The Air Force will open three national security space launches to competition in Fiscal 2016 and three in Fiscal 2017. By Fiscal 2018 all 18 planned national security space launches will be open to competition, Maj. Gen. Roger Teague, director of space programs in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Acquisition, told reporters at the Pentagon on Feb. 6. “We are satisfying the terms of the contract we have with [United Launch Alliance] while doing the best we can, maximizing competitive opportunities,” Teague said during USAF’s Fiscal 2016 space budget brief. The Air Force is “very, very near” completion of the SpaceX certification program, added Teague, who said he remains optimistic the process will be completed by mid-year. Teague said Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles AFB, Calif., meets with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on “a regular, weekly basis” and that the Air Force has invested 150 people and $73 million towards the company’s certification and increased competition in launch bids.
These are the complete remarks by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III at the Reagan National Defense Forum, Dec. 3, 2022, in Simi Valley, Calif.