Defense

Top Space Force general acknowledges service’s PR problem

The Space Force’s top general said Wednesday that the newest military arm may have a PR problem. 

A day after White House press secretary Jen Psaki appeared to dismiss the new service during a briefing, Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond acknowledged that “it’s hard to understand” the link between what the Space Force does and how it affects U.S. citizens. 

“Space doesn’t have a mother. You can’t reach out and hug a satellite, you can’t see it, you can’t touch it. It’s hard to have that connection if it’s 22,300 miles above your head,” Raymond told reporters on a press call. “But there is a very, very, very strong connection between those capabilities and our way of life.” 

Psaki on Tuesday was asked at a White House press briefing whether President Biden will keep the Space Force and what the scope of its mission would be.

“Wow, Space Force. It’s the plane of today,” she replied. “It is an interesting question. I am happy to check with our Space Force point of contact. I’m not sure who that is. I will find out and see if they have any update on that.”

Following backlash from Republicans who accused her of making fun of the military branch, Psaki said the Biden administration will continue work on the Space Force and invited service leaders “to come visit us in the briefing room anytime to share an update on their important work.” 

Raymond said he has not had an opportunity to talk to Biden about space though he would “welcome the opportunity.”

“I am very proud of the guardians in the Space Force. I see the value of this force each and every day,” he said. “I’m happy to talk to anybody about the great work and I’d welcome the opportunity.”

The one-year-old service has been a punchline among the American public since former President Trump began talking about it early into his presidency, though lawmakers in both parties see it as integral to ensuring the military puts enough focus on space to counter China and Russia.

While the Space Force’s communication strategy internally “has been spectacular,” Raymond acknowledged that the American public has yet to fully understand the value of the service, which he blamed partially on the need to “severely classify what the threats are out there.” 

He recounted how his mother called him several months ago after watching a television segment about GPS to ask if he knew the Air Force and Space Force dealt with the technology.

“I’m like, ‘Mom, that’s kind of what I do!’ It’s just hard to understand,” he said.

Tags Donald Trump jay raymond Jen Psaki Space force
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