WASHINGTON — In a planning guidance for the U.S. Space Force, Chief of Space Operations John “Jay” Raymond said the still nascent service must prioritize being lean, agile and willing to take risks.

“This planning guidance is going to be absolutely critical to us as we develop that force design going forward,” Raymond said during a Nov. 9 media roundtable.

The document lays out Raymond’s five priorities in organizing the Space Force:

  • Empower a lean and agile service.
  • Develop joint war fighters in world-class teams.
  • Deliver new capabilities at operationally relevant speeds.
  • Expand cooperation to enhance prosperity and security.
  • Create a digital service to accelerate innovation.

The planning guidance does not divert from the messages Raymond has been sending about the Space Force’s organization since the establishment of the service. He wants it to avoid bureaucracy, accept moderate levels of risk and move fast.

“The imperative to flatten bureaucracy is about more than efficient management — it enables the decision-making speed and agile implementation that generate advantage in competition or conflict,” according to the planning guidance.

“We have to go fast,” Raymond emphasized while speaking to the media, “and this planning guidance gets after that at its core.”

The planning guidance is just the latest milestone for the Space Force, which has worked to rapidly reorganize the space elements of the Air Force into a new and independent service after being established by law in December 2019.

“We’re a little less than 11 months old … and I couldn’t be happier with the incredible progress that we’ve made to date on personnel, organization doctrine, budget [and] doing several reports that Congress has asked us to do as well on acquisition and reserve force and human capital management,” Raymond said. “The first year is all about inventing the force.”

Raymond said the service was given a blank slate to organize itself, and efforts to date will continue into 2021. However, the service’s focus will shift in its second year.

“I think our weight of effort shifts from just inventing to integrating that force broadly across the department, across the Joint Staff, across all of our service partners, intelligence community, allies and partners … and then with commercial industry,” he explained.

Nathan Strout covers space, unmanned and intelligence systems for C4ISRNET.

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