard to develop these partnerships, and it's partnerships across the board—partnerships with the intelligence community, which I've highlighted the joint work that we're doing with them; partnerships with industry, with commercial—a few years ago, we set up a commercial integration cell on the floor of the Joint Space Operations Center to enhance our ability to share information and understand the domain more than what we do today; and partnerships with our allies. And we've got several critical partnerships or initiatives that we're on with partners including the work that's being done in the Joint Space Operations Center. General Hyten talked about how we were deployed to the CAOC [Combined Air Operations Center] and those international partners there. We have international partners at the JSpOC [Joint Space Operations Center] and we're growing that more. In fact, for Germany we just stood up a multi-space collaboration cell and the German Air Force provided the first representative to that cell. So there is a lot going on; a lot more work to do, but a lot going on in that.
So now what I'm gonna do is build on General Hyten's speech and I'd like to talk to you about speed and innovation and what we're actually doing with that. But before I do, let me tell you a fun story that's true. I became a one star—in the Air Force, when you're about to make one star or just made one star, they send you to a leadership course and we went to—I went to a course—a CCL course, it was called, and I went—in Tampa, Florida. And I—and throughout the week that you're there, you're subjected to a battery of personality tests—you know, what letters and colors you are and all that stuff. And so I got done with the week and I come home and my daughter Christina, who at the time was in high school, said "Dad, what'd you learn?" And I looked at her and I said "Christina, I learned I don't have any patience." And my wife jumped up and said "How much did the Air Force pay to learn that?" "She could've told me that right off the bat." But I'll tell you, I don't—I'm not—patience is a virtue; it's just not one of mine and it's one of those things that I—as I mentioned, I wholeheartedly agree with General Hyten, that we have got to go faster and that’s something we’re working really hard on.
Let me tell you—let me begin just to talk about what we're doing to get at that. Future success requires this same speed, tolerance for risk, and innovative spirit that we've seen in the past. As anyone here from Huntsville knows, the long shadow of the Space Race—the days of Mercury, Gemini, Apollo programs, remind us that as a nation, we have the ability to be innovative and quickly accomplish whatever we fix our sights on. Our predecessors did it and so can we.
So I thought, again, I'd spend most of my time telling what we're what we're doing. First of all, we are seeking to reduce the acquisition bureaucracy. Consistent with last year's National Defense Authorization Act, the Air Force has requested milestone decision authority for our space program to be able to shift it back to the Air Force from OSD [Office of the Secretary of Defense]. We've already received some programs back that will significantly reduce the bureaucracy that we feel will allow us to move faster. This needs to be standard practice. We need to push the authority for these programs down to the lowest level.
We also have found that internal to the Command, we've been a little risk averse and there are things that we have the authority to do that we haven't done. We now have pushed down ACAT [Acquisition Category] level III authority and delegated those down to the PEOs [program executive officers] and to the program directors that are—or to the program directors that are responsible for those programs. They have been held up ** *that push that*.
We're also working to reduce burdens and requirements. I am not an acquisition guy. I was lucky in that when I became a two star, I *got to go* to Japan *and have to go* be the head acquisition guy for the Air Force. I'm not that guy. That being said, I've done a lot of digging into this and I've done a lot of research into this business and I will tell you I can pin most of the challenges that we face on ** to requirements and to burdens and requirements. We are encumbered with programs which are way over-required and our current requirements are optimized, as General Hyten said, for a benign domain. That's not the domain that we find ourselves in today. I've addressed this with General Hyten and our teams are doing a collective script of our requirements to ensure that they meet today's warfighting needs while enabling speed.
Simply put, our requirements going forward need to be simpler. They need to be operationally relevant for today's warfighting environments; they need to be focused on resilience—resilience and warfighting capability that is absolutely required for today's strategic environment. Exquisite satellites that last decades that cost extremely high amounts of dollars and take years to build with little regard for today's strategic environment are not all that helpful. To build momentum, we are focusing on sets of demonstrations, prototyping and experimentation with residual operational capability instead of focusing on those large, expensive, too-big-to-fail programs of record.
The other thing we're trying to do, and the second big piece of this, is redefining risk, and General Hyten talked a little bit about risk. Many of my conversations today begin with this conversation about risk, and I will tell you that there are several different aspects of this. The first is operational availability versus survivability. Our main focus has been on operational availability in a benign domain that we've had the luxury of operating in for many, many years. Our key measurable has been capturing the risk that we will not have any gaps in coverage due to an on-orbit satellite anomaly or failure. Today, that is simply not good enough. Obviously, we need to plan to have adequate satellite coverage, but today there's a threat component that must also be addressed. Projecting operational availability which does not account for a threat, again, is also not all that helpful or relevant to these domains.
There's also, then, the risk of operational risk versus acquisition risk—that variable that needs to be addressed. We must prioritize operational risk over acquisition risk. I think we've been a little bit out of balance in that risk conversation and we need to move the fulcrum back toward operational risk.
So what are some of the symptoms that lead me to think to this conclusion? We have satellites that are designed for seven years that have lasted 20. Some might say that's good, and on the surface I agree, but I think it also—but it is—but such paradigms are becoming less applicable in a dynamic threat environment. An acquisition culture that is risk averse— an acquisition culture that is risk averse and is not using the full authorities that we have today—in fact, General Hyten talked about it. He talked about the ** that allows you to do pretty much what you need to do to get things done to meet the needs of today. We're not taking advantage of those authorities that we have and we're working really, really hard to do that.
I will also tell you that marginal cost—another symptom is the marginal cost of both time and resources for assurance is far exceeding the benefit in my opinion. You just have to go back to that seven-year satellite program that's lasting 20 years, and we've got to figure that balance out as well. How much assurance do you need?
I'll provide an example from our history. The P-51 Mustang—the need back then was extremely critical to defeat the Luftwaffe over Germany and to assure air superiority for our daylight precision bombers. But speed—the operational risk of not having the new aircraft—was more important than technical risks. North American Aviation came up with a design that reused the engine from the P-44 but turned the rest of the plane into a sports car. The prototype was built in 117 days. When operational risk outweighs acquisitional risk, our decision calculus must change and this is what we're dealing with today.
Partnerships—that is the last big area that I'll focus on. Partnerships finally, and probably most importantly, as I talked about up front that we are reenergizing our partnerships. Our partnership with the National Reconnaissance Office is stronger than it's ever been and it's a source of great strength and it's paying significant dividends and enhancing our lethality and effectiveness. I give all the credit in the world to that partnership to Ms. Betty Sapp and her team. They have been just absolutely stellar partners. But I think if you're asking me—if you're asking maybe General Dickinson or if you ask me or General Hyten, as good as that partnership is, it's not good enough to meet the challenges that we face today.
I talked up front about furthering our partnerships with allies, and over the past several years we've seen tremendous growth in these partnerships, which are also providing us an advantage in securing the space domain— a domain mutually beneficial and critical to us all. We continue to cultivate our partnerships with the Missile Defense Agency and expect to do even more with the Missile Defense Agency in the years ahead as many of our synergistic efforts are win-win for each of us. With my good friend, Lieutenant General Sam Greaves at the helm, I think we have an alignment of leaders that will allow us to foster this mutual support going forward.
Finally, we are working extremely hard to be good partners with industry. We cannot do this without you—period, dot. And I think we've been a little hesitant to have a conversation with industry and we need to have that conversation. You shouldn't have to guess what I'm thinking because if you are, we're too slow—because you might guess wrong. And I'll tell you, I have, in this job, frequent opportunity to have industry leaders come in for a visit and I get done with a meeting and I'll say "Yeah, but you know, we're really thinking this." Why aren't we telling you that? And so what we just did last week was we hosted a Space Warfighting Construct Industry and we did at the SAP-level [Special Access Program] conversation. We did it at two levels, one just below SAP and then a SAP-level conversation. And we laid out the CONOPs, said "Here's what we're thinking—you need to understand this and you need to help inform this because these will be living, breathing documents and if you have better ideas, I’d love to hear them." And I'll tell you, I don't know how many people came up to me afterwards and said "I can't thank you enough. We spend a lot of time trying to figure out where you all are headed and now you're giving us where your head is." And so I will commit to industry here that I will be as transparent as I can be; I think it's really important for you to understand what we're thinking and we'll need to understand what you're thinking and then together we have got to move faster to meet the challenges of the domains.
Real threats are in fighting the way we look and act within the space domain. Today's space, as I mentioned up front, is a warfighting domain just like air, land, and sea. From an acquisition standpoint, Lieutenant General J.T. Thompson, who's my—took General Greaves' position out in Los Angeles—summarizes the challenges of this. They're talking about operationally responsive space and we have an operationally responsive space office and he said—and I agree wholeheartedly with him—“operationally responsive pace concept throughout our portfolio, and not just a program in the portfolio." I think that captures the magnitude of the challenge going forward and we're really trying to use the authorities that we have to go fast and in much broader ways—and again, it gets back to we haven't been using them as well as we could.
My team and I are working tirelessly to grow a culture within our Command that realigns itself to meet the growing operational imperative. Our Chief and our Secretary of the Air Force are fully supportive as well; in fact, across the Air Force they are trying to be less prescriptive and restrictive by minimizing Air Force instructions and allowing the commanders and airmen the flexibility to be innovative and to move fast.
As I said earlier in this talk, we need your help and we need to work together because this is a national imperative. If you get nothing out of this, trust me—this is a national imperative. Be demanding as we rethink requirements for the most likely threats that we see in a contested domain. Help us articulate and redefine our risk calculus. Recognize the imperative we're in and reassess how we look at acquisition risk versus operational risk. Now is the time to bring good ideas forward. No one—no one—has a market on good ideas and I'd love to have a conversation with you and I'm really looking forward to working closely with each and every one of you in helping us move forward to meet the challenges of the domain we face today.
And with that, I'll take questions.
Oh, and one last thing, Go Tigers!
MALE: General Raymond, thank you. We do have a few questions. Since World War II, our warfighting strategy—the U.S. warfighting strategy—has hinged largely upon our air and space superiority. Could you comment, please, on resilience and maintaining that superiority?
RAYMOND: My whole talk was on that. We have got—we have got to become more resilient than we have been. As I mentioned in my talk, information derived from space, from cyber, from all domains fuel our American way of life. That's our advantage. Our advantage is being able to take that information, connect the dots, and bring power to bear in the most lethal and precise way that's ever been demonstrated. We need to protect that and we are working hard to do that. We are working hard to develop those capabilities, focus on resilience, balance the risk, remove bureaucracy, and move by getting capabilities in hand to protect what shouldn't be lost on anybody—the world's best space forces, period, dot. You can take that to the bank. There's nobody—nobody—that has a better space force than us. We need to be able to protect that capability moving forward.
MALE: Good, thank you, sir. General Raymond, what are the obstacles to integrating space with other domains, especially cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum?
RAYMOND: That's a great—great question. All the services are focusing on multi-domain operations in some way, shape, or form. In the Air Force, we have—our Chief of Staff has made this one of his big three—big three—big rocks, he calls them, multi-domain command and control. The Army's working multi-domain battle; the Navy's working it as well. I think really the big—the big piece of bringing this to fruition is being able to integrate the sensor and ** together, and to do that we are moving out on an open architected system with standards—a consortium-based standards approach to building these command and control capabilities that allows you to diffuse this data more broadly than what we can do today.
MALE: Thank you, sir. Follow-up to that, what can we learn about speed and risk taking from foreign nations including our four plus one adversaries?
RAYMOND: We're learning a lot. We do—every year we do a wargame called the Schriever Wargame; we're getting ready to host another event in this—here in the next month. When we come together, we talk about authorities, how to build coalitions, and the dialogue is rich and, as I said during my remarks, and if it didn't come out, I'd be remiss if I didn't put something out that’s already paying us significant operational dividends. We are better together than we are separate. We have not—we have not been together as much as we should have been in the space domain, but we're working really hard to do that and I think we're seeing huge—huge benefits for that function.
MALE: Thank you, sir. This question is from James Drew, Aviation Week. If the cost of assurance for space programs is so high and outweighs the benefit, will you revise that requirement and policy for space satellite launch programs?
RAYMOND: I think that we're working that really hard as I speak. As I mentioned in my talk, I think we've got to look at shifting the business model. I don't—for one thing, I don't think it's a one-size-fits-all. I think you have to have a spectrum of capabilities, but we're working hard to shift that business model to allow us to move faster, to allow us to build some prototypes that allow us to buy some of that acquisition risk up front, to allow us to have operational relevance with the capabilities that they launch, but to do it in a timeframe that responds to the strategic environment that we face today. And we're moving up towards that.
MALE: Thank you, sir. This question is from Greg Gozien**, L3 Technologies. How do you propose to get industry to move fast and accept risk and failure? In a high ** environment, there is usually not a monetary buffer that tolerates development and testing failures on the road to new technology development. Can you provide the partnership and the resources that provides that road?
RAYMOND: We can provide the partnership; resources—we can provide resources as well, but it's not like there's a lot of these resources out there. I mean, we've got to think how to do this smarter together and my personal belief is that if you simplify requirements, if you simplify and you balance operational and acquisitional risks, I think we can do things cheaper and faster. I really believe that, and we've got some examples of where that's happened. The partnership piece—I'm your partner; come visit. I want to be that partner. I need you as a partner. I will tell you, though, I'm gonna ask you when we sit down "How are you gonna do this a little cheaper than what we've been able to do in the past?" We need to. We cannot afford to do business the way we have done business in the past and that's gonna require a new way of thinking. You need to help inform that. You need to come to me and help me understand what requirements I levy on you that's driving you to have the business model that we have today. I'm committed to working those hard to make sure that we can reduce some of that to allow you to go faster and allow you to do things—allow you to do things a little bit more simply.
MALE: Thank you, sir. Next question: Policy limits the ability to leverage specific *** to support operations. Much was learned in the most recent conflicts—the value of expediting threat information to the warfighters on the ground through multi-* intelligence exploitation— that said, developing capabilities which provide rapid, decisive information requires changes in policy. How do you propose to address these necessary changes?
RAYMOND: I think we start—as I mentioned, we start building CONOPs on how we're gonna actually do this business. I talked much over the last six months or so, we have been partnered with our partners in the National Reconnaissance Office and the broader intelligence community that views space situational awareness and indications and warning together. That is across all ends. If you're gonna have the domain awareness that you need, you're gonna have to fuse all that information together. So I think it starts with writing it down on paper on how we're gonna do business, which we've done. Then once we start implementing this approach, when we come up to roadblocks, we then have to have conversations with our national leadership, with General Hyten's support and with others, and say "Hey, here are some policy changes that we have to make." But I think that conversation has to be informed by CONOPs and I think that's gonna help us have this conversation moving forward.
MALE: Thank you, sir. This question is from Dr. Rich Goodwin, MBA. How do we address space logistics—that is, the ability to quickly replenish our on-orbit assets?
RAYMOND: You know, there's a market segment in space today that we refer to as 'new space'. There's a lot of innovative things happening—things that are smaller now, more operationally relevant than in the past; that coupled with reduction in launch costs and an increasing speed of being able to do launches I think really provides us an opportunity to make some pretty significant advances in that end as well. I think that's probably the biggest—the biggest thing that I've seen. You know, as I look through this new space marketplace and figure out, you know, what's enabling that, access to space has been a critical part of that—I mean, an absolutely critical part of that. You can—you can—you know, individuals now can build satellites and get them launched out to the International Space Station. They've got this high-tech T-shirt shooter and they can launch little CubeSats out at the ISS and that access to space has been a really—really help us with this.
MALE: Thank you, sir. This question is from Dan *Schaeffer* from Lockheed. General Hyten talked about mission orders and junior commander’s initiative. How do you build survivable C2 architectures to preserve their access to scarce space resources in a comms-denied environment?
RAYMOND: So one of the things we're doing is we're working—my whole career—almost my entire career has been spent integrating space capabilities and the theater of operations. You know, if you think back, in 1991 and Desert Storm, we all got a first-hand look at that, right? We saw General Schwarzkopf and General Warner on television talking about the luckiest guy in Iraq that drove over the bridge as the precision weapon struck the bridge, and that was really the first time that I had seen—that we as a country really had seen the effects of the work that we had done post World War we have worked really hard in integrating. And so in that fight, we saw what the power of that integration did. But it was just—again, we didn't even have the full GPS constellation up at that time. Since that time, we have worked very hard on the infrastructure of—that integration infrastructure. We have stood up a—in the Air Force, we stood up a weapons division and a space division at the Air Force weapons school training our operators on integrating. We stood up—the position that General Hyten both had had an opportunity to serve as the Director of Space Forces where we sent a senior O-6, forwarded the data, working for the C5 and the CAOC to help deliver the space effects that theater needs. We have stood up, back at Vandenberg and AOC [Air Operations Center] at the time, the 614th AOC, Air Operations Center, the operational level C2 that started as a table with some PowerPoint charts and has grown today into this Joint Space Operations Center. We are really trying to take that even to the next step. Just a couple of months ago, we worked staff talks with PACAF [Pacific Air Forces] where I brought my team out to PACAF and we laid out two days' worth of conversations over their challenges and what I can do to bring capability to bear for them. We're doing that same thing in Europe next month where we're going to USAFE [U.S. Air Forces-Europe] to have the same talks. I will tell you, since doing that, the partnerships between us—for example, Pacific Air Forces under the leadership of General O'Shaughnessy has been really, really strong, and today when we go forward in discussions with the Pentagon, we go together. It's General O'Shaughnessy and me side by side talking about the challenges that we collectively face and we are working very hard on the resiliency aspect of C2 in the Pacific domain, for example, which in my opinion is a space domain just because of the sheer size of that **.
MALE: Thank you, sir. General Raymond, This is uh, Jeff, I don't know if you want me to ask this question. Jeff Gronberg*, Advanced Research. Question: Similar to how Alabama let Clemson borrow an Alabama guy to remind him how to win.
RAYMOND: That's true—he's not coming back.
MALE: Are you bringing any space innovators from the commercial side to help influence how to go fast?
RAYMOND: We absolutely are. In fact, in the command and control capability that I talked about that we’re developing using a consortium-based approach and using open-architected standards, if you will, or standards in an open-architected system, we are actually leveraging practices and expectations of the commercial industry pretty broadly. We've actually brought some really big thinkers in that market segment in and had a red team R* approach. "Today, here's what we're doing; tell us what we're doing wrong." And in fact, you know, their response was "You've got nothing you're doing wrong, you just should have started 10 years ago and, you know, you’ve got to move on." So we are leveraging the capabilities and we're leveraging their expertise and we're leveraging their passion about this and they're being very helpful.
MALE: Thank you, sir. This question is from Dr. George Mantis, MBA, Advanced Research. General Raymond, with more Skunkworks and Manhattan Projects, will you have greater speed? And a side note to that question and to get back to what General Hyten's comments, if so, why is that not the norm?
RAYMOND: So I think—again, I don't think it's a one-size-fits-all. I think those are—those have been helpful in the past, but we have—we have organizations today that are built on similar attributes of going fast. We have the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, for example. And, in fact, in the C2 capability that I talked about, we actually went to them and said "Okay, take that and run with it. Do it for us—go fast." We have, in Air Force Space Command, our agency we have something called 'Operationally Responsive Space'. We think that we can use those authorities—that Operationally Responsive Space Office has the same authorities roughly almost exactly the same authorities of what the Air Force RCO office has. We use that ** capacity and we're trying to expand that. So I think there are pockets that are out there to do that and where the programs make sense to do that, we are moving in partnerships with them to have them take it across the finish line in due course. But I don't think it's a one-size-fits-all.
MALE: General Raymond, this is from Tom Carico* of CSI. Can you speak to the prospects for air—let's see—can you speak to the prospects of Air Force contributions to a space-based sensor layer missile defense?
RAYMOND: I think a space-based sensor layer is gonna be really important to missile defense. I testified to this fact a couple of months ago. I think it's important. I think that we have a very strong partnership today with the missile defense industry. We operate a series of ground sensors that are part of the Missile Defense Agency network. We support the launches of interceptors out at Vandenberg, for example, that is critical for the testing and moving forward, and I think the space-based layer is a natural fit to that partnership. So when I mentioned in my talk that we look forward to working closely with MDA [Missile Defense Agency] taking that to newer levels going forward. I think this is an area ripe for that partnership and innovation.
MALE: Thank you, sir. This question is again from Dr. Mantis, Advanced Research.
RAYMOND: Where’s Dr. Mantis? Okay, thanks.
MALE: Our adversaries can build CubeSats as well. How do we counter that threat?
RAYMOND: Well, I think there're two things that you have to have in a domain—in any warfighting domain. You have to have the ability to command and control and you have to have domain awareness. And in—we are working to grow both of those capabilities and it starts with CONOPS that we talked about. It starts with partnerships to make sure we're not the only one operating in that domain. But when you're talking CubeSats and you're talking the numbers that are up there, if you look at the projections of CubeSats over the next several years, I mean—don't quote me on the numbers, but the projection is thousands going forward and that's gonna be a challenge—but the core of that is being able to have the domain awareness and being able to respond to them and have the command and control ability to be able to take action to protect and defend from those assets. It's a challenge, though—smaller and more are a challenge.
MALE: Sir, this is from Jonathan Jones, Applied Technology Associates. What is your vision for the NSDC [National Space Defense Center]? And what is your timeframe to accomplish your vision? Also, how do you see the research laboratories assisting you in realizing your vision?
RAYMOND: So the National Space Defense Center, formerly known as the JICSpOC [Joint Interagency Combined Space Operations Center], is a critical command and control capability to command and control a domain that is a warfighting domain, and core to that—that's, again, I give credit to General Hyten on this; he was the one that really pulled this together and got this started and this JICSpOC formed and then transitioned it to the National Space Defense Center—the big strength of the National Space Defense Center is our partnership between the DoD and the intelligence community. That is the foundation of that center. If you don't have that partnership, that center becomes just another DoD center. And that strength, that partnership, is really paying us significant advantages. It allows us to sit in a room together, to share information more broadly; to get more data—we talked about previously the need to integrate information from multiple domains and multiple intelligence sources. It allows us to do that in one room sitting side by side. And it started out in the experimentation phase; we now have a couple of operational capabilities that have been transitioned to that, so they are now doing more than just experiments, but operations are now being continued. I would suggest that the vision will be to continue the operationalization of that—of that critical center, get it fully manned, get it operational, and get it focused on protecting and defending the domain that's so critical to our nation.
MALE: General Raymond, that was the last question we have time for. Final comments, sir?
RAYMOND: I would just like to say 'thank you'. I hope it's not another 33 years before I get back to Huntsville. I want to say 'thank you' to each and every one of you for what you do for our nation. We have got to develop and have the ability to have conversations, have the ability to share ideas, and have the ability to go fast. I look forward to working with each and every one of you. For those focused on the missile defense business, there's a lot of synergy between space and missile defense. I see a lot of familiar faces here and I thank you for what you do and I look forward to working closely with you. Thank you.