Colorado Lawmakers Eager to See New Space Ops Center Built Out

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WASHINGTON – Three Colorado lawmakers have urged senior government officials use rapid acquisition authority to expedite the establishment of a new space operations center that will experiment with warfighting techniques.

In an Oct. 22 letter, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R), and Sens. Michael Bennett (D) and Cory Gardner (R), tasked Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work and Stephanie O’Sullivan, principal deputy to the director of national intelligence, to move quickly on a space battle management center known as the Joint Interagency Combined Space Operations Center, or JICSpOC. The JICSpOC is housed at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“Given the increasing space threats our nation faces, the need for these new capabilities could not be more urgent,” the lawmakers said. “We encourage you to make it your highest priority to develop and test these capabilities so that they will be delivered to the warfighter as quickly and affordably as possible.”

Lamborn is vice chairman of the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, which oversees national security space matters, and co-chairs bipartisan Space Power Caucus, created to educate other lawmakers about the importance of protecting U.S. space assets.

Rapid acquisition authority allows Defense Department leaders to deliver capabilities faster than normal procedures would allow if doing so can improve the effectiveness of U.S. forces.

Pentagon officials disclosed in June that the Defense Department and Office of the Director of National Intelligence were planning the JICSpOC to better address the rapidly evolving threat environment.

The new site, which began initial operations Oct. 1, will serve as a hub of experimentation with space battle management capabilities that could later be inserted into the Joint Space Operations Center, located at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The Pentagon and intelligence community are expected to contribute a combined $16 million in fiscal year 2015 funds and 30 employees to the project. An initial round of experiments, as well as plans for feeding the results of those experiments into JSpOC’s operating procedures, are expected be completed by Jan. 1, 2017.

Industry officials have said the new center could lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in new Defense Department contracts.