U.S. Space Force Rallies Congress For Acquisition Org Changes

U.S. Space Force logo.
Credit: U.S. Space Force

As the U.S. Space Force plans to establish a Space Systems Command (SSC) this summer, service leadership is already rallying Congress to alter the new command’s reporting structure for two important offices—the Space Development Agency (SDA) and the Space Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO).

Under the current plan, both the SDA and Space RCO report directly to the chief of space operations and the Department of the Air Force secretariat. But Vice Chief of Space Operations Gen. David Thompson said April 21 during the virtual C4ISRNET conference that this reporting structure is ineffective to fully integrate all space acquisition activities. 

Instead, Thompson said having the SDA and Space RCO report to the head of SSC is a better construct. But the Space Force’s hands are tied because Congress specified in the 2020 Defense Authorization Act that the Space RCO would report to the chief of space operations, and the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act said the SDA would report to the chief of space operations.

“Our first organizational construct moves us in the direction that we need to and at the same time, complies with laws we’re required to,” Thompson said. “Our desire and our intent is to continue to work with Congress to continue to show them our vision, how we want it to work together, what organizational construct we believe will help facilitate that, and gain their support and advocacy.”

The Space Force intends to establish SSC this summer, but the timing depends on the nomination and Senate confirmation of a three-star commander. The service unveiled new details April 8 on establishing SSC to oversee the development of cutting-edge technologies and purchasing launch services and satellites.