Welcome to December! We hope you had a relaxing Thanksgiving break. After taking a week off from the newsletter, there's a lot to catch up on.
Our top story details how Space Force acquisition will be biased toward procuring all capabilities as a service, including satellite imagery, weather forecasting, and space data analytics.
- The DoD's newest service shows potential for creating a 21st-century approach to acquisition, being less obligated to follow the traditional model of developing military-unique hardware and software.
Yesterday, DoD announced the establishment of a new Office of Strategic Capital (OSC), providing one solution for the funding valley of death.
- The OSC will connect private capital to companies using loans, development funds, sidestepping acquisition-based tools such as grants and contracts.
- This weekend, SEDEF Austin will be in California with (at least) two related items on his agenda: signing a letter of intent to partner OSC with the Small Business Administration, and to give the keynote address at the Reagan National Defense Forum on Saturday.
Secretary Austin also made news this week by sending a letter to Congress admonishing them to pass a full budget for all federal agencies, with evidence of the costs incurred by not doing so.
- He estimates a loss of over $3 billion a month for the DoD under the CR tied to the inability to start new efforts including R&D, procurement, nuclear modernization, ship construction, and infrastructure investments.
- To drive his point home, he notes that Congress has quickly provided funds to support Ukraine and should feel the same urgency and commitment to "our broader national security needs."
DoD has released the annual assessment of the People's Republic of China's Military Power.
- The report shows a familiar trajectory continuing in line with the PRC's goals.
- One of these goals is "dual circulation," a policy to reduce reliance on foreign supply chains.
- Related, the PRC's industrial base is producing quality missiles and aircraft engines, and the PRC produces the most ships in the world.
Today brings an exciting good news story that shows the U.S. is leading the charge to create sixth generation aircraft: the B-21 Raider stealth bomber will be revealed in California.
- This aircraft has been developed with digital engineering, drastically reducing time to production.
In research, Greg Sanders and Alexander Holderness at CSIS offer some analysis of the impact of high inflation on contractors based on data from the 1980s.
- The findings suggest decent resilience for both large and small contractors, but for different reasons.
In ARP and NPS research news, we bring you a recent student thesis that crafts an "atlas for navigating the [defense] innovation ecosystem," using the case study of acquiring hybrid airships to illustrate how DoD can best work with commercial innovators and business models.
Finally, there's an update on how NPS professor Sam Buttrey fared on Jeopardy!
- His previous loss wasn't the end of his time in the Tournament of Champions. He finished in the number three spot.
- Congratulations, Sam!
This Week's Top Story
New Space Force procurement shop subscribes to the space-as-a-service model
Sandra Erwin, Space News
A new office within the Space Force’s procurement command will buck traditional military programs by only buying technologies that the space industry provides as a service.
“With so many new capabilities being provided by industry, commercial services are taking off in ways that we never probably imagined just a few years ago,” said Brig. Gen. Timothy Sejba, program executive officer for space domain awareness and combat power at the Space Systems Command.
The command’s Commercial Services Office, known as COMSO, was established earlier this year amid fears that the military is missing out on proven and promising technologies due to procurement bottlenecks and a culture that tilts toward developing government-owned systems.
“We need to figure out how do we go and buy not just satellite communications but things like space domain awareness — and other capabilities that are being turned into services — that we might want to leverage both in peacetime and certainly in time of conflict,” Sejba said Oct. 19 at the Space Industry Days conference in Los Angeles.