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WASHINGTON — The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — an organization known for its unconventional approach to solving military problems — has been tasked to help the Pentagon figure out how to organize a new agency focused on space technology development.
The task came from Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Mike Griffin, a staunch advocate of creating a Space Development Agency to spur innovation in military space programs and bring emerging technologies from the private sector into DoD. Griffin has been a vocal critic of the Pentagon's traditional procurement process and has warned that adversaries like China and Russia are advancing space technology at a much more rapid pace than the United States.
Dec - Memo - Space - Development - Agency
In a Dec. 6 memo titled, "Space Development Agency Study Team Direction and Tasking," Griffin directed Fred Kennedy, director of DARPA's Tactical Technology Office, to lead a study team and come up with recommendations for the "implementation of the Space Development Agency." [What Is the U.S. Space Force?]
A DoD source shared the contents of the memo with SpaceNews. The memo was sent to key leaders across the department, including the secretaries of the military services, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Strategic Command, as well as the director of the National Reconnaissance Office.
Kennedy - Lot - Time - Study - Effort
Kennedy was not given a lot of time to complete the study. "I expect this effort will require 45 to 60 days," Griffin wrote. The DARPA team has to provide an "interim progress report" within 30 days to Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and the space governance committee. The committee is overseeing a DoD space reorganization to comply with President Trump's directive to establish a new military branch. The Space Development Agency was first mentioned in an August 9 report that Congress mandated in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018.
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