In a recent interview published by the Air Force Association official Youtube channel on the 25th of February this year, Chief of Space Operations Gen. John William “Jay” Raymond was interviewed by the renowned author and astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, in an interview full of spirit and determination.
In the over 40-minute interview, the two discussed many threats, complex challenges and opportunities, and the vulnerabilities that the new two year-old branch of service has to deal with. They’ve had to learn to cope with the new technologies produced by China and Russia; specifically, technologies that took technological weapons to a new advanced level outside of the earth’s atmosphere and into space.
“Today, China and Russia have directed energy weapons. Today, they have multiple systems, think lasers, that can blind or damage our satellite systems,” said Raymond, pointing to the urging need to counter these possible threats, including Russia’s anti-satellite system that is built and inspired by ‘’nesting dolls’’ as he described. These “nesting dolls” are capable of releasing destructive projectiles against satellites in low-earth orbit. Also China’s robotic arm has been integrated in the on-orbit satellite.
Tyson later continued by asking about the office deals with the conflict, to which Gen. Raymond replied:
“Our primary mission is to deter conflict from ascending into space,” Raymond said. “The cost of space is a very, very small portion of the Department of Defense’s budget. Space is a huge force multiplier. We cannot afford, as a nation, to lose space.” And he later noted the fact that building and launching a satellite is as important as being able to protect it from possible threats, commenting ‘’You can’t just build a satellite, launch a satellite and assume it will be there forever’’.
Tyson also mentioned a very interesting topic: ‘’The Space Treaty’’. He inquired about whether it will have a role in protecting outer space from pollution, to which Gen. Raymond explained:
“The Outer Space Treaty says that you can’t have weapons of mass destruction in the space domain and you can’t build military bases on planets. Beyond that, it’s the wild, wild west,”
He also mentioned how unsafe and unprofessional it is for Russia to place a threatening satellite close to the U.S. satellite.
Integrating the topic of Space into the lives of Americans
At the end, the interview took a very interesting turn when Gen. Raymond himself asked Tyson about the best way to deliver the idea of the importance of what they do in Space Force to the American people, because up until now they can’t actually feel that threat.
Tyson replied, “You get Saturday Night Live to do a skit where they systematically remove all the things from a person’s livelihood that were enabled, empowered or conceived by us having access to space. By the end, they’re left in a cave.” Adding the importance of making more ad campaigns to explain in full truth what is actually happening right now.