- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee members on Tuesday pressed the White House’s pick to lead the Pentagon’s new Space Command on how the command will work with existing space operations handled by the Air Force and the intelligence community.

Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, the committee’s ranking Democrat, questioned Gen. John Raymond, tapped by President Trump to head Space Command, on the issue during his confirmation hearing.

“General Raymond, you are nominated to be the commander of a joint command, conducting joint operations. Yet the overwhelming majority of personnel who work in space are members of the Air Force,” Mr. Reed said.

“I am interested in how you will meet the joint mandate … when almost all space activities will be occurring in one service,” he added.

Mr. Reed also sought details on how the new command would coordinate with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the intelligence directorate responsible for fielding and operating America’s constellation of spy satellites.

“The NRO remains independent of the Space Command and Space Force, leaving a seam in our national security space,” the Rhode Island Democrat said Tuesday in his opening statement.

During the hearing, the four-star general said that under his watch, Space Command would fight and function like all the other joint combat commands within the Pentagon.

“Space is a joint warfighting business, [and] you have to have joint integration,” Gen. Raymond said.

The new command will have component commands from each of the services, similar to existing joint combatant commands, Gen. Raymond said.

“They will have operators in each one of those [components], they develop capabilities that are integral to their service” under the larger umbrella of Space Command, the four-star general added.

“We cannot win this fight [in Space] without this joint team,” Gen. Raymond said, noting that fight has gotten more dangerous as China and Russia continue to hone their own combat capabilities in space.

Gen. Raymond’s nomination is the first to go before Congress since the 1999 nomination of Air Force Gen. Ralph Eberhart to lead the command, which was decommissioned three years later in 2002.

The Trump White House reinstituted the command, putting it on par with organizations like U.S. Central Command and U.S. Cyber Command as part of Mr. Trump’s push to create the U.S. Space Force as a new military branch.

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