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  • Joshua Duvall

The (Space) Force Awakens

Last night, the President signed the National Defense Authorization Act ("NDAA") for Fiscal Year 2020 at Joint Base Andrews. The 2020 NDAA creates the the U.S. Space Force, the sixth branch of the U.S. military.  The Space Force is America's first new military service since the passing of the National Security Act of 1947, which created the U.S. Air Force from the U.S. Army Air Corps.


Given that the creation of the Space Force will have a major impact on National defense spending and government contracting, I have highlighted some of the relevant provisions in the 2020 NDAA to provide clarity on the establishment of America's newest military service.


Note:  Congress approved $40 million for Space Force operations for FY2020.


Subtitle D—United States Space Force


Sec. 951

Designating this subtitle of the NDAA as the "United States Space Force Act"


Sec. 952

Redesignated Air Force Space Command as the U.S. Space Force ("USSF") as a department within the Department of the Air Force.


The Space Force shall be organized, trained, and equipped to provide:


  • freedom of operation for the United States in, from, and to space

  • prompt and sustained space operations


Duties:


  • protect U.S. interests in space

  • deter aggression in, from, and to space

  • prompt and sustained space operations


Sec. 953

Chief of Space Operations to be appointed by the President


Sec. 954

Establishing a Space Force Acquisition Council within the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force

  • "The Council shall oversee, direct, and manage acquisition and integration of the Air Force for space systems and programs in order to ensure integration across the national security space enterprise."


Sec. 955

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy

  • "The principal duty of the Assistant Secretary shall be the overall supervision of policy of the Department of Defense for space warfighting."


Sec. 956

Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition and Integration

  • ​Responsible for "all architecture and integration of the Air Force for space systems and programs, including in support of the Chief of Space Operations under section 9082 of this title."


Sec. 957

Service Acquisition Executive of the Department of the Air Force for Space Systems and Programs

  • Separate:  "The Service Acquisition Executive for Space Systems and Programs shall be in addition to the service acquisition executive in the Department of the Air Force for all acquisition matters of the Department of the Air Force other than with respect to space systems and programs."


Sec. 958

Conforming amendments and clarification of authorities


Unless otherwise excepted,

  • "a member of the Space Force shall be treated as a member of the Air Force for the purpose of the application of any provision of law, including provisions of law relating to pay, benefits, and retirement"

  • "a civilian employee of the Space Force shall be treated as a civilian employee of the Air Force for the purpose of the application of any provision of law, including provisions of law relating to pay, benefits, and retirement."


Sec. 959

Effects on Military Installations

  • "Nothing in this subtitle, or the amendments made by this subtitle, shall be construed to authorize or require the relocation of any facility, infrastructure, or military installation of the Air Force."


Sec. 960

Availability of Funds


Sec. 961

Implementation

  • "Except as specifically provided by this subtitle, the Secretary of the Air Force shall implement this subtitle, and the amendments made by this subtitle, by not later than 18 months after the date of the enactment of this Act."

  • "Not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and every 60 days thereafter until March 31, 2023, the Secretary of the Air Force and the Chief of Space Operations shall jointly provide to the congressional defense committees a briefing on the status of the implementation of the Space Force pursuant to this subtitle and the amendments made by this subtitle."


Additional Information


SpacePolicyOnline – With Creation of Space Force Just a Signature Away, What Happens Next

  • "Congress and Secretary of Defense (SecDef) Mark Esper seem to be taking a cautious approach. The NDAA requires that the Secretary of the Air Force establish Space Force within 18 months of the bill’s enactment — which means not until summer 2021. The final version of the FY2020 Defense Appropriations bill, which passed the House today and is expected to clear the Senate this week, provides only $40 million for Space Force. That is about half the $72.4 million requested."

SpaceNews – Trump signs defense bill establishing U.S. Space Force: What comes next?

  • "WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Dec. 20 signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020. The bill creates the U.S. Space Force as the sixth branch of the U.S. armed forces. Trump signed the NDAA flanked by top defense and military officials at a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland."


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#govconjudicata #govcon #spaceforce