Space Force Reveals New Structure for Acquisition Command

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WASHINGTON — The Space Force is changing the structure of its acquisition field command to improve integration between its programs and position command to counter growing threats in space.

Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond announced the change during a briefing with reporters Friday at the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium, though space acquisition leaders teased the change. realignment in recent months. Under the realigned structure, Space Systems Command now has five Program Executive Offices: Assured Space Access; Combat management command and control; Space domain awareness and combat power; Communications and positioning, navigation and timing; and space detection.

In an interview Friday morning, SSC Commander Lt. Gen. Michael Guetlein told C4ISRNET that the newly aligned organization draws inspiration from successful elements of other space acquisition organizations, including the Space Rapid Capabilities Office, the National Reconnaissance Office and the Missile Defense Agency.

“The realignment pivots within Space Systems Command and within Space Force,” Guetlein said. “It focuses on countering the growing threats we see in space. It is a matter of guaranteeing space capabilities to the nation and to the combatant. It focuses on development throughout the life cycle.

With the new structure, Guetlein is designated as the Space Systems Systems Integrator and will be an advisor for all major space-related decisions within the Department of the Air Force. The program’s five new executive officers will report directly to the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition and Integration.

In addition to the new PEO structure, PVC is adding four new offices:

  • A systems integration system office that will develop standards and specifications that link programs across the space enterprise;
  • A Commercial Services Office that will bring together all of SSC’s initiatives focused on commercial services, including satellite communications and space domain awareness;
  • An international affairs office that will focus on partnering with allies;
  • And a combatant integration office that will liaise directly with combatant commands to ensure the systems the SSC develops will meet their needs.

Guetlein noted that the Warfighter Integration Office will, in the short term, liaise with US Space Command, US Indo-Pacific Command and Space Force Space Operations Command.

The realignment is the third major change to the space acquisition command structure since 2019, when then-commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center, Lt. Gen. John Thompson, moved away from the previous model centered on the mission that SMC had operated towards a business model. . The resulting structure, dubbed SMC 2.0, divided programs among four offices, or “corps”: Development Corps, Production Corps, Enterprise Corps, and Atlas Corps.

Then last summer, the Space Force formally created Space Systems Command, redesignating SMC as SSC, with officials saying the change “would build on the success of SMC 2.0.” Although SSC executives said the new command represented a major culture shift within the acquisition community, it was structured similarly to SMC 2.0, with the exception of a corporate overhaul of launch which designated the Deputy Commander of SSC to lead a new Assured Space Access Office.

Guetlein said SMC 2.0 has been successful in helping Space Force acquirers navigate the Department of Defense’s new acquisition framework and embrace innovation within the service, but the organization “left some seams between the programs and how we fit into the business”.

“When we created Space Systems Command, the goal was first to accelerate acquisition to tackle the emerging threat,” Guetlein said. “We had to keep pace with the threat environment. We needed to ensure that we delivered on our current program promises while increasing our resiliency and interoperability. »

The new structure gives PEOs responsibility for the “birth to death” life cycle of their programs, but also positions them to integrate with all other programs in their particular mission area.

The realignment at SSC comes as the Air Force is set to welcome its first space services acquisition manager, Frank Calvelli. As the former Senior Deputy Director of the National Reconnaissance Office, Calvelli brings experience overseeing the development and procurement of space systems, including satellite and ground system acquisition, systems engineering and satellite operations.

As the Space Force brings in new leaders and reshapes its acquisition processes and organization, Congress is watching progress closely. In a report accompanying the House spending bill for fiscal year 2022, lawmakers called for “more aggressive action to address longstanding space acquisition issues,” saying the service takes too much time to define a new space development and supply system.

“Plans to create the new acquisition unit, Space Systems Command, consist primarily of renaming the Space and Missile Systems Center and incorporating existing space launch units. The plan does not address fundamental issues of overlapping and duplicating roles, responsibilities, and authorities among the various other Department of the Air Force space acquisition units,” the lawmakers wrote in the report.

Courtney Albon is C4ISRNET’s Space and Emerging Technologies Journalist. She previously covered the US Air Force and US Space Force for Inside Defense.

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