Decision-making authority for several major U.S. Air Force programs, including the Global Positioning System (GPS) III satellite constellation and the KC-46A tanker, shifted from the Pentagon’s acquisition chief to the service last week, according to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson.

Other programs transferred to the Air Force Nov. 30 include the Defense Enterprise Accounting and Management System Increment 1, the Family of Advanced Beyond Line-of-Sight Terminal (FAB-T), the Integrated Strategic Planning and Analysis Network Increments 4 and 5, the Military GPS User Equipment Increment 1 and the Three-Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar.

Artist's rendering of a GPS III satellite. Image: Lockheed Martin.
Artist’s rendering of a GPS III satellite. Image: Lockheed Martin.

The move is the latest in a series of transfers that Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (AT&L) Ellen Lord is making to comply with the fiscal year 2016 defense authorization act, which calls for shifting milestone decision authority to the services.

Wilson, who testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee Dec. 7, said the Air Force now has decision authority for 76 percent of its major programs, up from 39 percent before the congressional mandate took effect.

“This allows us to reach key decision points and field capabilities to the warfighter faster because there are fewer levels of review involved in each decision,” Wilson told the committee.

Wilson said the GPS III transfer saved the Air Force three months in its effort to buy a second block of satellites. The Air Force this month plans to release a final request for proposals for the follow-on production (Defense Daily, Nov. 27).

The Air Force is working with AT&L to obtain oversight of more programs for “which we are well-suited to execute,” Wilson said. In October, Lord said that joint, high-risk and “high-stakes” programs would likely stay with her office (Defense Daily, Oct. 11).

Other programs that AT&L already has transferred to the Air Force include the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) Follow-on, Protected Satellite Communications Services-Aggregated, Mid-Term Polar Satellite Communications, Military GPS User Equipment Increment 2, B-52 Radar Modernization, Protected Tactical Enterprise Service and Advanced Pilot Trainer.