The leader of the real U.S. Space Force says he's looking forward to the Netflix show about the new military branch, but he has a note for series star and co-creator Steve Carell.
"The one piece of advice I'd give to Steve Carell is to get a haircut," Gen. Jay Raymond, the U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations, said good-naturedly on Wednesday (May 6) during a webinar hosted by the nonprofit Space Foundation.
"He's looking a little too shaggy if he wants to play the Space Force chief," said Raymond, whose own pate is nearly bereft of hair.
Raymond added that, when news first leaked out about the series' development, he had been rooting for a follicularly challenged actor to land the lead role.
"I was hoping for Bruce Willis," Raymond said. "But Steve Carell's a great actor, and, I tell you, I love his shows. So, we're looking forward [to the new series]."
Netflix's "Space Force" premieres on May 29. The comedy stars Carell as Gen. Mark R. Naird, the fictional equivalent of Raymond, and also features John Malkovich, Ben Schwartz, Diana Silvers, Tawny Newsome, Lisa Kudrow, Jimmy O. Yang, Jane Lynch, Fred Willard and Noah Emmerich.
While Wednesday's webinar touched briefly on the show, its main focus was the real Space Force. Raymond and Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett discussed the duties and future of the new military branch, which was officially established this past January. (The Space Force is part of the Department of the Air Force, like the Marine Corps is part of the Department of the Navy.)
The Space Force will help protect American space assets, deter aggression and establish norms of behavior in the final frontier, Raymond and Barrett said. Such work is vitally important now and into the future, they stressed, because space is no longer the benign domain it used to be and the United States' long-held dominance in this realm is under serious threat.
"So many of our systems are not defended and are vulnerable, and so it is important for us to deter aggressive action against American assets," Barrett said. "But if deterrence fails, we need to be prepared to defend and, if necessary, shoot back."
The nation is at a "strategic inflection," Raymond added, noting that the United States is dependent on space assets such as Global Positioning System satellites like never before.
"This is an opportunity to remain the best in the world, to stay ahead of those world threats," he said.
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Mike Wall is the author of "Out There" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.