Space

Space Systems Command finalized, coming in early 2021

WASHINGTON — Plans for the U.S. Space Force’s new Space Systems Command are all but set, with the new acquisitions organization expected in early 2021, said Chief of Space Operations Gen. John “Jay” Raymond.

“We’ve finalized the planning of that,” Raymond said during a Dec. 15 media call. “I just took a briefing within the last couple days and kind of did the table slap on what Space Systems Command is going to look like, at least initially as it comes out of the shoot.”

“But we’ve got the design down, and I’m really pleased with how it turned out,” the general added.

Space Systems Command is one of three commands being set up under the new Space Force, the other two being Space Operations Command and Space Training and Readiness Command. Space Operations Command is the first of the three to be established, officially created during a ceremony in October.

Whereas Space Operations Command will operate the nation’s military satellites, Space Systems Command will be in charge of developing, acquiring and sustaining those systems. The Space Training and Readiness Command will educate the service’s space professionals.

Raymond said the new Space Systems Command will build off of reforms implemented in SMC 2.0, a plan that refocused the Space and Missile Systems Center around a more enterprise approach to acquisitions.

In addition to SMC, Space Systems Command will oversee the Space Rapid Capabilities Office and the Space Development Agency, the latter of which operates outside the purview of the Space Force but will move to the service in 2022. With these and potentially other organizations purchasing space systems within the Space Force, Space Systems Command will foster “competition between disruptors, prototypers and more traditional acquisitions organizations,” said Raymond.

Of course, the Space Force has begun implementing some acquisitions reforms before the new command is set up.

“We’ve designed it in a way to really enable the delegation of responsibilities down to the experts that do the job. We’ve already started doing that. We took something called the head of contracting authority, which was an authority held here at the Pentagon, and we’ve delegated that down to the experts out at the Space and Missile Systems Center,” explained Raymond.

“We want to let the program managers manage their programs and not have to manage a bureaucracy,” he added.

That was one of several acquisition reforms the Space Force proposed to Congress earlier this year, some of which the new service was able to pursue without legislative action.

The Space Force plans to submit its proposal for Space Systems Command to the secretary of the Air Force in the coming weeks. With only two weeks left in the calendar year, Raymond said he expects to establish the new command in early 2021.

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