The Space Force’s top general said Wednesday that he would “welcome the opportunity” to talk more about the new service’s mission a day after the administration’s top spokesperson caused a stir over remarks during a news briefing.
The comments from Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond came after White House press secretary Jen Psaki appeared to dismiss the year-old service, drawing the ire of Republican lawmakers who demanded an apology.
When asked to give President Joe Biden’s thoughts about the service, Psaki responded "Wow. Space Force. It’s the plane of today,” before adding she would "check with our Space Force point of contact. I’m not sure who that is."
Psaki followed up Tuesday night on Twitter, saying that the administration invites members of the Space Force “to come visit us in the briefing room anytime to share an update on their important work.”
Raymond, when asked during a Defense Writers Group virtual event on Wednesday about the comment, said he’s happy to take her up on the offer.
“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 willing to talk to anyone about their great work and I’d welcome the opportunity.”
Raymond also acknowledged that the American public does not yet understand the mission of the Space Force, which has been both politicized by elected leaders and mocked by the broader public since it was established in December 2019 under the Trump administration.
“My own mother called me a couple months ago after watching a television segment about GPS [and said] … ‘Did you know the Air Force and Space Force does things with GPS!’ I’m like, ‘Mom, that’s what I do!’ It’s hard to understand,” he said.
Raymond blamed both the isolated nature of space and the fact that most space threats are classified for why the public is not yet on board with the new service, but said the Space Force’s internal communications have been “excellent.”
He also drew a distinction with other military services in explaining his PR challenge.
"Space doesn’t have a mother. You can’t reach out and hug a satellite," he said. "You can’t see it. You can’t touch it. It’s hard to have that connection."
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