Space Force adviser says service may need tailored tech

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Daniel Sanchez, 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs apprentice, shows the coin he received from U.S. Space Force Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, during Raymond’s visit to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Feb. 2, 2021. Raymond coined Sanchez for creating the selected USSF motto, “Semper Supra,” meaning “always above.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman John R. Wright)

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The Space Force wants to build its own tailored tech on top of the enterprise IT provided by the Air Force, a strategic adviser in the new service’s Technology and Innovation Office said Wednesday.

Requirements that are unique to the Space Force include the creation of a digital engineering environment, where satellites can be designed and tested virtually before being launched into space.

“There will be space force needs that we will either build upon that foundation or we will have to go get ourselves,” said strategic adviser Reb Butler, speaking at an event hosted by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association.

The Space Force, a part of the Department of the Air Force, wants to be the first “digital service” since its operations all involve tech, be they satellites or global communications networks. Butler stressed that a key part of being a digital force is not only building out digital tools but having a digitally savvy workforce.

So far, only 30 percent of new Space Force staff have completed their required initial digital training in things like software and IT. The course work is through the Air Force’s Digital University, a library of classes on tech-related topics.

“We are pleased with the progress and look to onboard more courses to Digital University soon,” A Space Force spokesperson told FedScoop. The requirement to complete the training is self-paced, the spokesperson added.

The majority of the more than 5,500 staff that transferred from the Air Force have previously worked on space-related missions.

As the force brings on more members and expands its mission areas, it plans to run a pilot on communicating with industry, Mike Dickey, director of the Space Force’s Force Design Integration Office, said.

That would be a wholly new way to communicate requirements and one that would rely heavily on tech.

“That’s something that’s very early, we might try to do a pilot later this year,” Dickey said.

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AFCEA, Air Force, Reb Butler, Space Force
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