Armed Forces News

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan’s directive for the formation of a separate Space Development Agency (SDA) within the Defense Department focuses on establishment of a permanent surveillance presence, aimed at deterring and defeating potential adversaries.
“The SDA will … accelerate the development and fielding of new military space capabilities necessary to ensure our technological and military advantage in space for national defense,” Shanahan said in a March 12 memorandum to senior Pentagon leadership.
A senior civilian executive would lead the new agency, which would unify the development of military space capabilities in every arena except for military intelligence. The agency would be responsible for developing a unified approach to space defense and reduction of redundancy. Additionally, SDA would serve as the point of contact for industry and international partners who share a common interest in thwarting potential foes in the space arena.
Pending congressional approval and funding, the Defense Department will proceed with transition decisions that “will occur through the normal processes once SDA transfers to the U.S. Space Force,” Shanahan wrote.
In an addendum to the memorandum, Shanahan described how actions by China and Russia “suggest that they will attempt to deny, degrade or destroy U.S. space capabilities, and are designing strategic and tactical hypersonic weapons that are not easily detected, identified, or tracked by legacy National Security Space systems.”
Existing Pentagon organizations lack the architecture large enough to meet this challenge, Shanahan said.
In time, the agency will deploy a layer of sensors and communications platforms into a layer that would consist of commercially available equipment whenever practicable. The layer would supply alternate positioning, navigation and timing information to “all validated joint, inter-agency and allied users regardless of location.”
The network ultimately would be sufficiently resilient to resist attack, deter adversaries and win a fight when necessary.