The ground system is “by far” the most vulnerable portion of the Air Force’s space architecture and that concerns a key service official.
Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for Space and Principal DoD Space Advisor Winston Beauchamp said Friday the Air Force has “way too many” separate ground control systems as the result of tacking on ground control systems as part of developing space programs. He said, as a result, the Air Force received separate stovepiped ground systems for every space mission element.
Beauchamp said even subsequent generations of the same system would often have a separate ground system. He said this approach may make for clean program management during development, but it leads to a “patchwork quilt” on the ground.
In response, Beauchamp said the Air Force initiated an effort to do three things: consolidate existing ground systems into an enterprise ground, leverage industry through outsourcing of command and control (C2) when possible and prudent and retrain and retool the space mission force to be able to operate in the threat environment and react accordingly.
The Air Force is in the initial stages of creating Enterprise Ground Services (EGS), a single, unified satellite ground system architecture that will harness open systems to exercise C2 during conflict that may extend to space. The service may base EGS on a cloud computing model to help sustain satellite operations through potential conflict, but this is still to be decided. The Air Force also wants to own the technical baseline and open EGS to competition for future increments (Defense Daily, Sept. 11).
Beauchamp’s remarks came at a Peter Huessy breakfast series event on Capitol Hill.