COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A U.S. Space Command office created in March to better integrate commercial capabilities is already drawing interest from companies, according to Commander Gen. James Dickinson.
The Combined Joint Commercial Integration Office, located within SPACECOM headquarters, connects the work of Joint Task Force Space Defense Commercial Operations cell at Schriever Space Force Base in Colorado and the Commercial Integration Cell at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. Both are already engaged with private sector space companies.
The commercial operations cell is focused on space domain awareness and the integration cell works mostly with satellite communication companies. Dickinson said the new headquarters-level office has “synergized” the two organizations and elevated their work with the goal of helping the command adopt commercial technology more quickly.
“The idea is, how do you take what the commercial market has today, how does that support U.S. Space Command and our allies and partnerships around the world,” he said During an April 18 media roundtable at the Space Foundation’s Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo. “Those are capabilities, quite frankly, that could be available today or in the not-too-distant future.”
SPACECOM’s approach to engaging with industry has seen success, he said, noting that new companies are lining up to work with the command. A spokesperson told C4ISRNET that the command has partnered with 10 companies through its commercial integration cell and is pursuing agreements with another eight.
The creation of the office comes just over a year after Space Command released a commercial integration strategy. The document provides a framework for integrating commercial capabilities in a way that helps fill high-priority capability gaps.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon’s chief technology officer is creating a program aimed at understanding how the Department of Defense can be a better partner to private sector space companies.
During April 18 remarks at the conference, Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Heidi Shyu highlighted the effort, which will be led by Lindsay Millard, the principal director for space in Shyu’s office. The program will focus on understanding the barriers to adopting commercial technology and how to rapidly transition these capabilities into the department and make them available to international allies.
“We need to take advantage of the diversity of novel ideas and products available from the commercial sector to complement DoD space and deliver capabilities to our warfighter at a far quicker pace,” Shyu said. “We cannot sustain competitiveness in space by relying strictly on DoD space programs.”
Courtney Albon is C4ISRNET’s space and emerging technology reporter. She has covered the U.S. military since 2012, with a focus on the Air Force and Space Force. She has reported on some of the Defense Department’s most significant acquisition, budget and policy challenges.