Space Force aims for National Space Intel Center IOC in early 2022

By Courtney Albon / April 5, 2021 at 3:02 PM

The Space Force is in the "throes" of standing up a new National Space Intelligence Center and plans to reach initial operational capability in January 2022.

Maj. Gen. Leah Lauderback, the service's director of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, said during an April 2 Mitchell Institute event the Space Force recently stood up a working group to define what the NSIC will look like in the future.

The current plan is for two squadrons to shift from the National Air and Space Intelligence Center to NSIC to form the initial core of the new organization. Lauderback said the center will also need to increase its workforce in order to perform analysis of a growing number of adversary space systems.

“As those numbers of weapon systems that our adversaries have grown, we probably need to grow in number of analysts," she said. "And I also see that from an exploitation standpoint, or from an advanced threat analysis standpoint, we have room to grow too."

She noted that the NSIC working group -- which includes representatives from the Space Force, NASIC, Defense Intelligence Agency and other organizations -- are discussing what the initial workforce and mission of NSIC will be.

Lauderback also discussed the Space Force's designation as a member of the intelligence community in January. Soon after the service's IC membership became official, the director of national intelligence sent Lauderback a memo listing various directives the service would need to align with.

"Over the last couple of months, we have been going through this list -- and it's extensive because there are a lot of intelligence community directives out there, things that you just need to be in compliance with," she said. "There's tradecraft that we need to be able to follow as intelligence professionals."

The Space Force has since achieved compliance with those directives, she said.