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On-The-Record, Off-Camera Press Conference on U.S. Space Force

STAFF: All right, good afternoon, ladies and gentleman, thank you for coming out today for our Space Force update. Just a couple of ground rules before we get started, so this will be on-the-record, off camera. Please silence all of your devices. Today we’ll provide you with an update on the U.S. Space Force.

On February 3rd, the Department of the Air Force submitted a comprehensive congressional report on the structure of the U.S. Space Force in accordance with congressional reporting requirements in the F.Y. ’20 NDAA. Because this is a report provided for Congress, we will not be distributing it.

With us today are Stephen Kitay, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy; Lieutenant General David Thompson, vice commander, U.S. Space Force; Shawn Barnes, from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition and Integration; and Major General Clint Crosier, director, U.S. Space Force Planning Office.

Following a short introduction, opening remarks from General Thompson, we will take questions. Please identify yourself and your organization before asking your question, and please limit yourself to one question and one follow-up. If there’s time, then we’ll circle back for additional questions. We’ll get started here in a second.

All right, General Thompson, sir.

LIEUTENANT GENERAL DAVID D. THOMPSON: OK, ladies and gentlemen, thanks so much for coming today. I think we did something like this the last time in December, coincident with the stand-up of the U.S. Space Force and thought we would like to do these sorts of engagements routinely to keep the dialogue and the information flowing between us.

The — the opportunity to do this today is as a result of the — the report we released to Congress on Monday about the initial organizational structure of the Space Force. We thought you’d have some questions about that, so we look at this as the opportunity to hear some of your questions, to pass along some information in that regard, although we’re certainly, as we get to questions, certainly open to other questions you may have related to the Space Force.

Before we open up to questions, though, I would like to say a couple of things, if I can. The first is since the creation of the Space Force I’ve gotten questions from several people along the lines of, OK, so we created the Space Force. What is it going to do?

I hope in this room that isn’t a question, but I can assure you we have plenty to do in the United States Space Force, and in fact, we’ve been doing it for a long time. Just a reminder, last month there was a missile attack from Iran on Al Asad Air Force Base. Members of the United States Space Force detected those missiles at launch, typed those missiles at launch, provided warning to our forces at Al Asad and other places in the theater and allowed them to take action to protect themselves from the coming missiles.

I know many of you are tracking the fact that two satellites almost collided over the city of Pittsburgh last week. The United States Space Force continually tracks those objects, 25,000 or more, 24/7, 365. We do the analysis to determine whether those satellites pose a threat to themselves or each other, and we provide that information globally, not only to satellite owners and operators, but also to anybody who might have equity and interest.

I don’t know how many times this week so far you’ve followed the blue dot on your smart phone. GPS provided by the United States Space Force 24/7, 365, not just to all of us, but to military forces we have that navigate globally, that act with precision, that maneuver.

Those are all the things that we do every day, have done every day and continue to do well.

One of the key reasons, however, that — that the leaders of the nation decided to create the Space Force was because there is also an increasing challenge and threat to our use of that domain by potential adversaries. They’re fielding weapon systems. They have communicated the intent to take our use of space away from us in conflict. And so part of the rationale for creating the Space Force was to elevate our focus on this domain and the capabilities we need to the same level that we have with other services. Just like the Air Force is focused on the air domain and the Army primarily on the ground, and Navy at sea and other places, we now have a service equivalent with those whose job is to prepare forces, to train men and women, provide capabilities that will ensure our freedom and action in the use of space across all domains.

And that’s one of the key elements of why we’ve created the Space Force, and that, coupled with two other recent changes — one, the establishment of U.S. Space Command, that combatant command to use those forces last year; and continued investment over the last four years continually focused on ensuring those capabilities are available to our forces, to our leaders and our allies and important partners are the reason that we did that.

And so commensurate with the establishment of the new service, we also have the opportunity to look at a new approach to creating a 21st century service. In the areas that we can, we look at a clean-sheet design. Our intent is to make it focused very much on the things that are required for a force to operate effectively, even as we look to others to provide support functions that we need to operate.

The second thing is — in addition to that is we look for outside expertise and sources in how best to organize that domain and what we should — we should do in that regard. Our boss, the new chief of space operations, General Jay Raymond, has said, “I want this service to — to be something that people look at and they envy, and they seek to emulate and young Americans want to raise their hands to become members of to protect our equity and our interests and the nation in that regard.”

And so that’s where we’ve come thus far. That’s why we’re in the process of creating this force, and that’s why we’re here today: to help answer your questions and see where we are going in that regard. Thanks very much.

STAFF: OK, thank you, sir. We’ll open it up to questions. Travis, we’ll start with you.

Q: Hi. Travis Tritten, Bloomberg Government. I wanted to ask you about the structure, acquisition structure, and the new assistant secretary, it says, will have oversight of SDA, SMC, Space RCO. What’s the state of that right now? When will that oversight be full? And what — what will that look like? I’m thinking specifically with SDA, which is under R&E. Would it be Dr. Griffin who would have the ultimate say on what it does or would it be that new assistance secretary. Can you flesh that out a little bit for us?

GEN. THOMPSON: Sure. Mr. Barnes is working that specific issue for the Secretary. I’ll let him address that.

ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE SHAWN J. BARNES: Sure, thank you very much Travis for that question. I appreciate that. I’d say it’s very much a work in progress. As you correctly pointed out, the NDAA said that the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition and Integration would have oversight and direction to SDA, SMC and Space RCO.

And so we’re looking right now at that to understand what is the best way to be able to provide that direction and provide that oversight in a way that’s not only meaningful but a way that’s value added. I have been on the wrong side of that equation many times in my career where that oversight and that direction frankly didn’t really add much to the process.

And so I’ve actually been working directly with Dr. Tournear, with Lieutenant General J.T. Thompson and with Mike Roberts out at the Space RCO to understand what do they believe would be the most helpful sorts of oversight and direction that could be provided?

Let’s also keep in mind that the — that the NDAA talked about sort of a pre-service acquisition executive timeframe and then a post-service acquisition executive timeframe. And so my focus at this point is on that pre-service acquisition executive timeframe, so it’s the next couple of years.

Once we have an SAE, Service Acquisition Executive, I think the — the role of that oversight and direction changes somewhat substantially.

Q: If I could just follow up, there was a — to be a — an architectural summit and also a — I’m wondering — I’m wondering if that has occurred and if there was anything you could say that came out of it? And secondly, the Space Force Acquisition Council, has it met yet with the principals and when do you expect it?

MR. BARNES: Yeah, so — so let’s take the architecture summit first. So the architecture summit is scheduled for the — for late February. We’ve got about a two and a half day period where we’ll get together and initially not be defining the architecture itself but rather defining what should the architecture enterprise — in other words, who are the people that are involved in developing architecture, what is their roles and responsibilities?

Let’s make sure we have a shared lexicon about what we mean when we say things like architect — is architect a human being or is architect a verb, to architect? And so let’s make sure we have all of that straight. And once we have that straight, then I want to move forward rapidly with looking at a missile warning missile defense, the space pieces of the missile warning missile defense and work first and foremost on that architecture because I think it will nicely, frankly, cross all three of those organizations and it’ll be important to determine who owns sort of what pieces of those architectures.

So that’s the — that’s the architecture summit. And again, I — late February is when we have that scheduled and I look forward to both participating in that and also reporting out some of the key results on that. And so I’d be happy to meet afterwards and — and talk about that.

In terms of the Space Acquisition Council, again, looking for late February to have the first meeting, and what I — what I expect will happen on that first meeting is we’ll first talk about “here’s what the charter is, here’s what the responsibilities ought to be for that Space Acquisition Council” and then we would look at OK, what would be your role vis-a-vis, let’s say, approving an architecture, what would be your role vis-a-vis approving the space acquisition system that we’re moving toward that will be reported on later on in the spring?

STAFF: Sandra?

Q: Thank you. Sandra Erwin, Space News. When General Raymond was sworn in a few weeks ago, he said he was the only — the first member of the Space Force and the only member and everyone else was being assigned to the Space Force.

Since that time, has anyone else actually transferred to the Space Force? And the second part of the question is, what is your estimate of how many airmen will transfer and have you come to an agreement with the Army and the Navy about who will transfer from the services?

GEN. THOMPSON: Yeah, thanks — thanks, Sandra. So — so in fact, General Raymond remains the only member of the Space Force to have transferred in and there’s a — a — there’s actually good reasons for that. The first is, the commissioning and enlistment and appointment of officers and enlisted members to a military service, much of that is — is controlled by law, by statute and by Congress. That’s the first part.

And so we need to go through a process with Congress to have them authorize, provide authorization for specific names and specific individuals to transfer into that service. And we’re working with Congress on that right now and that will take a little bit of time to complete.

The second thing is personnel, benefits, pay systems, a whole host of other things are connected very closely to the process that’s called scrolling of moving — or — or appointing members of service. We also want to make absolutely sure that when these individuals transfer in, all of that is in place because the last thing we want to have happen is to go through this process, we generate a lot of excitement and enthusiasm, people are happy but then they don’t get paid. So we’re making sure all of those issues are in place — in place, as well.

And we’re talking about an — an — an activity that will go over a series of months, not a very long time, and right now the specific estimates for the number that we’ll transfer in — currently, there are — the difference between assigned and transferred, as we talked about before, there are currently about 16,000 members of the Department of Defense, uniformed and government civilian, assigned to U.S. Space Force. Ultimately, the initial assessment is of those today, there would be about 6,000 that initially transfer in but the total number in the near future will also reach about 16,000.

General Crosier’s, I got those numbers right?

MAJOR GENERAL CLINT E. CROSIER: Yes, sir, you sure do. Yeah, I just — I — I would just offer we’re — we’re — we want to be very deliberate about the transfer process because what we’ve said is, you know, assignments are temporary things. General Thompson and I and others can be assigned anywhere, we can be assigned in the Air Force, in — in CENTCOM and Joint Staff, et cetera, but the transfer piece — and I always sort of do this — the transfer piece involves raising your right hand because you’re literally — our enlisted members are — are terminating their enlistment in the U.S. Air Force or Army and Navy and enlisting in the Space Force and our officers are resigning their commission, alright. That’s a — that’s a very formal process.

And so we just want to make sure all of those pieces, from personnel to UCMJ to financial management databases and everything in between are ready to go so that when we have people take that action to formally leave their prior service and come into the Space Force that everything’s ready for them and it’s a smooth transition.

Q: Does Congress have to authorize the Army and the Navy transfers and like in the NDAA they have to write a new NDAA to do that?

GEN. THOMPSON: Mr. Kitay, why don’t you talk, not only about that, but the Department’s intent and guidance on — on those.

DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR SPACE POLICY STEPHEN L. KITAY: Right, so the intent is to consolidate the Space Forces with all — within each of the Armed Forces into the U.S. Space Force. So that is the vision. We will have to do that, as you say, consistent with law and as appropriate. And as appropriate, what we mean by that is just because space is in the title, does not mean that everything leaves all of the services.

And just to expand on that a little bit more, some elements of the Army, they have professionals that are called FA40s, that’s their functional specialty where they understand space and integrate it into Army operations. There will be aspects of that that will remain in each of the services but global space operations that are really provided more globally will — the plan is to — to transfer them to the Space Force over time.

STAFF: We’ll go back to Dan?

Q: So, I’m Dan Sagalyn with PBS News Hour. Can you tell me how much of a priority will it be to develop space-based offensive weapons, so weapons based in space that can shoot targets on the ground and shoot targets in space?

GEN. THOMPSON: So Dan, let me talk about all of our priorities, if I can. And like I said, we’ve been on a journey over the past 4 years now. Next week, you’ll get the — the look at the latest set of initiatives. Our first priority is to ensure that our forces, our leaders have the capabilities they need to do the jobs that they need to do every single day. So that means things like missile warning, intelligence collection, communications, positioning, navigation and timing, GPS, providing those to our forces, to our nation, to — to our allies and partners. That has always been and will continue to be our number one priority.

That means really the second priority is to defend and protect them and provide them across the entire spectrum of conflict, which is our second priority and our focus and has been our focus over the last three or four years. In order to do that, we have to understand deeply what’s going on in the domain — all of the assets that are there, who owns them, what are their capabilities, what’s the intent, what’s the tactics, what are the doctrine of the — of the nations and the forces that operate them and what we might need to do in case they come under threat? So that’d be the third priority.

And then we also have, as part of our function, to be prepared to do what the nation needs us to do first, to deter, but in conflict if an adversary intends to use space against us. So I would not tell you that offense is our priority but it has to be a factor we consider and look at in the entire threat challenge that we look at going forward.

Q: So can you say at what point in time you’re going to have systems like I’m talking about? One year, two years, three…

GEN. THOMPSON: I can’t at this point in time and I can’t in this forum either.

STAFF: OK. Colin?

Q: Hi, Colin Clark, Breaking Defense. One of the key issues that you guys have grappled with over the past 20 years is who makes decisions about which parts of the space architecture? You’ve got the NRO, the NGA, the NSA, Air Force.

It doesn’t seem that the NRO’s acquisition stuff is very clear at this stage, when — in terms of who’s going to be there as a — are they retaining all acquisition authority?

GEN. THOMPSON: So at this point in time, the law has not changed anything with respect to our relationship in the Department and with the NRO when it comes to acquisition or anything like that. I’ll — I’ll pass it to Mr. Barnes in a moment because part of the — the law does say that we owe a report to Congress in April that talks a little bit about that and I’ll let him talk a little bit more.

But let me assure you that from an architectural standpoint, in fact we have been working with the NRO for four years now closely and less closely before that. We have a specific architectural process between the National Reconnaissance Office and U.S. Space Force that looks specifically at common architectural elements, shared architectural elements, ways we can support each other in terms of delivery of capabilities, fielding of capabilities, use of capabilities and in recent years that has moved on to how can we mutually provide capabilities and — and training to defend and protect all of our assets in a holistic sense?

So we have been working in an architectural sense for years. I’ll let Mr. Barnes talk a little bit about the acquisition side.

MR. BARNES: Yeah — yeah, thanks so much, General. So a couple of points I’d make, Colin. One is the — the law dictates that the — the director of the NRO be part of the Space Acquisition Council. I think that’s a — that’s a very positive thing, right, because that means that he’ll be part of at least the information that’s going forward and — and to the extent that he would participate in decision making then — then there’s an aspect of that, as well.

And in terms of the architecture, the — the way that I see this is that the Office of the Assistant Secretary can help to facilitate that kind of broader integrated DOD, Intelligence Community and cross-government architecture work.

So if I think about, you know, what might NOAA bring to the capabilities to provide weather — weather systems to the nation, is there an aspect of that that the Department of Defense would want to take advantage of? Well the answer, of course, is yes and we do that today but let’s do that in a deliberate fashion.

As General Thompson said, we have been doing that routinely with the NRO for quite some time now but I think that there’s greater opportunity to strengthen that even more.

GEN. CROSIER: I’d like to add very quickly to that piece, as well, as we’re building this initial headquarters, this Office of the Chief of Space Operations, you’ll — you’ll be familiar with not only do we have billets that we’re hiring into but we identified key areas where we needed detailees or LNOs.

One of the first things we did was go sit down and reach out to the NRO and I’m happy to report that the NRO has an embedded officer inside the Office of the Chief of Space Operations from the very beginning so that they can help us make all of the right decisions and form all of the right partnerships.

Q: And as you come down to a conflict — when we had the fight over bases a few years ago, if you can remember that far back — who is going to make a decision between the NRO and the Defense Department about who builds what? Do we know that yet or is that part of what you’re going to figure out over the next few months?

MR. BARNES: Yeah, I think there — there’s a process in place today that we use to ensure that — that we’re not acquiring and developing duplicative kinds of capabilities, unless there’s an intent to be able to do that. And what I’d like to do is to strengthen that that much further so that — so that frankly among the individual organizations that are building, they — they can understand that and collaborate in advance of it coming to a senior OSD level decision maker.

GEN. THOMPSON: And — and we have, in addition to our internal mechanisms between the Office of Management and Budget and the National Security Council and the — and National Space Council and the oversight provided by Congress, to ensure that we don’t end up being duplicative in that regard and they’ve — they’ve helped us with that in the past.

STAFF: Valerie?

Q: Hi. Valerie Insinna with Defense News. So the — the report that came out on Monday, it names three different directorates under the CSO — for human capital, logistics operations, cyber and intelligence, and then planned programs, requirements and analysis.

So I’m wondering when are you guys going to name the directors that are going to fill each of those directorates and what are their first action items going to be and is it assumed that the — the structure of those three directorates is going to change as Space Force moves from its initial structure to its final one?

GEN. THOMPSON: Sure, let me talk to a little — a couple of those and I’ll pass to General Crosier to talk about the — the — the plan going forward. As you noted, that is the initial structure, it is subject to change because we have some additional headquarters design work to go through but those are certainly leaders and functions that are going to be required in any ultimate future design.

I will tell you that the — that the Secretary of the Air Force currently is working her role up through the Secretary of Defense ultimately to the President to identify and nominate officers to those positions. I’ll take a step back — one, the director for human capital, Miss Patricia Mulcahy, a senior executive, not a — not a uniformed flag officer, has already been identified and hired, and she is in place as a permanent senior executive in the one directorate. The other two, as I said, secretary of the Air Force is active as we speak identifying those individuals, preparing to take them to the secretary of defense and the president for nomination. So you could anticipate, probably in the near term, we might start hearing some things about it.

General Crosier, if you would talk a little more about …

GEN. CROSIER: Yes, sir, I’d be happy to. You know, one of the first things you do as a planner is you stand up a new organization is you get the initial structure in place for the initial headquarters, plant the flag in the ground, get the initial team together and then let them start sorting out roles and responsibilities.

So in terms of the roles and functions, we’ve been planning for some time, as you know, and we have a basic understanding of the roles and responsibilities we want all — each of those directorates to do. But as they get in place the idea was they will sit down with their counterparts on the air staff and their counterparts within the secretariat and really hammer out those details of, where will we leverage support from the Air Force? And by the way, as General Thompson talked about, leveraging a common infrastructure foundational capabilities from the Air Force has been one of our most important design principles, right? Let’s not be duplicative. Let’s not replicate. Let’s be unique and different only where the space domain requires it, or central to the independence of a new service. So we will leverage heavily the air staff.

So one of the key roles is for them to get in place and sort out roles and responsibilities, memorandums of agreement and those sorts of things, and that work will go on. We’ve been doing some of it, but it will go on.

The other piece that I’m glad that you picked up on, was we purposely, in the report, used the term human capital and logistics in operations and intelligence, and we elected not to use the standard S1, S2, G1, G2. Now, that doesn’t mean that we won’t ultimately go there, but what it was — it — it was an indication that said, as — as General Thompson said, General Raymond wants us to be novel in our approach, and as we think about a 21st century human capital construct, a 21st century headquarters, if we think about being smaller than other services, flatter than other services, more agile than other services, that may not mean that you adopt the standard, you know, Napoleonic headquarters organizational structure.

And so we have a task that we’re leveraging through some FFRDC support, through some contracts support, through some academic support to help us think about what the final headquarters would look like, might look like, and it may not necessarily reflect, you know, that standard nomenclature that you see in other headquarters. So we purposely didn’t use those terms for that reason.

Q: If I could just add for follow-up, the report also states that it’s going to take until F.Y. ’22 for the Army and Navy to, perhaps, be starting to pull — be pulled into the Space Force if Congress allows that. Does that mean that the Army and Navy space elements, that they will not be able to get named for some of the leadership positions that are going to help shape the Space Force?

GEN. CROSIER: Well, I’d like to ask DASD Kitay to talk about the policy, but — but let me just address.

So right now, today, as you know, we’re — we’re building this initial Space Force headquarters, the Office of the Chief of Space Operations, and we already have 24 Army members and 14 Navy members embedded in the team. So from the very beginning, it was important to us that this isn’t just an Air Force organization, and so from the very early stages of our planning we planned, coordinated, collaborated with the Army and the Navy that as we stand up this thing, it looks like a joint headquarters. We’re — it won’t be joint ultimately because we’re all in the same service, but — but — but the — those capabilities are represented from day one.

The idea about F.Y. ’22 was always a prudent planning timeline. When we go back to the discussion about transferring, there are certain things we need to do to be able to transfer Air Force people from the Air Force to the Space Force. And that’s where we grew up under the same promotion system, with the same education system and the same training programs, right? You can imagine then, fast forward to a time in the future where I hold my first promotion board, and I’ve got ex-Naval officers, ex-Army officers and ex-Air Force officers all meeting a common promotion board, and ensuring I have a fair and equitable way to run that board so that everybody has a fair chance of getting promoted. That’s vastly different than what I will do to bring Air Force people in.

So deliberately, we said all along, step one, let’s transfer Air Force units, people missions. Let’s make sure we get that right, and then let’s go back in a second tranche, and so that was to occur in F.Y. ’20 and ’21, and then let’s go back and spend another six, nine, 12 months doing all the hard detail planning to account for different cultures, different promotion processes and different training processes, all those sorts of things, so that when we’re ready to ask Army and Navy folks to raise their right hand and transfer that we’ve got all those pieces in place.

DASD Kitay, is there anything you want to add on?

MR. KITAY: Yeah, just — I would just emphasize the point that you had made — that the Army and the Navy are part of this from day one… and they are part of this team of the Office of Chief of Space Operations in helping build this new force. And — and I’d give you — I’d kind of pull it together in a way — and some of the — the items that you’ve heard mentioned that we’re really trying to bring forward as we stand up this new force, is one, there’s an aspect of embracing the unique nature and the originality of space. Space is a unique and different domain, and what you’ve heard here is that we are trying to approach this from a clean slate and infuse innovation.

However, at the same time we are trying to ensure that we integrate with the joint force, bring elements of the joint force together to create this new culture. So this isn’t just Air Force; this is Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps creating this new Space Force.

GEN. CROSIER: Yeah, I — I just should have added, very briefly — so as we’re hiring people on we’re doing orientations twice a week because we’re moving very fast. I just came out of our orientation for this week. I had six soldiers, one Marine and two Air Force members that — in the orientation this morning, so very much a — a joint flavor from the very beginning.

STAFF: Meghann?

Q: Meghann Myers, Military Times. Can you offer some examples of specific Air Force career fields that are going to be given the opportunity to transfer into the Space Force, and will it be mandatory that they take those opportunities?

GEN. THOMPSON: General Crosier, go ahead.

GEN. CROSIER: OK, sir. So one — one of the things, I think, that is — that — that is really the strength of the concept behind the — the Space Force is a concept that we have written about and talked about — about a mission-focused force. What’s really going to be different about the U.S. Space Force is, as General Thompson already articulated well, the reason we’re standing up a Space Force, right, the — the fundamental challenge we’re addressing is the ability to get after space doctrine, space training, space readiness, space war-fighting development, space concept development, advanced space capabilities, right? All those sorts of things. That’s the core competency that will be the U.S. Space Force.

And so I think the — the — the balance behind it was let’s focus only on those things, and let’s leverage the Air Force, and to some degree, the Army and the Navy on all that support and infrastructure capability, as we’ve said. So, that means very deliberately, the career fields or specialties that will ultimately have the opportunity to raise their right hand and transfer into the Space Force are those that are required to do space operations, space training, space intelligence, space doctrine, space war fighting, right? So space ops, space intelligence, space acquisition, space engineering, space communications and space cyber, those are going to be what we call the core set of skills that will move into the Space Force, at least initially, and then we’ll get all of those critical support capabilities from the Air Force, which, by the way, reduces the size of the Space Force by about one third and significantly reduces the — the cost and number of people we need for all of the overhead capability that we don’t have to establish, given the fact that we’re going to get it from the Air Force.

GEN. THOMPSON: As to some of the specific career fields, let me add on to that. For example, all of the space operations capabilities in the United States Air Force are transferring into the U.S. Space Force. So as a general principle, if you’re in space operations either as a — a — a officer or an enlisted member, the — the assumption, the expectation is you will transfer into the Space Force. For those who may not want to for various reasons, we’ll have mechanisms in place to work that.

Acquisition, intelligence, cyber operations and others, those are specialties required in both the Air Force and the Space Force. We will transfer some individuals from those specialties into the Space Force. We’re working right now to develop the process by which individuals volunteer, we match volunteers and the needs of the Air Force and the Space Force against the numbers, and we will choose some number of those other career fields to transfer in to the Space Force. Not every acquisition officer in the United States Air Force today who wants to move into space acquisition will probably move in. Not every intelligence officer will but — but almost all of the space operators.

STAFF: Jack?

Q: Jack Detsch from Al-Monitor. I’m curious if you’re hearing any questions from allies about the roles and responsibilities of the Space Force and how much you’re thinking in the process of interoperability with allies as you’re — you’re working on building up the Space Force just in these early days here?

GEN. THOMPSON: So we’re getting a lot of positive feedback on the roles and responsibilities. So far, I’m going to — I’m going to ask Mr. Barnes to address that briefly because just last week he was at an allied cooperation forum focused on space in Colorado Springs.

But so far, the engagement we’ve gotten has been very positive and at this point in time, there’s not a tremendous amount of confusion among the allies. One of the reasons is the same individuals and the same organizations and the same functions who have been engaging them now for many years in a deliberative process to create coalition of — of likeminded nations in space continue to be the same folks now in the Space Force.

But I’ll let Mr. Barnes address it in more detail based on the — the meetings you attended last week.

MR. BARNES: Yeah, thanks very much. In — what I would — what I’d add is — is that what we have found is that allies have come to us and asked us about why we’re doing what we’re doing and is it something that they should emulate?

So they’re not necessarily contemplating standing up their own Space Force, per se, but they are thinking about “how do I dedicate officers and enlisted to a Space Force-like mission” and how do they carve that out and — and how do they make that work?

And we’ve worked very closely with them to again make sure that they understand here’s the people that you’re going to be talking to as part of the U.S. Space Force and together, those relationships are built. So from that perspective, I think we’re in very good shape.

Not only was there a meeting last week in Colorado Springs to further integrate coalition activities, we’ve got another meeting next week in Ottawa where we’ll meet at a more senior level to talk about what is the future of coalition operations — not ops-ops — but coalition activities where we can further integrate, further look at how — let’s say Canadian capabilities could be part of our virtual space architecture or how U.K. launch capabilities in Scotland could be part of a way to replenish satellite constellations.

GEN. CROSIER: If I could just add to that very briefly, too, because as General Thompson said, we — we all, in the Air Force space mission set, have worked with these allies and partners for a number of years as we’re standing up this initial headquarters and this initial planning activity.

I’ve already gotten two, I would say, semi-formal to formal requests from partner nations to embed people into the initial headquarters. I’ve already gotten two of those. They — they want to be involved and they want to be involved at the very beginning and I think that’s a good thing.

Q: Can you just confirm exactly what nations you’re talking to right now? Is this sort of limited to the NATO alliance? And what exactly are you doing — cause, like, earlier it came up the (inaudible) developing joint doctrine or — I’m curious if there’s any talk about what joint defensive operations would look like and what you’d be defending?

MR. BARNES: Yeah, there’s — there’s a variety of nations we’re talking to. I mean, they’re — they’re the — the usual set of nations you’d expect we’d be talking to, right? So, I mean, it’s — it’s anything from NATO allies to, you know, some of our allies in the Pacific and — and we’re looking to broaden that with some — some of the allies in South America.

STAFF: So we have time for two questions left so we’ll go Scott and then Marcus.

Q: Hi. Scott Maucione with Federal News Network. The whole point of this is to make things, like you said, flat and — and agile. You’ve touched on a few of these things but can you explain within this plan what specifically you’re doing that’s different from other services and the way that the previous services have been set up to make you — fit that mission?

GEN. THOMPSON: Sure, I’ll talk — well, I’ll talk a little bit about one — one thing that helps is not to have many people.

(Laughter.)

But really, the key is — and — and — and the key is, as we’ve talked about this, there’s two elements. The first is we are — we focus a lot on being lean and agile and very flat. We also have to remember that we must be effective. It doesn’t matter if you’re lean or agile or flat if you’re not effective.

And so as we develop this and look at the clean — clean sheet design, we need to understand the — the external factors we don’t control and make sure that we work well with them. And let me give you just two examples.

The first is the budgeting process, right? We have a budgeting process that’s dictated by the Department of Defense, that goes through the Department of Defense, through OMB to the White House and the Congress. We have to be effective in that role, which means in some cases our structures need to reflect the ability to — to work effectively inside that process, even if we would choose perhaps a different approach, if — if we had the opportunity.

The second is the Chief of Space Operations being a member of the Joint Chiefs. He must operate effectively with the other service chiefs and the Chairmen and the Vice Chairmen in that role, so we have to put the right structures in place, whatever they are, to support him in that role.

So there are some places where whatever of the ultimate design, we’re going to have to make sure we’re effective. At the same time, as Mr. Barnes alluded to, we’re already looking at structures by which we streamline, I’ll call it parallelize and eliminate processes associated with acquisition oversight, reporting and approvals.

We’re actually beginning to look at the same sort of thing as — with respect to requirements, in some cases, streamlining those but also can we join those together? So we’re looking at a new approach to requirements. As General Crosier said, we want a 21st century approach to talent management, the — the — you know, most of the services today have what I’ll call a rigid structure, 20th century industrial model for personnel management.

Treating those folks as capital and looking at how we best utilize them, best employ them, both inspire them, develop them and train them is another approach where we’re looking at doing things differently.

And the other thing is very, very rigidly — or not rigidly, but rigorously looking at where can we use automation, where in the past we’ve used people, and that’s not just in terms of operations and capabilities, that’s in the way we conduct business every single day with the structures and processes there.

But it’s still really early. The good — the good news is — in that and the bad news in that regard is everybody’s watching, they’ve made it very clear we can’t build a heavy bureaucratic structure, even if we wanted to. So that’s part of the drive to innovate.

Q: General, could I quickly follow up and maybe clarify one of the points? You mentioned, again, it would be very small and not very many personnel, you said 6,000 would transfer in. Did you mean from the initial 16,000 or total? What was that 6,000 …

GEN. THOMPSON: Yeah, so — so the — the — if you look today at what is the United States Space Force, which is an organization in the Air Force that was created that was formally Air Force Space Command, about 6,000 of those people are uniformed members who automatically will transfer in to an organization as we accept those units.

However, more broadly, there are units across the Air Force that are not aligned to the U.S. Space Force today. Sometime this summer, those — I think it’s 100 — what is it, 123 different organizational elements will — their units will realign into the U.S. Space Force. They will come with an additional set of uniformed members who ultimately will transfer in.

There are individuals on the Joint Staff, there are individuals in the combatant commands around the world, there are individuals in other organizations across the Department of Defense. Those individuals will transfer into the U.S. Space Force, as well.

So the first set of those transferring in are in that organization today. The remainder are those that will come in from other places and then you’ll start talking about will folks who will transfer in from the Army, who will transfer in from the Navy, those sorts …

GEN. CROSIER: It — it ties back to the mission focus force concept, too, though, cause you remember of the 16,000 people that are assigned to U.S. Space Force today, those were the people who were in Air Force Space Command on the day of the legislation, some of which — who were doctors and lawyers and dentists, right?

And we’ve already described, they’re going to stay in the Air Force and continue to do those important functions. So you will have more people assigned to U.S. Space Force doing those critical support missions than you have actually in the U.S. Space Force because the people in the U.S. Space Force are those limited number of skill sets that I talked about in terms of doctrine, training, education, ops, intel, right? Those sorts of things.

So really important, the distinction between assigned and transferred.

STAFF: And we’ll go to Marcus as the last one and …

Q: Sir, Marcus Weisgerber with Defense One. I kind of want to follow up on that. So you — the 6,000 people, you hope to have them in place by the end of the year?

GEN. THOMPSON: They are — they are in place today — certainly by the end of the year, transferred. Let’s just say we expect more than that 6,000 to be transferred but not the full compliment.

Q: OK and just a — kind of a practical question. We have soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. Who do we call members of the Space Force?

GEN. THOMPSON: That’s a great question, one that we’ve spent some serious time and energy on, in fact, not just internally but we’re taking steps to broaden our aperture and — and bring in a larger set of groups.

We have — we have recently gone out to our language department at the Air Force Academy, the Defense Language Institute, other — other — let’s call it English — English and language centers to open up thoughts on what that might be called, we’ve done, what I’ll call a little bit of internal crowdsourcing with the members of the Space Force and others.

There are a couple of really strong options on what we might be called and some pretty strong opinions but what we’d like to do is ensure we’ve thought as broadly as we can, gotten the opinions of the people who matter, and those are people like — not just — not really General Crosier and I, but the young folks who are on consul today, and consider it as best we can what that ought to be before we land on an answer, but I think we’re pretty close.

Q: What are they?

STAFF: All right, thank you, ladies and gentlemen.

(CROSSTALK)

GEN. THOMPSON: I’m going to let you all work that — go work the network on that one.

STAFF: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. If you have any follow up questions, you can contact SAF/PA …

(CROSSTALK)

GEN. THOMPSON: If you have good ideas, send them in.

Q. How about space cadets?

GEN. CROSIER: Not space cadets.

GEN. THOMPSON: No, not space cadets, not space men.

(CROSSTALK)

STAFF: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.

Q. Well, that’s a headline.

(LAUGHTER)

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