WASHINGTON – After being confirmed by the Senate, Frank Calvelli is expected to be sworn in this week as  assistant secretary of the Air Force for space acquisition and integration.

Calvelli will assume duties as early as Thursday as the Department of the Air Force’s first acquisition executive focused on space. 

President Biden nominated Calvelli in December. The Senate Armed Services Committee held a confirmation hearing in February and the full Senate confirmed him April 28 by voice vote.

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall in a tweet congratulated Calvelli “on his long-awaited Senate confirmation.” 

Calvelli was most recently senior vice president of national security programs at Booz Allen Hamilton. Before that, he served as principal deputy director of the National Reconnaissance Office from 2012 to 2020, with responsibility over satellite and ground system acquisition, program management and systems engineering.  

Kendall said Calvelli’s experience will be valuable to help put “meaningful military capabilities into the hands of U.S. Space Force guardians” and to develop space-based capabilities for all U.S. armed services and allies. 

Some of Calvelli’s statements from prepared testimony submitted to the Senate Armed Armed Services Committee:

  • “We are at a critical juncture for our defense space architecture, and there is a real sense of urgency to act. The nation needs to outpace its adversaries and maintain the technological advantage it gets from space. The nation needs to integrate its space architecture with other warfighting domains to give its warfighters a strategic edge.”
  • “The nation needs to make its space architecture more resilient so that it can be counted on during times of crisis and conflict, and the nation needs to do this with speed.” 
  • “I believe the best acquisition organizational construct should be flat, push decision- making down to the lowest level, ensure integration across the space enterprise, and be aligned with the warfighter.” 
  • “The establishment of the U.S. Space Force provided the Department of Defense a tremendous opportunity to take a fresh look at how to equip the force with new capabilities for the future fight. The commercial sector is at the forefront of many new technologies such as artificial intelligence, edge computing, and machine learning; technologies which will be beneficial to outpacing strategic competitors.”
  • “The rapid growth of the commercial space sector provides a significant opportunity for the DoD to utilize innovative commercial capabilities and production processes to deliver critical space capabilities. Each mission area must be evaluated to determine the risks involved in order to achieve the proper balance between government and commercial capabilities.”

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...