SMC Unveils New Launch Systems Enterprise Directorate

The Air Force has brought its Launch Systems Directorate and the Rocket Systems Launch Program together for a new directorate: the Launch Systems Enterprise Directorate, according to a release. The new entity officially stood up Oct. 14 in a ceremony at Los Angeles AFB, Calif. Claire Leon, who will lead the new directorate, said her priorities are to continue to focus on mission success, continue to provide assured access to space, transition from using Russian-made RD-180 engines, and to reintroduce competition into the launch process. “Until today, the Air Force has procured and executed space launch capabilities through two separate organizations,” said Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, the Air Force’s program executive officer for space and commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center. “This created the potential for ambiguity among our stakeholders and a disconnect in our acquisition strategy,” he said. “This realignment will not only advance our capability development, but will feed into the next generation of SMC’s space systems and into architectural baselines for decades to come.” The new directorate’s mission is to be the “guardian of assured access: launching when and where the nation needs it,” according to the release.