Report to Congress on How to Create a U.S. Space Force

August 31, 2018 11:02 AM

The following is the Aug. 16, 2018 Congressional Research Service In Focus brief, Toward the Creation of a U.S. ‘Space Force.’

From the report:

For over two decades, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and others have found that fragmentation and overlap in national security space acquisition management and oversight have contributed to program delays and cancellations, cost increases, and inefficient operations. Congress has attempted numerous organizational and acquisition reforms to address these problems. In the view of many observers, these efforts have generally been unsuccessful.

In addition to these perceived managerial deficits, Congress has more recently expressed concern over the slow pace with which the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Air Force have addressed the growing threat to U.S. national security in space from adversaries, particularly Russia and China, and to a lesser extent North Korea and Iran. Some in the military and elsewhere now increasingly refer to space as a “warfighting domain”; once seen as peaceful and uncontested, space is now viewed as crowded and adversarial.

Generally, House Members have led the effort to remove institutional barriers to space acquisition reform by advocating for the creation of a new entity for national security space. Until recently, the Senate largely favored efforts to reform existing organizations rather than authorize new ones. However, as part of the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) deliberations, both chambers passed (and the President signed) legislation that authorized the creation of a subordinate unified command known as the U.S. Space Command (under the U.S. Strategic Command). The reorganization was intended to address long-standing concerns related to space acquisition management and sharpen DOD’s strategic focus on space.


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