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Space Systems Acquisition Policy

APMT 059

DAU GLOSSARY DEFINITION

Alternate Definition

The Space Systems Acquisition Model emphasizes the decision needs for “high-tech” small quantity National Security Space (NSS) programs. DoD Space Systems are those space programs listed in the space virtual Major Force Program (vMFP) maintained by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Director, Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (D, CAPE). DoD space systems include space-based systems (satellites); ground based systems (command and control (C2), launch C2, processing stations, space surveillance stations); satellite launch vehicle systems (boosters, upper-stages, payload processing facilities, space launch facilities, ground support equipment), and user equipment (hand-held user terminals, data reception terminals, user terminals).

General Information

Background: As a result of the report of the Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization, January 11, 2001, the DoD took a number of steps. The Secretary of the Air Force (SecAF) was designated the DoD Executive Agent (EA) for Space (subsequently delegated to the Under Secretary of the Air Force (USecAF)). The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) was transferred from the Air Force Materiel Command to the Air Force Space Command. In February, 2002, the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics) (USD(AT&L) delegated Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) for DoD space Major Defense Acquisition Programs to the SecAF with authority to redelegate to the USecAF. USD(AT&L) also authorized the SecAF to take action to streamline space systems acquisition, and to provide waivers and exceptions to DoD instructions or publications under the jurisdiction of the USD(AT&L). The USecAF was also designated as the Air Force Acquisition Executive for Space.

  • Under authorities delegated from the USD(AT&L), the USecAF issued National Security Space (NSS) Acquisition Policy 03-01 in 2003, and updated the policy in 2004. NSS 03-01 created the Defense Space Acquisition Board (DSAB) and a streamlined oversight and review process for Space MDAPs.
  • In March 2005, the USD(AT&L) redesignated all Air Force ACAT IC programs as ACAT ID and moved all oversight and review of these programs (to include space MDAPs) to the Defense Acquisition Board (DAB). This decision was due to “vacancies in the Air Force and uncertainties in the planned management structure.”
  • On January 4, 2006, USD(AT&L) redesignated many of the Air Force ACAT ID programs as ACAT IC and redelegated MDA for those programs to the SecAF; however, the USD(AT&L) retained MDA for Space MDAPs.
  • As a result of a Joint Analysis Team (JAT) review of the oversight and review process, on March 23, 2009, the USD(AT&L) disestablished the DSAB and rescinded NSS 03-01. At the same time, Interim Guidance for Space Systems Acquisition was issued by USD(AT&L) that was to be eventually incorporated into DoDI 5000.02. The Interim Guidance essentially mirrored NSS 03-01 with a few exceptions. The Interim Guidance, dated March 23, 2009, also stated that a new space policy memorandum would be prepared for signature within 120 days.
  • On August 25, 2010, the Secretary of the Air force issued a memorandum (Headquarters Air Force Space Management and Organization) that transferred Air Force space acquisition authority from the office of the Under Secretary of the Air Force to the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition (SAF/AQ). It also realigned the Air Force Space PEO (Director, Space and Missile Systems Center) reporting to SAF/AQ.
  • On October 18, 2010, USD(AT&L) approved Directive-Type Memorandum (DTM) 09-025 – Space Systems Acquisition Policy (SSAP). This DTM cancelled The Interim Guidance, dated March 23, 2009 and directed that DoDI 5000.02 be amended to establish SSAP and outline procedures for the acquisition of space systems within 180 days. This DTM applies to all DoD Components.
  • On June 10, 2011, Change 1 to DTM 09-025 extended the DTM's expiration date to March 5, 2012 to allow more time to incorporate the DTM into DoDI 5000.02.
  • On December 9, 2011, Change 2 to DTM 09-025 extended the DTM's expiration date to December 31, 2012 to allow more time to incorporate the DTM into DoDI 5000.02.
  • On January 11, 2013, Change 3 to DTM 09-025 extended the DTM's expiration date to August 1, 2013 to allow more time to incorporate the DTM into DoDI 5000.02.
  • On August 6, 2013, Change 4 to DTM 09-025 extended the DTM's expiration date to February 1, 2014 to allow more time to incorporate the DTM into DoDI 5000.02.
  • On November 26, 2013, the Deputy Secretary of Defense issued interim policy to replace the previous DoDI 5000.02 from 2008 and cancel the Space Systems Acquisition Policy (DTM 09-025). The interim DoDI 5000.02 addresses space systems in a couple areas:
    1. 1) On page 26 it states, "(b) High-Cost First Article Combined Milestone B and C Decisions. Some programs, notably spacecraft and ships, will not produce prototypes during EMD for use solely as test articles because of the very high cost of each article. In this case, the first articles produced will be tested and then fielded as operational assets. These programs may be tailored by measures such as combining the development and initial production investment commitments. When this is the case, a combined Milestone B and C will be conducted. Additional decision points with appropriate criteria may also be established for subsequent low rate production commitments that occur prior to OT&E and a Full Rate Production Decision.
    2. 2) On page 54-55, there are two unique information requirements for space programs (Orbital Debris Mitigation Risk Report and Post System Functional Review Report)
  • On January 7, 2015, USD(AT&L) approved the new DoDI 5000.02 which cancelled the interim version that was implemented November 26, 2013. The new DoDI 5000.02 provides a model to be considered for space system acquisition on page 28: "(b) High-Cost First Article Combined Milestone B and C Decisions. Some programs, notably spacecraft and ships, will not produce prototypes during EMD for use solely as test articles because of the very high cost of each article. In this case, the first articles produced will be tested and then fielded as operational assets. These programs may be tailored by measures such as combining the development and initial production investment commitments. When this is the case, a combined Milestone B and C will be conducted. Additional decision points with appropriate criteria may also be established for subsequent low rate production commitments that occur prior to OT&E and a Full Rate Production Decision."
  • On October 5, 2015, the Deputy Secretary of Defense re-designated the position of the Department of Defense executive agent for space (EA4S) to the principal DOD space advisor (PDSA). The Secretary of the Air Force, formerly the EA4S, will now assume the expanded responsibilities of the PDSA.
  • The U.S. Space Force was established December 20, 2019 when the National Defense Authorization Act was signed into law (with bi-partisan support), creating the first new branch of the armed services in 73 years. The establishment of the USSF resulted from widespread recognition that Space was a national security imperative.
  • On January 23, 2020, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment approved a new DoDI 5000.02 putting the Adaptive Acquisition Framework (AAF) in place.  The AAF is a set of acquisition pathways to enable the workforce to tailor strategies to deliver better solutions faster.  There are 6 pathways (Urgent Capability Acquisition, Middle Tier of Acquisition, Major Capability Acquisition, Software Acquisition, Defense Business Systems, and Acquisition of Services).
  • On August 6, 2020, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment USD(A&S) approved DoDI 5000.85 (Major Capability Acquisition) which included specific language addressing space systems on pages 16-17, "(b) High-Cost First Article Combined Milestone B and C Decisions. Some programs such as spacecraft and ships will not produce prototypes during EMD for use solely as test articles because of the high cost of each article. In that case, the first article produced will be tested and evaluated, and then fielded as an operational asset.  The acquisition approach for these programs can be tailored by measures such as combining development and initial production investment commitments and a combined Milestone B and C. Additional decision points with appropriate criteria may be established for subsequent production commitments.”
  • On April 28, 2022, the first Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition and Integration (SAF/SQ) was sworn in.  The new role will revolve around enhancing the Department’s speed and collaboration in developing systems for the U.S. Space Force, while also synchronizing efforts across the Department of Defense and with broader government and international partners, to get new capabilities into the hands of warfighters.
  • On October 31, 2022, a SAF/SQ memo laid out 9 Space Acquisition Tenets.  The 9 tenets are intended to drive space acquisitions top three priorities of Speed, Resilience, and Integration.  The 31 Oct 2022 memo states, "Our top three priorities for space acquisition include driving speed into our acquisitions in order to deliver new capabilities faster to outpace our adversaries and maintain the technological advantage we get from space; making our space architecture more resilient so that it can be counted on during times of crisis and conflict; and integrating our space architecture with other war fighting domains and across the Department's Operational Imperatives to give our warfighters a strategic edge."
    1. Build Smaller Satellites, Smaller Ground Systems, and Minimize Non-Recurring Engineering
    2. Get the Acquisition Strategy Correct
    3. Enable Teamwork Between Contracting Officer and Program Manager
    4. Award Executable Contracts
    5. Maintain Program Stability
    6. Avoid Special Access Programs (SAPs) and Over Classifying
    7. Deliver Ground Before Launch
    8. Hold Industry Accountable for Results
    9. Execute - Deliver Capabilities that Work, and Deliver them on Schedule and on Cost
  • On April 5, 2023, a SAF/SQ memo outlined the U.S. Space Force’s plan to transform its architecture to a more proliferated and resilient form.  These four factors will ensure the Space Force can effectively provide mission capabilities faster to warfighters.
    1. Build Smaller Systems
    2. Use Existing Technology, Designs to Minimize Non-Recurring Engineering
    3. Drive Contract Scope to Three Years or Less from Start to Launch
    4. Use Fixed Price Contracts