Frank Calvelli will officially take his place as the first assistant secretary of the Air Force for space acquisition and integration later this week. In the newly created position, confirmed by the Senate on April 28, Calvelli will work to streamline decisions the Space Force requires to catch up with the heavy spending of space adversary China.
Calvelli brings deep public- and private sector-space experience to the new organization, Secretary of the Air Force, Space Acquisition and Integration, or SAF/SQ.
Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall released a message via Twitter when Calvelli was confirmed, noting the “long-awaited Senate confirmation.”
“Frank’s experience and leadership will be invaluable to putting meaningful military capabilities into the hands of U.S. Space Force Guardians and developing the space-based capabilities that enable and protect our partners across the Joint Force,” Kendall said, according to the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force’s official page.
The new position reflects Kendall’s effort to speed up decision-making to get weapons into the hands of war fighters. In his February nomination hearing, Calvelli said he would bring his 30 years of experience at the National Reconnaissance Office, including eight as its principal deputy director, to “drive speed” into the acquisitions process.
“We are at a critical juncture for our defense space architecture, and there is a real sense of urgency,” he said. “The nation needs to outpace its adversaries and maintain the technological advantage we get from space.”
Calvelli’s position was created by Congress more than two years ago, but he said he would make up for lost time.
He also described the role he intended to play moving the force toward a more resilient space architecture, to include: taking advantage of diverse orbits, adding new technical capabilities, using smaller, more proliferated satellites, improving space situational awareness, rapid reconstitution, and integrating commercial capabilities.
Calvelli will take over for interim acquisitions chief Brig. Gen. Steven P. Whitney, whose had served in the role since August 2021.