Updated 10/14/21 at 10 PM ET to incorporate a second Air Force response.
WASHINGTON: The Department of the Air Force on Monday will put in place a realignment of preliminary area coverage improvement that previously has been straight underneath the purview of the Air Force secretary, handing them as a substitute to the workplace of the Space Force chief, Breaking Defense has discovered.
An Air Force spokesperson confirmed the deliberate shift in an e-mail this night. However, Air Force officers later tonight in a telephone name pressured that decision-making authority over coverage continues to reside inside the civilian chain of command, beginning with Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall and in the end going by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
The transfer — which is able to make coverage the purview of Lt. Gen. Bill Liquori, who serves as Space Force’s chief technique and resourcing officer — places preliminary area coverage improvement within the army chain of command quite than within the palms of civilians appointed by Congress. It is also no less than the seventh reshuffle of area coverage actions inside the Department of the Air Force because the early 2000s.
Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond had pushed for the shift, arguing that there isn’t a secretariat workplace for air coverage, one former Defense Department official defined.
“I think USSF leadership wants the Space Staff to be the one stop shop for all DAF space policy (and strategy) matters,” one insider mentioned.
At the second, it stays unclear the place these engaged on coverage points underneath the outdated model of the Space Acquisition and Integration workplace will probably be reassigned.
“They have announced the top and middle tier structures and leadership, but no worker bees know where they will be assigned yet,” mentioned one other supply near the motion earlier this week.
A spokesperson for the Department of the Air Force defined that Brig. Gen. Steve Whitney, who was charged with the realignment, would element the modifications to employees tomorrow.
“Brig. Gen. Whitney is presenting to the SAF/SQ team on 15 Oct the organizational structure of SAF/SQ and personnel alignment which will take effect on 18 Oct. There is not a plan for a formal announcement,” the spokesperson mentioned in an e-mail this night.
“Regarding space policy, space acquisition policy remains in SAF/SQ while broader policy discussions will occur across the USSF. The shift of the international affairs efforts to SAF/IA is in progress and involves the shift of a handful of specific skilled individuals. The remaining members of SAF/SQ will be assigned to positions inside of SAF/SQ to accomplish the SAF/SQ mission set of Space System Acquisition and Integration.”
Follow The Money
Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall in August revealed his plan to merge the Space Acquisition and Integration workplace, previously referred to as SAF/SP, with the Air Force Acquisition, Technology and Logistics workplace, SAF/AQ, into a brand new group nonetheless named Space Acquisition and Integration, however now designated SAF/SQ. At the identical time, he introduced that Whitney was changing Shawn Barnes, who served as SAF/SP deputy however had de facto been the senior civilian answerable for the workplace.
“The alignment of SAF/SQ duties is in-line with the previously announced changes by the SecAF at the Space Symposium conference,” the spokesperson mentioned.
“Regarding space policy, space acquisition policy remains in SAF/SQ while broader policy discussions will occur across the USSF. The shift of the international affairs efforts to SAF/IA is in progress and involves the shift of a handful of specific skilled individuals. The remaining members of SAF/SQ will be assigned to positions inside of SAF/SQ to accomplish the SAF/SQ mission set of Space System Acquisition and Integration,” the spokesperson added.
The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act required that the Air Force appoint a Senate-confirmed assistant secretary for area acquisition and integration. That individual, the act mentioned, will “synchronize with the Air Force Service Acquisition Executive on all space system efforts, and take on Service Acquisition Executive responsibilities for space systems and programs effective on October 1, 2022.”
The reorganization, Kendall instructed an viewers at this yr’s Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, is designed to emphasise that the brand new workplace, which was mandated by Congress within the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, is at the start an acquisition workplace, versus a coverage store for area acquisition points.
“Frank cares more about the money than he does about policy,” one outdoors professional following the problem mentioned, as a result of in the long run, these with the cash management what is definitely purchased.
More than one present and former DoD area coverage wonk expressed concern in regards to the route of the deliberate reshuffle. That is partially as a result of whereas Raymond has put huge emphasis on rushing weapons improvement and fielding, there proceed to be main coverage questions surrounding what the long run area structure seems to be like.
For instance, what's the stability between small constellations of huge, extremely beautiful satellites, such because the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) missile warning satellites and people comprised of many smaller however maybe much less succesful satellites, such because the Missile Tracking layer being improvement by the Space Development Agency? What must be the stability of funding in offensive weapons versus constructing architectural resilience?
“The Space Force is going really fast! I’m not sure where they are going or what they are measuring to suggest they are going fast, but that’s what I hear!!!” the previous DoD official wrote.
“They’re creating weapons before they’re realizing how they want to employ them — and that seems a little backwards to me,” mentioned one former army area operator.
There are additionally points surrounding how such choices driving acquisition are managed, and overseen.
“The ‘space policy’ portfolio is to move to CSRO, but I don’t think they have the manning/expertise to support what is needed in the short term,” the insider mentioned.
“Congress can hold political [appointees] accountable — not so much with the uniformed officers,” the previous DoD official defined. Noting that previously the senior area coverage official would characterize the Department of the Air Force at interagency conferences, the supply added: “I don’t see why this would be given to someone who is loyal to the CSO rather than the secretary.”
Another former DoD official mentioned that given Kendall’s earlier feedback, the transfer is just not surprising. “I do think it is of questionable wisdom,” the supply added.
“I think it is a mistake,” the surface professional mentioned bluntly.
“To the question of Individuals expressing concerns about moving Policy from a civilian lead (SecAF) to a military lead (CSO): We would say, SAF/SQ is focused on the acquisition of space systems and technical capabilities. Space acquisition policy will remain in SAF/SQ while broader policy discussions will occur across the USSF and the international affairs efforts move to SAF/IA. The Department of Defense provides civilian oversight of space policy through the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy,” the spokesperson wrote.
Congress Wants Speed
To be truthful to Pentagon area leaders, a pissed off Congress has been pushing DoD, the Department of the Air Force and the Space Force to maneuver out on area acquisition reform, in addition to to hurry fielding of recent expertise to make sure the US has an edge on China and Russia.
Just final week, Chairman of the House Armed Services’ strategic forces subcommittee, Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., admonished the service to “step up its game.” Cooper, who was one of many father’s of Space Force’s creation, mentioned that the service has the price range it must succeed however continues to be shifting too sluggishly to accumulate cutting-edge tech.
The House Appropriations Committee (HAC), equally slammed the DoD area management in its 2022 protection spending invoice for what the appropriators see as foot-dragging on area acquisition reform — which was one of many main congressional rationales for the creation of the brand new area service within the first place.
The HAC report thunders:
The fiscal yr 2022 price range request is the primary price range developed by the Space Force since its institution, but jt contains most of the similar kind of “big juicy targets” that the present Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has warned in opposition to for no less than 4 years. The Space Force lacks a transparent plan which defines its future area structure and lacks a technique for the way this structure will probably be acquired.