DoD Laying Groundwork For Faster Action In Space, General Says

The Department of Defense is trying to speed up the fielding of new space capabilities, but it is too early to say whether that effort will bear fruit, the head of U.S. Strategic Command said March 20.

DoD and the Air Force have both assembled teams of leaders who believe in moving more quickly in space, Air Force Gen. John Hyten testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee. 

Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command. Photo: U.S. Air Force.

Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command. Photo: U.S. Air Force.

In addition, the Trump administration’s fiscal year 2019 budget request, which proposes an 18 percent funding increase for space, “lays the groundwork for going fast” in space, Hyten said.

But according to the general, DoD and the Air Force still need to turn those desires into reality.

“I see good signs,” Hyten testified. “But … we haven’t done it yet. We haven’t proven to anybody that we can go fast again.”

Hyten has frequently criticized DoD’s acquisition process as too slow, saying the United States needs to recapture its ability to modernize quickly to stay ahead of advancing threats.

“We used to be able to do that,” he said. “We need to be able to do it again. We can do it again. But we have to get out of our own way.”

Hyten also testified that he does not believe the time is right for creating a space corps or space force, as some lawmakers have proposed. But he said he expects such an entity will be created someday.

DoD is conducting a congressionally mandated study on whether it is properly organized for space (Defense Daily, March 16). In addition, the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center is working on several efforts to speed up its acquisition of satellites and other equipment (Defense Daily, Nov. 2, 2017).

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