Space Force has had the goal of building up a branch that is different than the rest of the military. A branch that is more agile and faster than the rest, something needed to be successful in the space domain. Space Force is continuing with that ideology with the new acquisitions command, bringing a fresh look to how contracts are awarded.
The Space Systems Command will be one of three field commands that will report directly to General John Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, and will bring together a mix of legacy and nontraditional procurement offices.
“I think you’re going to see an organization that has disruptive innovators, prototypers and more traditionals.[The goal is to have] unity of effort, reduced duplication, reduced cost and increased speed.”
General John Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, US Space Force
The new command will be headed by a three-star general and encompass the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Station, currently the primary procurement office for the military. While the command won’t absorb it, it will be its umbrella organization setting the direction for how the SMC and other offices will operate.
The SSC wants to move the US military away from massive billion-dollar satellites that take decades to procure and build. These existing processes hinder the military’s ability to keep up with the innovations, being scared to entrust these large investments on unproven technology. Using cheaper, mass-produced satellites will allow risk with newer technologies and can be replaced easier if need be. Gen Raymond said “I think what you’ll see is a hybrid approach,” with the two different processes.
Currently, there are more than 60 different agencies that potentially have a say during procurement processes. This keeps the US boughed down with red tape which is why there are some newer agencies being created to try to cut through as much of it as possible like the Pentagon’s Space Development Agency and the Space Rapid Capabilities Office. Many of these agencies lack a central authority which could be fixed with this new command.