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SDA Promises Optimizing Efficiencies—Report

Space Development Agency of United States was set up last week provoking questions from several quarters including Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson that challenged leaders of DoD seeking explanation about need for creation of a new agency when some of its organizations are already creating next-generation technologies for space. The criticisms have been brushed aside by the dept. which insists that this move was necessary to keep it ahead of technological advancements in the field. As the DoD has to offset the costs of creating this agency by making savings in other division it has already submitted a memo by director Fred Kennedy.

As per those details the SDA has been structured to operate with limited bureaucracy and will purchase technology from commercial sector. This strategy will help to decrease need for infrastructure and manpower while reducing processing time and speed up deployment of new systems. DoD has requested funds of $149 million in fiscal year of 2020 to get this agency running and savings for this will be possible through consolidation of DoD’s other space acquisitions. The agency will be developed in such a manner that a single architecture can handle multiple needs as SDA will apply common software for command and control along with interoperable user terminals and consolidated protocols.

This agency will create an expansive transport layer of sensor data and communication within low earth orbit consisting of large number of small satellites. These will have multiple inter-satellite links and space to ground links that will be networked to provide low latency data transfer globally. This transport layer can be used in the future for military communications to enable reduction of manpower needs at Military Satellite Communication (MILSATCOM) Directorate of Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. The division currently employs around 650 personnel and the memo says that SDA can make 20 civilian and 30 military billets redundant.