Space force

Saltzman, father of multi-domain operations, to replace Raymond as Space Force chief

Lt. Gen. B. Chance “Salty” Saltzman speaks at a GEOINT conference. (Photographs by the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation)

WASHINGTON: Lt. Gen. Chance “Salty” Satlzman, the current deputy chief of Space Force operations, has been named by the White House to replace Gen. Jay Raymond as service chief when he retires this fall, confirmed the service today.

Saltzman, who held a number of space-related positions during his Air Force career before transferring to the Space Army in 2020, is perhaps the most widely known as one of the fathers of multi-domain operations – now called all-domain operations and the official combat strategy of the US Army. He is also known for his strong communication skills, quick wit, and undeniable charm.

At Space Force, he had a finger in many pies: responsible for operations, intelligence, sustainment, cyber and nuclear operations. And perhaps more importantly, one source noted, he was one of the first senior Air Force officers to embrace the concept of a separate Space Force at a time when service leadership was struggling against it.

“Salty has the perfect blend of experience and strategic insight to lead the force into the future,” said Doug Loverro, former Pentagon space policy chief and frequent adviser to the Biden administration.

Satlzman had been a “dark horse” candidate for the job for months, a handful of sources said, with close personal ties to Raymond dating back years.

“[Satlzman’s] Extensive space experience and a deep understanding of how to integrate space into our nation’s defense has made him indispensable to the establishment of this service and Guardians everywhere will not find a more loyal teammate. Raymond said in the service announcement.

The race to replace Raymond, the new service’s first-ever chief, has been a bit wild, with at least three other candidates moving up and down the list of recommendations: Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting, chief of Space Operations Command from the Space Force; Lt. Gen. John Shaw, deputy commander of SPACECOM; and Lt. Gen. Nina Armagno, Director of the Space Force Staff.

Prior to today’s announcement, Saltzman also announced that he could take control of Space Command (SPACECOM) next year when the current commander, General Jim Dickinson, retires.

With Saltzman out of the running, rumors are already swirling about Dickinson’s replacement; as well as who will take over at Space Force (known as “No. 1” in the ever-popular Star Trek Next Generation TV series) now held by General David “DT” Thompson, who is also expected to retire next year. Current speculation among insiders is that Shaw will simply replace Dickinson, and that Lt. Gen. Michael Guetlein, head of Space Force Space Systems Command, is leading the race to replace Thompson.

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