Executive Planning

Still unresolved is whether the Air Force will regain milestone decision authority for Defense Department space programs as part of USAF’s role as DOD’s executive agent for space. However, the newly announced realignment of USAF’s headquarters-level space functions was designed in part to strengthen the service’s ability to execute that authority should the Office of the Secretary of Defense return it. “[T]his structure will posture us to accommodate any future decisions on the roles and functions of the EA for space,” wrote Air Force Secretary Michael Donley in the memo that he issued last week discussing the oversight changes. OSD stripped the Air Force of milestone decision authority back in 2005 during a period when USAF had several senior leadership vacancies and was facing space acquisition challenges. Donley has gone on the record, saying he’d like to see the authority returned. Discussions are ongoing. Donley said he’s “very encouraged by the collaborative process” with OSD so far. (Donley memo) (For more background, see Drifting in Space from the Air Force Magazine archives.)