The initial meeting of a congressionally mandated Space Acquisition Council is expected to occur in late February, space defense officials said Feb. 5.

The Space Acquisition Council was one requirement lawmakers imposed on the Defense Department to stand up the U.S. Space Force, the U.S. military’s sixth branch, on Dec. 20, 2019. Stakeholders on that council are expected to determine what its charter should be, and how its responsibilities might change as the Space Force matures, said Shawn Barnes of the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition and Integration in a Wednesday media briefing at the Pentagon.

The council’s role via-a-vis improving the Defense Department’s space acquisition system will be determined and laid out in a report expected later this spring, he added.

The Space Acquisition Council will be stood up ahead of the selection of a new acquisition executive dedicated to space, Barnes noted, adding that the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that authorized the new Space Force distinguished between a “pre-Service Acquisition Executive” and a “post-Service Acquisition Executive.”

“My focus at this point is on that pre-Service Acquisition Executive timeframe, so the next couple of years,” he said.

Barnes noted that there’s a greater opportunity now with the Space Force stand-up to work more closely with other agencies, such as the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) designates the director of the NRO to sit on the Space Acquisition Council.

Air Force Maj. Gen. Clint Crosier, director of the U.S. Space Force Planning Office, said at the briefing that an NRO officer has been embedded in the stand up of the Office of the Chief of Space Operations since planning officially began to ensure that key areas of commonality were identified.

The initial Space Architecture Enterprise Summit will also occur in February, Barnes previously said. (Defense Daily, Jan. 24). The architecture summit will bring together all stakeholders to address roles and responsibilities for coordinating all U.S. space assets, including the NRO and the Missile Defense Agency, among others.

Space defense officials noted that the initial structure of the Office of the Chief of Space Operations will have three directorates: for human capital and logistics; operations, cyber and intelligence; and plans, programs, requirements and analysis. Air Force Lt. Gen. David “DT” Thompson, vice commander of U.S. Space Force, said that structure is subject to change as there are additional headquarters design efforts to work through.

“But those are certainly leaders and functions that are going to be required in any ultimate future design,” Thompson said. He added that Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett is actively working to identify candidates for this position.