The Senate version of the 2020 National Defence Authorisation Act has proposed a major reorganisation of the office which includes creating a separate office for the Space Force. The legislation would break up the office of the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition and reassign space programs to a new organisation, according to SpaceNews.
The new organisation would be led by a principle assistant to the secretary of the Air Force for space acquisition and integration.
The new bill argues that a separate acquisition executive is needed for the Space Force.
This executive would give space programs more attention and ensure that a singular person is accountable for their performance.
Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Will Roper said he understand’s the Senate’s motivation but believes a new acquisition organisation could create more problems.
He told SpaceNews that he was “really sympathetic” to Congress’ desire for better performance.
However, he also said moving space programs to their own office could add unnecessary cost and leaf to inefficiency.
Currently, Mr Roper’s staff have several hundred contracting experts, lawyers and engineers working on both the space and air programs.
Staff roughly handle 25,000 program decisions every year.
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The only other alternative is to hire hundreds of new staff just for the space program but this could be very costly.
Another reason Mr Roper believes space and air should not be split up is that some of the Air Force’s next-generation weapon systems are being designed so they can receive data from space.
The programs that include next-generation systems are called “multi-domain programs”.
Multi-domain programs need to have a tight interdependence between both Air Force and Space Force programs.
Mr Roper added that their relationship is detrimental to the multi-domain programs.
He said: “We see a need for architectures that span air and space.
“A single approach to communications and networking, and a consistent data architecture.”
An example of one of these multi-domain programs is the Advanced Battle Management System that would feed data to all weapons.
Another example is the Next-Generation Air Dominance program that will help develop new aircraft.
Mr Roper said the programs require a shared enterprise cloud.
He added: “That is necessary for their success, and having two separate acquisition executives would make it tough for these programs.”