Lt. Gen. Chance Saltzman nominated to be next Space Force CSO

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  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

Lt. Gen. B. Chance Saltzman has been nominated to be U.S. Space Force’s next chief of space operations.

If confirmed by the Senate, Saltzman will become the service’s highest-ranking officer and the second CSO in the young service’s history. Saltzman will step into the position currently held by Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, who has led the Space Force since its establishment in December 2019. Raymond is projected to retire later this year.

“I am very honored and humbled by the nomination to be the second chief of space 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,” Saltzman said.

Raymond praised Saltzman and his nomination and paid tribute to the Guardians and Airmen that he has led over his career.

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to lead Guardians and Airmen and to serve as the Space Force’s first chief of space operations. I couldn't be more excited about the next chapter for the world’s greatest Space Force and the nomination of Chance Saltzman to serve as our next CSO,” Raymond said.

“His extensive space experience and deep understanding of how to integrate space into the defense of our nation have made him indispensable to the establishment of this service and Guardians the world over will not find a more loyal teammate.” Raymond said.

Likewise, Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall praised Raymond for his tenure and for the way he built the Space Force. Kendall said that Saltzman was the ideal nominee to build on the Space Force’s accomplishments.

"General Jay Raymond has worked tirelessly to create a strong foundation for the Space Force and to set our Guardians up for long-term success. Every American should be grateful for what he has accomplished,” Kendall said.

“I'm certain that General Saltzman has the skill and the drive needed to build on that foundation, and if confirmed, I'm looking forward to the opportunity to work with him as the second chief of space operations,” he said.

If confirmed, Saltzman would inherit a Space Force as it continues its transition from the early planning and organizational phases required to form the first new branch of the military since 1947, to one that focuses more on the Department of the Air Force’s operational imperatives.

Since August 2020, Saltzman has served as deputy chief of space operations for operations, cyber, and nuclear. In this role, Saltzman has overall responsibility for operations, intelligence, sustainment, cyber, and nuclear operations for the Space Force.

Commissioned in 1991 after graduating from Boston University, he has deep operational experience with missile and space systems as a Minuteman III launch officer and as a satellite operator for the National Reconnaissance Office. He also served as the first chief of combat plans for the Joint Space Operations Center, and later, as chief of combat operations.

Saltzman has commanded at the squadron, group, and wing levels including the 614th Space Operations Squadron and 1st Space Control Squadron at what is now Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, as well as the 460th Operations Group at what today is Buckley SFB, Colorado.

Before serving in his current assignment under Raymond, Saltzman was the deputy commander, U.S. Air Forces Central Command; deputy, Combined Force Air Component Commander, U.S. Central Command, Southwest Asia.

During his time in the Air Force and later, the Space Force, Saltzman has earned a collection of notable awards and decorations, including the Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.