The pace of technological innovation in the space business has long been dictated by government-funded programs of record. But as the private sector increasingly drives innovation, government buyers are trying to figure out their role in the new space era.
The Space Force has plans to acquire billions of dollars worth of new satellites and needs to make sure it avoids the missteps that plagued previous acquisitions, said the Government Accountability Office.
The Center for the Study of the Presidency & Congress released a new report May 4 calling on the U.S. government to accelerate the procurement of commercial space technologies and manage growing congestion in low-Earth orbit.
Satisfying congressional demands for a revamped space acquisition process will now fall on President-elect Joe Biden’s Pentagon team.
The Space Systems Command will bring together multiple agencies that currently handle space acquisitions.
The idea that DoD can save time, money and make space systems more resilient by moving to proliferated systems has been talked about for years. But many reform efforts could not overcome bureaucratic inertia.
The U.S. Space Force is asking for changes in the rules that currently are in place for buying new weapon systems.
Big-money satellite procurements remain firmly in the clutch of the big primes. Nowhere is this more apparent than in missile defense satellite programs.
The House Appropriations Committee commended the Air Force’s launch procurement strategy for increasing competition and eliminating U.S. reliance on Russian rocket engines.
A reorganization of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center and the establishment of a rapid procurement office for space are just the initial steps toward getting “better and faster,” Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Stephen Wilson said last week.
The Space Enterprise Consortium does not follow the arcane defense acquisition regulations. It requires traditional defense contractors to work with nontraditional vendors.
Griffin: "The bumper sticker version of my job is that I don’t have anything to do with anything that the Defense Department is currently buying. "
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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters the Pentagon appreciates the congressional focus on space issues and is not being passive about space reforms, although he would like to see further debate on the pros and cons of reorganizing the military.
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Air Force Gen. John Hyten has been insistent that U.S. military space programs need to “go faster” as adversaries continue to close in on the United States.
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Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson is using regular meetings with her Army and Navy counterparts to keep her colleagues up to date on space issues and on the emerging concept of “multi-domain” military operations that requires broader sharing of information.
Griffin: In the DoD space business there is a culture of “perfect mission assurance” that leads to overly complex and expensive systems.
Op-ed | As adversaries threaten U.S. space systems, serious changes are needed in defense procurement
Rigidity of the military requirements process means that systems cannot be changed easily after development begins, resulting in systems that are technologically obsolete by the time they reach production.