NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The Air Force is working with the Pentagon to shape its future space acquisition architecture, and the service’s next budget request will include a proposal for a new Space Force, service Secretary Heather Wilson said Monday.
The service last week delivered a proposal on the responsibilities and structure of a new military branch dedicated to space to Pentagon leadership, as the department moves ahead with plans to implement President Trump’s vision, she said during her keynote speech at the Air Force Association’s annual Air, Space and Cyber Conference here.
“As airmen, we have a responsibility to develop a proposal for the president that is bold and that carries out his vision,” she said. “In February when the president sends the fiscal year 2020 budget to the Congress, it will include a proposal for a new military department.”
That proposal must “deepen the already close connection between military space and the space elements of the intelligence community,” she added.
Although a new Space Force will require legislative approval, the Air Force is currently implementing steps laid out in the Pentagon’s final report to Congress on the Space Force, released Aug. 9. (Defense Daily, Aug. 9)
The service is currently restructuring the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) to buy systems more quickly and efficiently, Wilson said. The roadmap proposes for the SMC to become a “space development agency.”
The Air Force is also working with members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under the guidance of the secretary of defense and the Trump administration to establish and support a unified combatant command for space, she added. It is also using the Space Rapid Capabilities Office — established in the fiscal year 2018 (FY‘18) National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) — to continue to accelerate programs of “high national priorities,” she said.