NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The head of the U.S. Space Force said the new service has successfully put the various space organizations in the Department of Defense and beyond on the same page, ensuring they are avoiding duplication and working together.
“For the first time ever, everybody’s rowing in the same direction,” said Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond on Sept. 21 at the 2021 Air Space & Cyber conference. “It’s going to pay a huge advantage to our nation to reduce duplication, reduce costs and increase our ability to go fast.”
Key to that effort are two recent developments: the creation of a new force design and the designation of the Space Force as the requirements integrator for space.
“What we did when we set up a space force, we set up a new capability development process. It begins with force design. We have an organization called the Space Warfighting Analysis Center that we established, and this is a small organization with PhD-level [talent] coupled with operators,” said Raymond.
The Space Warfighting Analysis Center, or SWAC, has completed its first force design, which is focused on the military’s missile warning and tracking capability. That force design will be critical for industry looking to understand the Space Force’s plans for future missile warning systems. The military is currently building or exploring missile warning satellites that can operate in low-earth orbit, medium-earth orbit and geostationary orbit, the latter of which has hosted the nation’s missile warning satellites for decades.
The analysis brought in stakeholders from across the Department of Defense and intelligence agencies, including the Space Development Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, Missile Defense Agency, Space Rapid Capabilities Office and more.
The force design is the most consequential work the Space Force has done to date, said Raymond.
With the design complete, the process moves on to requirements. There too, said Raymond, the military’s space enterprise is more unified than ever.
That’s where the other big development comes in. As Raymond noted at Space Symposium in August, the Joint Requirements Oversight Council recently designated the Space Force as lead integrator for joint space requirements. That change ensures that there is now one organization in charge of making sure the space-related efforts from across the military and intelligence community are complementary, not duplicative.
To help facilitate conversations among those various organizations, the Space Force created the Space Force Acquisition Council, where representatives from the National Reconnaissance Office, Missile Defense Agency, Space Systems Command and more can meet regularly and share what they’re working on.
“It’s an imperative — an absolute imperative — that we move away from a legacy force structure and we get to a force structure that’s more defensible,” said Raymond. “And to do that, we all have to be rolling in the same direction.”
Nathan Strout is the staff editor at C4ISRNET where he covers the intelligence community.