It’s been more than four years since the Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization published its report calling for a “number of organizational changes to achieve greater responsibility and accountability for space issues.”
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PETERSON AFB, Colo. – It’s been more than four years since the Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization published its report calling for a “number of organizational changes to achieve greater responsibility and accountability for space issues.”
The report formed conclusions and recommendations based on five main areas: space interests need to be recognized as a top national security priority, ensure space programs earn and attract required funding, intelligence and defense communities need to work together to set and maintain the course for national security programs, the U.S. needs to develop the needed capabilities to maintain and ensure space superiority and finally, the government needs to play a deliberate role in expanding the pool of military and civilian talent in science, engineering and systems operations.
In that time period, Air Force Space Command has made several changes as the lead agency for space. Probably the most visible change occurred when AFSPC separated from CINCSPACE and started being led by a single-hatted commander.
“We’ve gone past the three-hat business and on to organizing, training and equipping the force 24/7/365,” said General Lance. W. Lord, commander, AFSPC. “We’re working hard at putting the total force of the MAJCOM behind our space and ICBM efforts.”
Those efforts have included modifying and organizing the headquarters to present space capabilities to combatant commanders and aligning the Space and Missile Systems Center under the command.
The modification was in response to the addition of acquisition processes and career development.
The SMC realignment was completed Oct. 1, 2001, while maintaining a formal relationship between AFSPC and AFMC through a supported-supporting relationships memorandum of agreement.
Another development is in response to the commission report calling for the Air Force to “create and sustain a cadre of space professionals.” The command focused on a path for developing professionals who, through focused and purposeful development, will prosper in the design, integration, acquisition, operation and sustainment of current, emerging and future space systems.
The space professional strategy is capabilities based, focused on the skills and competencies needed by the command’s credentialed space professionals to deliver space power for the nation. The team will be skilled and knowledgeable in the development, application and integration of space concepts, doctrine and capabilities to achieve national security objectives.
“Whether you’re on the ICBM or the space side of our business, you need to understand what we are talking about. We’ve developed the tools and forums to teach you as you progress from the tactical to the operational and strategic levels of our business,” said General Lord.
One of those fora is the National Security Space Institute. The institute, which stood up in October 2004, is the Department of Defense’s single focal point for space education and training, complementing existing space training and education programs at Air University, the Naval Postgraduate School, the Air Force Institute of Technology, and at various Air Education and Training Command locations.
“Through extensive space education and training programs, the NSSI will help shape and create the growing team of space professionals across the DOD and other stakeholder government communities,” said Lt. Col. Ed Fienga, AFSPC Space Professional Management Office.
In addition to the space professional courses, such as Space 200, the NSSI also retained the “legacy” and space application to joint warfighting courses taught by the Space Operations School.
Also proceeding at the pace of a near-Earth perigee is the acquisition of the new Space Badge. Recognizing the heritage and focusing on the increasingly critical contributions space systems and space professionals offer the nation; General Lord has commissioned a distinct new space badge that will replace the existing space and missile occupational badge, as well as the functional badge, or “pocket rocket,” worn by missileers. In addition, since the ranks of the Credentialed Space Professional Community include many scientists, engineers and program managers from the acquisition community, they, too, will earn the new badge.
“Now more than ever, our nation’s security relies on space dominance,” said Colonel Fienga. “In that spirit, it is indeed time for the Community of Credentialed Space Professionals to become as singularly recognizable as our other warfighting components.”
The Institute of Heraldry recently received the work order to cast the die for the new badge. The new badge and award criteria should be available through Military Clothing and Sales outlets by late fall, with an expected wear date shortly thereafter.