A commercial firm will take over the Air Force's Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) constellation by 2016, according to a report in Defense News.

Dave Madden, director of the Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate at Space and Missile Systems Center, revealed the plan at a breakfast organized by the Air Force Association.

He told the audience that he's hopeful "2016 is going to be the year we're finally able to take command and control of WGS and hand it over to the commercial sector."

The move will relieve Air Force personnel of the day-to-day tracking and maintenance of the network, he said.

"That's traditionally a job the service providers do, and we use a squadron to do it. In most cases, the commercial guys are doing it with three to four people," Madden explained. "For the money we're paying to sustain the WGS constellation, we can give it to a service provider to fly it, and sustain it, and then we can free up that squadron [for other missions] and get us out of the basic service provider capability."

Read the full report at DefenseNews.com.