Today is the final day of the ASCEND conference, and one of the starting sessions was with General Jay Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, US Space Force. Raymond was joined by Lt. General John Thompson from the Space and Missile Systems Center and Mike Roberts from the Space Rapid Capabilities Office to talk about what they are doing to increase the US’ national security in space.

The session started with a pre-recorded message from Raymond that stated the goals they have and what the Space Force has done so far. Raymond has a unique opportunity to be the first person to be head of a brand new armed forces branch since the inception of the US Air Force in 1947. Raymond mentioned that the US Space Force has a very flat organizational structure.

Raymond also that it’s their goal to turn the Space Force into the first “digital service.” It is hiring software engineers to develop new defense software for the US and their partners. He mentioned its competition with Russia and China to be able to better secure their assets. Both countries have shown the ability to intercept and destroy satellites.

One of our biggest tasks is when sailors, soldiers, airmen, and marines need space. When they need GPS, missile warning, or communications. It’s available, trusted, just like a light switch, and when you come into a room and flip on a light switch, the lights always come on.

General Jay Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, US Space Force

A big topic in today’s session was the Space Force wanting to grow their partnerships with the private sector. Their goal isn’t to build and manage new systems in-house, but to find people that have ideas and give them contracts to build it. They’ve hosted events where engineers are able to pitch their ideas directly to officials inside the Space Force. The new branch awarded more than $46 million to companies to achieve possible game-changing technology. Both the Space and Missile Systems Center and Space Rapid Capabilities Office are looking to expand their teams, either as civilian or as enlisted/commissioned jobs.