The US space force will launch more integrated units to boost efficiency

As the US Space Force sees positive results from its module integration experiment, the agency is now weeks away from announcing plans to expand the model beyond the pilot phase, according to the head of the Space Operations Command.

“We are having discussions about this with the head of the agency. He will decide who the next candidates are to do that,” Lt. Gen. David Miller told reporters at a Feb. 27 briefing.

Space Operations Chief Gen. Chance Salzman announced the service in September would pilot a complete mission delta construct as a way to better align responsibility, authority and resources across mission areas. The idea is a departure from the service’s current unit structure, which separates operations, sustainment and acquisition into separate commands.

The Space Force chose positioning, navigation and timing or PNT, as well as electronic warfare as the first two mission areas to test the idea.

Miller said the agency is analyzing lessons from the first months of the effort and made recommendations to Salzman about which mission areas should be included in the next phase. He would not discuss his proposal with reporters and did not reveal the timing of an announcement, but said to expect more details “in the coming weeks.”

“You can imagine my recommendations are pretty aggressive,” Miller said. “But we’ll go with whoever the head of the agency is and the [Air Force secretary] decide.”

Since implementing the build, the integrated PNT and electronic warfare mission deltas have seen significant performance improvements, according to Miller – surpassing test milestones and field capabilities in “record time.” For the PNT, he said, the group has demonstrated the ability to quickly deal with outages now that its commander has authority over all system maintenance and upkeep, which would previously have been in a separate command.

While the model has worked well for those two mission areas, and Miller expects the same in other areas, he noted that the integrated approach may not be right for all skill sets. Some, for example, may not be designed to present combat forces and so would function better under a single delta with a more focused scope of responsibility.

“I don’t think that in any and every case that you’re going to see an IMD or Integrated Mission Delta, it’s a requirement,” he said. “Some of these deltas don’t need it.”

Courtney Albon is C4ISRNET’s space and emerging technology reporter. Covers the US military since 2012, with a focus on the Air Force and Space Force. He has addressed some of the DoD’s most significant acquisition, budget and policy challenges.

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