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Space Acquisition Report For Congress ‘Imminent’: Raymond « Breaking Defense

Gen. Jay Raymond

WASHINGTON: The long-awaited report to Congress on space acquisition will be released “within days,” Gen. Jay Raymond says — after languishing almost two months past it’s due date on Secretary of Defense Mark Esper’s desk.

Raymond provided scant details about the contents of the acquisition report that will recommend a “new process purpose built for space,” as required under the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act

However, in his briefing to journalists this afternoon organized by the Defense Writers Group, Ray confirmed the report will discuss how DoD’s Space Development Agency (SDA) should work with other space acquisition entities that fall under the purview of the Space Force, including the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) and the Space Rapid Capabilities Office (SRCO). The NDAA mandates that SDA has to be subsumed by the Space Force by October 2022, but as Breaking D readers know, the Space Force doesn’t expect a final DoD decision on how to do that until next year.

“One of my key priorities is to drive unity of effort across the department,” said Raymond, who is doubled hatted as head of Space Force and Space Command. “We’re on the final stages of planning, both what the headquarters looks like at the Pentagon and what the field commands look like. One of the field commands obviously is going to be focused on acquisition, and we have not yet finalized that.”

Raymond elaborated that DoD, the Space Force and the Air Force are still in the planning stages for the acquisition field command, but “are evaluating just what’s the right way to do this to enable the strengths of SDA, and others like Space Rapid Capabilities Office, and the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office.”

“We’re looking at multiple options to be able to maximize unity of effort, but also keeping the attributes that makes the different organizations different and successful,” he said.

DoD, Air Force and Space Force officials continue to wrangle over how to set up space acquisition authorities — in particular the role of the congressionally-mandated space acquisition executive under the Space Force. The report to Congress will punt on that issue due to internal disagreements, with Air Force acquisition czar Will Roper particularly opposed to a bifurcation of air and space acquisition authority. Instead, the report will concentrate on the type of legal acquisition methodologies the Space Force can use in future, for example including rapid-prototyping authorities.

Raymond suggested that the use of high-level architectures to map out roles and activities is one way to ensure that everyone “is rowing in the same direction” in the near term.

One such architecture recently completed, he said, covers the missile warning, tracking and defense “enterprise” across the Space Force, the Missile Defense Agency and SDA. The organizations briefed the Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC), headed by Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John Hyten, on their plan “just a couple of weeks ago,” he said — adding that the briefing “went very well.”

He noted that one of the key goals of the new architecture is to avoid “duplication of effort” and reduce costs.

As Breaking D readers know, DoD is now debating whether MDA’s space acquisition efforts — or even MDA en masse —  also ought to be folded into the Space Force.

Raymond further touted the successful development of Space Command’s new “campaign plan” for day-to-day operations, which he signed into action last week. Every Combatant Command has a campaign plan; this will be SPACECOM’s first.

“That’s our foundational plan if you will,” Raymond explained, “that drives our day-to-day activities across the command of SPACECOM.”

The campaign plan also includes a new mission statement for SPACECOM “placing greater emphasis on preparing for, defending against, and deterring threats,” according to a press release issued this evening. SPACECOM’s mission is:

“To conduct operations in, from, and through space to deter conflict, and if necessary, defeat aggression, deliver space combat power for the Joint/Combined force, and defend U.S. vital interests with allies and partners.”

Military space leaders across the Pentagon argue that a key driver for the creation of both Space Force and SPACECOM is the “escalating threat posed by adversaries who have transformed space from a benign environment to a competitive domain,” as the press statement reiterates.

(Of course, that statement that space until recently has been a benign environment, however, often is challenged by outside experts — who note that warnings about adversary threats by Air Force and DoD leaders date back to the dawn of the space age.)



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