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Debate Over a New Space Corps Continues

After discussing the power of the National Defense Authorization Act, from spurring small business procurement to elevating Cyber Command to a Unified Combatant Command status, EZGovOpps is now covering another major change in the DOD structure that could be implemented in the FY18 NDAA: the creation of a brand-new military branch known as the Space Corps.

Personnel in protective  suits conduct checks on the US Air Force's first unmanned re-entry spacecraft.

Personnel in protective suits conduct checks on the US Air Force’s first unmanned re-entry spacecraft. (via DOD)

After using the FY17 NDAA to elevate Cyber Command, the House Armed Services Committee moved in June 2017 to move control of space missions currently under US Air Force command to a new military branch: the Space Corps. This would be a major change to the structure of the DOD and Air Force, and in turn, the procurement operations of those organizations. While the NDAA provision passed in the House of Representatives, the FY18 NDAA has yet to be passed in the Senate and much like a controversial provision banning Kasperky products from DOD networks, the Space Corps idea is causing debate in many circles involved in the process.

Under the provision set out in the NDAA, the Space Corps would operate “in much the same way the Marine Corps operates as a service within the Department of the Navy,” as a branch within the US Air Force but with a leader equal in rank to the Air Force Chief of Staff, adding another position to the Joint Chiefs of Staff which currently numbers at 7 seats, and a mission which is separate from the core responsibilities of the Air Force. This is similar to last year’s NDAA move that elevated CYBERCOM. Much like CYBERCOM, some see the space domain as the next operational weak point for the US military, as well as a commercial responsibility for running programs like GPS which distracts the Air Force from it’s main mission of air superiority and support for the warfighter.

Recognizing the need to “integrate, normalize and elevate space operations in the Air Force,” the Air Force did create a new Space Operations Directorate which will be lead by a Deputy Air Force Chief of Staff. However, elevating space operations to a branch-level Space Corps has been met with opposition from military leaders in the Air Force, as well as the Secretary of Defense, who believe the ever-growing importance of the space domain means that it should receive more funding, not more bureaucracy in the form of a brand-new command structure for the Space Corps.

Space-based solutions are continuing to gain market space in Federal contracting. With the creation of the Earth Observations Solutions Special Item Number (SIN) for GIS services on IT Schedule 70, and companies like SpaceX gaining traction in what has traditionally been an arena of limited competition, a dedicated organization for space operations would solidify the growth of these new contracting opportunities and the importance of the domain in the future.

Interested in learning more about the Federal agencies mentioned above, or tracking specific procurement opportunities? Sign up for a free trial with EZGovOpps. As the premiere market intelligence platform, EZGovOpps can provide the information needed to follow procurement trends, produce personalized opportunity forecasts, and provide custom analyst-updates for a complete understanding of the Federal contracting market today.

Don’t forget to view our full GovCon News section for more intel.


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