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McAleese & Associates: Patrick Shanahan on Space Development Agency’s Acquisition Authority

Jim McAleese

Consulting firm McAleese & Associates has issued a report on key takeaways from the testimonies of Department of Defense and Air Force officials at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing held Thursday.

Jim McAleese, founder and principal at McAleese & Associates and a 2019 Wash100 recipient, wrote in the report that the Senate hearing focused on the new Space Force and its recruiting and training mission.

Patrick Shanahan

Acting DoD Secretary Patrick Shanahan highlighted the need to speed up the space acquisition process by transitioning new space procurement authority into the Space Development Agency and modeling the authority after the Missile Defense Agency.

Shanahan noted about DoD’s plan to update its space constellation amid the growth of the $1T commercial low-Earth orbit space market.

According to the report, the Space and Missile Systems Center under Air Force Space Command will continue to oversee legacy space acquisition programs, while SDA will handle next-generation satellite communications and Earth observation initiatives, including the space-based sensor layer.

“SDA is specifically intended to slash bureaucratic red tape to procure commercial LEO constellations,” McAleese wrote in the report.

Shanahan said SDA will help consolidate future architecture requirements, oversee fundamental systems engineering and facilitate access to commercial LEO constellations with a streamlined acquisition authority.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Gen. John Hyten, commander of Strategic Command; and Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson also testified at the Senate hearing.

Shanahan and Wilson are both 2019 Wash100 winners.

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