Embracing Space Innovation

A Look at Agile Acquisition in National Security Space

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The responsibility of the U.S. military in National Security Space (NSS) is clear: to protect and safeguard American assets and to maintain superiority in the “high ground” of Space for the purpose of ensuring the defense of the nation’s interests both on Earth and in Space. While U.S. innovations in NSS have led the world in Space over the previous six decades, it is not immediately clear how innovation will factor into this journey as we move forward to the more-resilient and more-effective space architecture called for in the 2018 National Space Strategy. As our adversaries have demonstrated implementation of new technologies in three- to four-year timeframes, the U.S. is challenged to change 60 years of deeply-rooted acquisition approaches to respond to these emerging threats on an equal or faster timeline.

Alternative approaches for rapid acquisition and solution delivery — OTAs, NDAA section 804, SMC 2.0, SDA, RCO, etc. — as well as partnerships critical to scaling pilot programs into enterprise initiatives are still being tested. The consequences of failure at these efforts are unacceptable.

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