Asserting USAF Leadership to Streamline Space Acquisitions

Clarifying the Air Force’s leadership position over space operations within the joint force would simplify and accelerate the acquisitions process, Gen. John Raymond, chief of Air Force Space Command, told reporters at AWS17 Friday. While the Air Force has always had responsibility for space operations, he said, top service leaders have recently been asserting USAF leadership in the domain publicly in concert with an effort to streamline a notoriously cumbersome acquisitions process. Congressman Mike Rogers (R.-Ala.) said in September 2016 that space acquisitions was unnecessarily slow because there are too many decision-makers within DOD who have a say in approving new space programs. Raymond said the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act included language intended to “push acquisition programs back down to the services.” He also noted that greater Air Force ownership of space acquisitions would clarify authorities and speed new program development. “We’re looking to normalize space as a joint warfighting domain,” Raymond said.