Air Force on its Space Programs

The Air Force Officials talked about their incessant emphasis on the space-related missions. The function of developing and sending the satellites into the orbit is going on at a rapid pace. As per Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch Jr., who serve the office of assistant secretary of the Air Force as a military deputy for acquisition, expressed his intentions of speeding up the acquisition process. He also made it clear that Airforce is going ahead with its mission on Space. The method of creating a distinct branch for space would be thorough, inclusive and deliberative. He also mentioned it to the airmen that expecting instant advancement and changes would not be right. Instead, the force should concentrate and carry on increasing the warfighting abilities.

On the contrary, the chairman of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces, Mike Rogers, bashed Air Force’s acquisition procedure to be sluggish, he believes to have the space programs under a different management structure.  Russia and China are evolving anti-satellite weapons and related space warfare technologies at a fast pace. Due to which the US feels insecure about depriving itself of remaining dominant in the entry in space.

For Bunch, Air Force is changing the procurement being dedicated to speed things up by assigning the authorities for the same. Heather Wilson, the Air Force secretary, has instructed the buyers and program managers in removing layers of bureaucracy, unraveling the paperwork and accelerating the contracting procedure.  

But there is lack of industry competition. 

Air Force depends on a small nucleus of contractors in the field of satellite programs. The single company, Lockheed Martin, specialized in Global Positioning System Navigation satellites that showed its interest during the Pentagon competitive bidding.  Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman monopoly gave Lockheed the contract for the geostationary orbit satellites, and Northrop acquired the polar orbit satellites. 

Airforce has always gained from the market competition, but there are hardly any competitors in the GPS and next-gen missile warning satellite system. Also, Air Force affirms that they can achieve ‘fair pricing’ from the incumbent contractors due to the background experience of working with such technologies and companies. Specific industries have expressed their disappointment with Air Force writing the requirements of the program in inclination towards the incumbents where industries blame Air Force for the blockades and glitches for newcomers around the defense market, Air Force denies the condemnation. Air Force is sure that open systems approach can be improved and be practiced in space and other programmes as well.