Pentagon selects acting SDA director following Kennedy's sudden departure

By Courtney Albon / June 25, 2019 at 3:29 PM

The Defense Department has named Derek Tournear to serve as acting director of the Space Development Agency, after the fledgling organization’s first director resigned last week amid reported disagreements with Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Mike Griffin.

Tournear is currently the assistant director for space within Griffin's office. Spokeswoman Heather Babb said in a June 25 statement that he would remain in that role while serving in an acting capacity at SDA.

Space News first reported last week that former SDA Director Fred Kennedy had abruptly resigned following disagreements with Griffin about how the agency should leverage commercial technology and what level of authority Kennedy should have as director.

The news came days after Chris Shank, director of the Strategic Capabilities Office, resigned his post -- also over differences with Griffin.