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Today’s briefing
• U.S. Space Force trying to stay lean
• 2021 Space Pitch Day planned for spring
• SPACECOM not moving for six to eight years

NO BIG BUREAUCRACY IN SPACE  When Congress approved the establishment of the U.S Space Force, it insisted that it had to be done mostly with existing Air Force resources and warned against growth in Space Force bureaucracy. In a new report defense budget analyst Todd Harrison says the service deserves credit for keeping costs in check. Harrison, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, points out that of the Space Force’s $15.4 billion budget for fiscal year 2021 only $111 million is new funding to stand up Space Force headquarters and field centers.

“The Space Force standup costs are low because they’ve chosen to keep them low,” Harrison tells SpaceNews. “You could add a bunch of unnecessary headquarters staff, add new military positions instead of transferring those positions from the other services, and build lots of new facilities to replace existing facilities. But DoD and Congress have wisely chosen not to do that,” says Harrison. So far the Space Force has shown restraint. “But it doesn’t hurt to maintain the pressure legislatively.”

SPACE ‘PITCH DAY’ The Space and Missile Systems Center announced it will host a Space Pitch Day in spring 2021. The event was created to attract entrepreneurial companies to do business with the military. SpaceX’s Elon Musk was the keynote at the inaugural pitch day in November 2019 in San Francisco. SMC said the 2021 event is tentatively scheduled to be held in Los Angeles but it’s also considering a virtual option because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the event, selected businesses are invited to pitch their ideas to a team of Air and Space Force officials and commercial investors for an opportunity to compete for an “on the spot” contract award.

SPACECOM NOT MOVING ANY TIME SOON It’s been widely publicized that the Air Force is eyeing a new location for the headquarters of U.S. Space Command, currently based at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. Several states are making a big push to host USSPACECOM and its 1,400 military and civilian personnel. The Air Force said a new location will be selected in 2021 and it could take up to six years to relocate the command. Maj. Gen. Tim Lawson, the command’s acting deputy commander, says it could take even longer.

“We’re looking at about a six to eight-year time frame before we get into the new command-and-control facility, regardless of where that may be,” Lawson said on Friday at the National Defense Industrial Association’s virtual Space Warfighting Industry Forum. 

In the meantime, SPACECOM is standing up operations in Colorado. “We literally just opened up a brand-new joint operations center and building one here in Colorado Springs,” he said. “We’re happy to have that fully operational. We are continuing to build capability and capacity literally on a daily basis.”



SpaceX insists that the Air Force’s October 2018 decision caused SpaceX “irreparable harm” and gave ULA a key advantage in winning the larger share of Phase 2 launches.

The U.S. military eyes a role in the great power competition for lunar resources as China continues to advance its space capabilities.

A congressionally mandated report said the Commerce Department is the best agency to handle civil space traffic management responsibilities currently held by the Defense Department.

The Space Force will need to fill tech jobs in areas like software development, information systems and cybersecurity, and is thinking of new ways to attract talent,

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from veteran defense journalist Sandra Erwin.
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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...