Efforts by the Air Force to normalize space as a war-fighting environment and provide situational awareness in that domain will require greater collaboration with other agencies across the government.
There was a greater desire to collaborate more with the intelligence community in areas of commonality such as situational awareness in space and indications of warnings and requirements, said Col. Sidney Conner, deputy director of space programs within the office of the secretary of the Air Force. Conner commented on the need for collaboration during a panel discussion at the Satellite 2017 conference in Washington on March 7.
He pointed to such collaboration on the floor of the Joint Interagency Combined Space Operations Center and other operations centers, noting that the service will continue this where it makes sense. This is part of what it's going to take to get this enhanced level of situational awareness to support decision-making by commanders, he added.
As the character and nature of warfare changes, the military is rethinking the way it fights. Its approach to space is no different. Connor explained that the Air Force continues to move forward with the Space Enterprise Vision — a study examining how to make the Air Force more resilient in space.
Describing it as a guiding set of tenets and a framework for more strategic thinking on the contested environment of space, he said the vision crossed all areas, including strategy, acquisition and policy, to name a few.
Consistent with comments from Air Force senior leaders, we are moving forward with the normalization of space as a war-fighting domain, which means thinking differently about how we train space operators," Conner said, adding that
the force also needs to refine requirements for the purchasing process of systems.
To be more agile in the space domain, Connor outlined an approach that involves taking advantage of authorities granted by Congress, such as so-called other transaction authorities to allow for faster and more flexibility in purchasing new systems, as well as delegation of authority. Regarding the latter, Connor noted how Congress granted delegation of authority for Air Force space programs, something the force is doing to get at delegating to the lowest levels.
Mark Pomerleau is a reporter for C4ISRNET, covering information warfare and cyberspace.