SSC introduces renewed partnership between the government and industry partners

By Apurva Minchekar  / October 19, 2023

U.S. Space Systems Command introduced a “renewed partnership between the government and the industry partners” to deliver resilient capabilities to “win a race” against adversaries, according to a senior official of the command.

“We have talked a long time about government and industry ties into some level, they have always been there but to win this race, we need to renew that commitment to those ties,” Col. Robert Davis, program executive officer for the SSC space sensing directorate, said yesterday.

During the Space Industry Days conference, Davis explained under this renewed partnership the government will effectively communicate its requirements and industry will assist in developing “innovative solutions against the requirements and when.”

“When the government comes with requirements that are not [as] simple as they could be, the industry [can] push back and say: hey, you know what, maybe there's a better way to do this. You get, you know, 80% of capability for 20% of the complexity, whatever the case may be,” he continued.

The colonel stressed that both entities should cut down on the process that slows the pace of development and deliver capabilities at an accelerated rate.

“The government has to be clear on the programmatic requirements such as [requests for proposals], timelines or selections, et cetera,” he noted.

In response to the requirements set by the government, the industry can put forward their proposals for awards and if awarded, the vendor must “hyperfocus on execution and delivery for the warfighter,” he added.

Further, Davis also discussed his plans to leverage the Space System Command’s space sensing capabilities to defend U.S. interests in space.

He noted that the command fielding architecture to maintain the Geostationary Equatorial Orbit and High Earth Orbit components to the next-gen program is “vulnerable.”

Davis stressed the command should expedite building the new resilient architecture for Medium Earth Orbit and Low Earth Orbit in collaboration with the Space Development Agency.

“We are building a more important than ever robust ground key ability to fuse all the data from this new sensor-rich architecture,” he said.

He added that the project is a collaboration between the Combined Program Office and SSC, where SSC will be leading the mission integration.

“We are ready to fight tonight with the capabilities versus, say, today and returning quickly to 2026 to make sure we are outpacing the threat,” he continued.

Davis expanded on space sensing’s new mission area -- Tactical Surveillance Reconnaissance Technology -- that will enable the command to provide prompt commercial analytics directly to the warfighter at various locations.

“This is much more than buying commercial imagery other [than] overhead data. We are buying operational planning products for the warfighter,” he stated.

He noted that the command is collaborating with industry to enhance the increasing “prolific amount of analytic data” generated on an everyday basis “by new algorithms, artificial intelligence, machine learning and other capabilities.”

The combined office program is leading the Air Force secretary goals of operational operative number one by building the new robust architecture, Davis highlighted.