WASHINGTON — The U.S. Space Force has established an intelligence analysis group within the National Air and Space Intelligence Center at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

A new organization called the Space Force Intelligence Activity is an interim step before the Space Force stands up a separate National Space Intelligence Center also at Wright Patterson, according to a memo signed Sept. 24 by Maj. Gen. Leah Lauderback and Lt. Gen. Mary O’Brien.

Lauderback is the Space Force director of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. O’Brien is the Air Force deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and cyber effects operations.

A copy of the memo was obtained by SpaceNews.  

The Space Force Intelligence Activity (SFIA) is an “interim operational construct to facilitate the process of the National Space Intelligence Center establishment,” the memo says. 

The SFIA will be staffed by teams of space and counterspace analysts who are now under the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) and will eventually transfer to the National Space Intelligence Center, according to the memo. 

NASIC is the Department of Defense’s primary source for intelligence on threats that affect air and space operations. 

The space and counterspace analysis teams include both military and civilian personnel. They are responsible for analyzing foreign space capabilities and the implications for U.S. space superiority.

The Space Force does not yet have funding to build the National Space Intelligence Center. The Biden administration requested $20 million for the center in its 2022 budget proposal that has not yet been approved by Congress. That funding was previously in the Air Force budget and was transferred to the Space Force.

Lawmakers such as Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) had raised concerns about the Space Force creating a separate organization that would duplicate the work performed by NASIC. Space Force leaders have argued that it’s important to have an intelligence organization strictly focused on space threat analysis. According to sources, for years there has been an internal competition for resources within NASIC between air and space intelligence. 

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...