Citing the National Defense Strategy, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson announced that beginning in 2019 the Air Force is opening its space training to allies during her keynote speech at the 34th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo.. April 17, 2018.
“It’s time to build on years of collaboration to deepen our relationships with our allies and partners in space,” Wilson said. “We will strengthen our alliances and attract new partners not just by sharing data from monitoring, but by training and working closely with each other in space operations.”
The Air Force will add two new courses to its National Security Space Institute located at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., including one on space situational awareness, for U.S. partners and allies to learn more about collision avoidance, de-orbits and reentries. The service will also open more of its advanced courses on national security space to military members of allied countries.
Accelerating defendable space
Wilson also announced that the Air Force will establish an office that will report directly to the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition to change acquisition rules and speed things up. The office will work with program managers to identify areas for streamlining and improvement, and drive forward change in the way the Air Force does business.
“Their job will not be to buy things, but to change the Pentagon rules and processes through which we buy things so that speed is a priority, and an expectation,” Wilson said. “It’s time to stop circumventing the bureaucracy and start rewiring it.”
Space and Missiles System Center redesigned for speed
Since last December, Space and Missiles System Center Commander Lt. Gen. J.T. Thompson has been evaluating how the Air Force designs and builds space systems and finding ways for the service to do it better and faster. Now, with the support of Pentagon leadership, Thompson is leading the restructuring of the Space and Missiles System Center.
The redesign will eliminate stovepipes and establish a Chief Architect to guide and look across the entire space enterprise. SMC will have a special team focused on innovation and others that will drive partnerships, prototyping and leverage commercial space.
And the Air Force is moving forward fast. Setting speed as a key parameter, SMC will reach initial operating capability in October of this year.
Using this new structure, the Air Force will cut the time to build the next generation missile warning satellites from nine years, to five years.
“We must work with America’s best companies and its most innovative engineers and scientists to secure our future,” Wilson said. “No other organization in the world can do what we do and we’re only getting better, faster and going farther.”