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New Report on U.S. Space Force Acquisition

New Report on U.S. Space Force Acquisition

Bill Kobren
Encourage defense acquisition workforce professionals to take a look at a recently released RAND Report entitled “A Clean Sheet Approach to Space Acquisition in Light of the New Space Force”.

According to the report’s authors, “the United States' newest military service, the U.S. Space Force (USSF), has a unique opportunity to take advantage of the widening range of commercial capabilities and create a new culture and new management processes to respond to the growing challenges presented by potential adversaries in space…The authors' clean sheet vision recognizes that potential adversaries are increasingly investing in space capabilities and that the pace of commercial innovation is increasing. USSF relies on space technology as a foundation to develop and sustain its joint warfighting capabilities and thus needs an acquisition approach focused on ensuring that the required capabilities are available when needed. To be effective in this context, acquisition processes must be rapid, agile, and, above all, threat-informed. The authors offer a new clean sheet acquisition vision for the technology-centric USSF—acquisition as a warfighting capability rather than a support function.”

Of potential interest both inside and outside of the space acquisition arena is also the reminder that "…among the most critical elements needed to implement effective space acquisition are those involving the workforce actually executing the Defense Acquisition System. USSF should incentivize the acquisition workforce to deliver enterprise capability and to radically change its risk posture. A robust systems engineering capability within USSF, woven into the acquisition process, could help focus the workforce on capability instead of individual systems (e.g., similar to the NRO’s mission integration directorate). In addition, a workforce highly experienced in the use of the newest techniques in digital engineering (the preferred prototyping method) could help use resources more efficiently, decrease development time, and assume a more tolerant approach to risk.”

Photo courtesy of US Space Force