The U.S. Space Force Space Systems Command's Environmental and Tactical Surveillance Delta fulfills Defense Department requirements for access to weather data. Credit: Environmental and Tactical Surveillance Delta

BALTIMORE – Over the next couple of months, the U.S. Space Force organization responsible for delivering weather information to Defense Department customers will take a hard look at weather data requirements.

“We’re going back to our user community, effectively the Joint Staff, to make sure that we have the right prioritization,” Col. Daniel Visosky, senior material leader for the Space Systems Command’s Environmental and Tactical Surveillance Delta, said Jan. 29 at the American Meteorological Society conference here.

For a decade, the Defense Department has focused on remedying 12 gaps in weather monitoring identified by the Joint Requirements Oversight Council. Topping the 2014 list were cloud characterization, theater weather imagery, ocean surface vector winds and ionospheric density.

If the upcoming review identifies new priorities, “we’ll absolutely start looking at them and prioritizing them in terms of funding,” Visosky said.

Purse Strings

Money is not plentiful, though.

“There are there are challenges from a funding perspective,” Visosky said. “But we are looking for opportunities. If I can define how the capability that you guys are bringing to us will assist the warfighter in what they’re trying to do from an operational capability, let’s communicate that story a little bit better. I think funding will come.”

Demand Signal

While scrutinizing weather data requirements, SSC’s Environmental and Tactical Surveillance Delta also is preparing long-term plans for gathering the weather data its DoD customers need.  

“We’re looking at what our architecture is going to look like over the next decade or so,” Visosky said, noting that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has a well-defined path “through the next couple of decades.”

In contrast, the Environmental and Tactical Surveillance Delta has a “path defined for the next five to six years,” Visosky said. “We need that to be longer, so we can send industry a demand signal: what we’re looking for and what opportunities are out there.”

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...