By Meaghan MacDougall
On Wednesday, July 27, 2022, President Biden nominated Chance Saltzman to be the new Chief of Space Operations. If the Senate confirms Saltzman, he will be the second Space Force top officer since December 2019 when the Space Force was created.

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What Does the Chief of Space Operations Do?

The Chief of Space Operations is the highest-ranking officer in the Space Force. The current and very first Chief of Operations for the Space Force is John W. “Jay” Raymond. Raymond has been in this position since December of 2019 when the Space Force was created. The Chief of Space Operations serves as the senior uniformed space officer who acts as an advisor for the Space Force. They are responsible for the organization, training, and equipping of all organic and assigned space forces serving in the United States Space Force overseas. The Space Force has many bases across the country where space operations are taking place, such as Peterson Space Force Base in Colorado, where Space Command is currently located. In the near future, Space Command will be relocated to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL.

Who Is Chance Saltzman?

Lt. Gen. Chance Saltzman currently holds the title of Deputy Chief of Space Operations, nuclear and cyber. Saltzman is the first general officer who was promoted to the new service and the first lieutenant general of the Space Force. Currently, Saltzman is responsible for operations, intelligence, sustainment, cyber, and nuclear operations. Saltzman graduated from Boston University in 1991 and was commissioned into the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps. In 1994, he completed his masters degree in public administration from the University of Montana, and in 1998 he completed a Master of Strategic Management degree from the George Washington School of Business. Saltzman has commanded at squadron, group, and wing levels. He commanded the 614th Space Operations Squadron and the 1st Space Control Squadron at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. He also commanded the 460th Operations Group at Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado and the Aerospace Data Facility in Colorado. Before serving his current position in the Space Force, Saltzman was the deputy commander, U.S. Air Forces Central Command, Deputy, Combined Force Air Component Commander, U.S. Central Command, South Asia. According to Military Times, Saltzman has recently been the go-to person for high-level military planning initiatives. Saltzman has created a reputation of being an articulate thinker who’s leading the way to breaking down the Pentagon’s difficult hurdles to joint operations. Since August 2020, when he became the Space Force ops boss, Saltzman has tackled questions behind space warfare, such as “How should the service define its readiness and how can it work seamlessly with other parts of the military?”

B. Chance Saltzman’s Nomination

After being nominated by President Joe Biden to become the next four-star Chief of Space Operations, Lt. Gen. Chance Saltzman will be succeeding Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, who is retiring after 35 years of service, if the nomination is confirmed by the Senate. According to SpaceNews, Raymond is extremely supportive of Saltzman’s selection. The other candidates that were considered for the position were Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting, who runs the Space Force’s ops branch, and Lt. John Shaw, who is the second-highest ranking officer at the Pentagon’s U.S. Space Command. According to af.mil, Saltzman stated, “I am very honored and humbled by the nomination to be the second Chief of Operations. If confirmed, Jennifer and I will be committed to building on the incredible foundation General Jay and Mollie Raymond put in place for our service and we are forever grateful for their service and dedication.” Before a confirmation vote by the Senate for Saltzman to become the newest Space Force Chief, he must go before the Senate Armed Services Committee. The Chief of Space Operations works out of the Pentagon, and according to the Air Force Times, a Space Force spokesperson stated that the change in leadership will happen near the end of 2022.

October 2022 UPDATE: Saltzman Confirmed

On October 3, 2022, Saltzman was confirmed as the new Chief of Space Operations for the USSF. He shared his thoughts in a press release: "I look forward to leading the U.S. Space Force and building on the strong foundational leadership Gen. Raymond has provided for almost three years." Former Chief of Space Operations, General John Raymond, expressed his contentment at the appointment of Saltzman in a press release: "Congratulations to Chance Saltzman on his confirmation to serve as the next Chief of Space Operations... I couldn't be more excited for the Saltzmans and for our Space Force. The team is in great hands." We couldn't agree more that Saltzman is a great pick for the job. His military experience and proven leadership will undoubtedly herald the Space Force into a wildly successful generation.

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Image: United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation




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