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Space Force seeks greater autonomy in report to Congress

Space Force seeks greater autonomy in report to Congress
Gen. Jay Raymond (R), chief of space pperations, presents the the official flag of the Space Force at the White House on May 15. Photo by Samuel Corum/UPI | License Photo

May 22 (UPI) -- The U.S. Space Force has requested flexibility from Congress to purchase and use satellites, saying it needs more agility to keep pace with adversaries.

A 23-page report to Congress from the U. S.Air Force, the current parent of the Space Force, explains an "alternative acquisition system" for the Space Force.

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The report, released this week, envisions an overhaul of the tools needed to acquire new space hardware, with less reporting to Congress, allowing it to operate with more agility in the face of completion from other countries.

Congress mandated a retooling of the Space Force acquisition system when it created the new branch of the military in December.

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It was an acknowledgement that government bureaucracy is causing the United States to fall behind in space dominance in a new race for dominance in space, and regular channels for authorizing purchases and actions have become cumbersome.

"Reducing space portfolio constraints via incremental funding," or expanded ability to pay for space systems without regular oversight or constant requests for congressional approval, is a constant in the report. It adds that the delay between identification of a need, and a go-ahead from Congress, adds to costs of programs.

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"The features outlined in this report will create a new space acquisition approach for the USSF that is the envy of all other services and ultimately enables the USSF to rapidly leverage industry innovation to outpace space threats," the report said.

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This week's actions by the Space Force came after the Air Force submitted a report in March on whether the military should change its acquisitions procedures.

It did not mention the Space Force, and Space Force officials have said they regard their own report as "groundbreaking" in its scope. It includes nine specific proposals to improve contracting but does not include ideas to unify the several government agencies which purchase and maintain satellites for the intelligence community.

Three of the proposals require action from Congress,while the rest involve procedural changes within the Defense Department.

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The most significant of the nine calls for the consolidation of budget line items along general mission classes, such as missile warning or communications, instead of by other classifications.

The adjustment would mark a change from standard Defense Department budgeting practices.

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