DARPA, an organization known for its eccentric approach to solving military issues, has been assigned with the project to help Pentagon set up and organize a development of space technology-based agency.
The task was intended with the support of Deputy Defense Minister for Research and Engineering, Mike Griffin, a strong advocate for the creation of a space agency for innovation in military space programs and bridges the latest technologies available in private sector with DoD. Griffin criticized the Pentagon’s traditional buying process and warned that opponents such as Russia and China continue to use space technology at a much faster pace than the US.
In a memo titled “Direction and Tasks of the Space Agency Study Team Direction and Tasking” on December 6, Griffin asked Fred Kennedy, director of Tactical Technology Office of DARPA, to lead a research team and present a proposal for execution of the space development agency.
A DoD source shared the memo’s content with SpaceNews. The note was sent to senior officials, comprising the secretaries of the Armed Forces, the Chiefs of Staff of the US Strategic Command and the Director of the National Reconnaissance Office.
Kennedy did not have much time to finish the research. “I think this effort will take 45 to 60 Days,” Griffin wrote. The DARPA team is anticipated to offer an intermediate progress report within 30 days to Patrick Shanahan, Under Secretary of Defense and the Space Governance Committee. The committee oversees a restructuring of DoD space to fulfill with President Trump’s command to form a new military branch. The Space Development Agency was first mentioned in an Aug 9 report that Congress had set in the National Defense Authorization Act for the financial year 2018.
DARPA is a champion of non-traditional approaches to improving the resiliency of space systems by utilizing small satellites in large numbers. DARPA has created the blackjack program to build a trial constellation of satellites in low earth orbit to provide global and constant coverage for military operations.