US Space Force Unveils Highly Anticipated Commercial Space Strategy

The United States Space Force points to growing threats in space in its report detailing its new Commercial Space Strategy.

The document serves as a companion to the DoD’s Commercial Space Integration Strategy released on April 2, Aaron Mehta reports in Breaking Defense.

Download: U.S. Space Force Commercial Strategy

“We will leverage American industrial strength to counter threats to our advantages in space; we owe it to American forces putting their lives on the line, to American businesses developing solutions to outpace the adversary, and to the American taxpayers expecting us to get the most out of their dollar,” Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman and Frank Calvelli, assistant secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition, said in a news release.

Space Symposium 2024

Delivering the keynote speech during Space Symposium 2024, Saltzman said the USSF has grown comfortable leveraging commercial entities but has not effectively integrated them, according to DefenseScoop.

“The Commercial Space Strategy is not a panacea,” he said. “It does not provide all the answers, but I do think it frames the discussion that must take place.”

He said the strategy lays down the rules for productive collaboration, and “it starts with critical processes needed to accelerate the purposeful pursuit of hybrid space architectures.”

Decision Criteria

In line with DoD policy, the Space Force says it will use four criteria to inform decision making relating to commercial space solutions:

  • Operational Utility: “Does the capability, good, service, or activity provide a capability or requirement needed, in part or in whole, for USSF operations in support of a Joint or Combined campaign?”
  • Feasibility: Is the cost to acquire and exploit the capability, good, service, or activity of
  • sufficient value and at a cost level that the USSF is prepared to resource?
  • Resilience by Design: “Does the capability, good, service, or activity contribute to resilience and secure an enduring competitive advantage?”
  • Speed to Fielding: “Does the timeline to effective use of the capability, good, service, or activity provide an advantage in enabling operations or counteracting a threat?”

Priority Areas

Mission areas for commercial support will be broken down into the following domains:

  • Space Domain Awareness (SDA)
  • Satellite Communications (SATCOM)
  • Space Access, Mobility, and Logistics (SAML)
  • Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR)/Tactical, Surveillance
  • Reconnaissance, and Tracking (TacSRT)
  • Space-based Environmental Monitoring (SBEM)
  • Cyberspace Operations
  • Command and Control (C2)
  • Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT)

The Space Force will also seek hybrid solutions, called Space Mission Enablers, that span multiple areas.

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