by Sandra Erwin January 18, 2018 (spacenews.com)
• Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan (in photo above) will be taking on the duties of space adviser that previously resided with the secretary of the Air Force, according to a Jan. 17 memorandum sent to Defense Department military and civilian leaders. Shanahan will assume oversight of the military space portfolio that previously resided with the secretary of the Air Force.
• This move, and the Air Force’s recent establishment of a three-star vice commander of Air Force Space Command are the first steps to implementing and embracing congressional direction on changes to the space enterprise, pursuant to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act.
• The National Space Defense Center will be transitioned from an experiment to a functioning command center in support of joint and interagency space capabilities.
• Shanahan will also engage a federally funded think tank not affiliated with the Air Force to study the pros and cons of having a separate military department responsible for the national security space activities of the Department of Defense.
Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan will be taking on the duties of space adviser that previously resided with the secretary of the Air Force, according to a Jan. 17 memorandum sent to Defense Department military and civilian leaders.
In the memo, titled “Guidance for Increasing Lethality and Warfighting Readiness in Space,” Shanahan lists a number of changes that will be made to the management and organization of the national security space enterprise.
The most important shift is Shanahan assuming the oversight of the military space portfolio that previously resided with the secretary of the Air Force. Shanahan’s memo was written in accordance with Section 1601 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018.
In a related action also aimed at complying with NDAA provisions, the Air Force moved to establish a three-star vice commander of Air Force Space Command resident in the National Capital Region.
These are the “first steps to implementing and embracing congressional direction on changes to the space enterprise,” said space industry consultant Mike Tierney, of Jacques & Associates, who reviewed the memo on Thursday.
The memo makes it clear that the Air Force is not losing any of its Title 10 authorities. Title 10 of the U.S. Code provides the legal basis for the roles, missions and organization of each of the military services. “The department of the Air Force will continue to be principally responsible for organizing, training, equipping and presenting ready Air Force space forces to combatant commanders.”
The memo directs immediate implementation of the following changes:
The position and office of the Principal DoD Space Advisor are terminated and the duties responsibilities, personnel and resources of that office will be transferred to Shanahan on an interim basis. Current PDSA Director Dr. John Stopher will lead the staff and report directly to Shanahan.
The commander of Air Force Space Command will serve a term of at least six years and serve as a Joint Functional Component Commander under the commander of U.S. Strategic Command. Air Force Space Command will consult with the DoD chief information officer to “evaluate, develop, and make recommendations on the procurement of commercial satellite communications services and provide any recommendations to the Deputy Secretary of Defense by August 1, 2018.”
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