USAF to assume responsibility for defence satellite communications

31 May 2019 (Last Updated May 31st, 2019 10:59)

The US Air Force is set to assume responsibility for future narrowband satellite communications from the US Navy as part of preparations for the future alignment of space programmes.

USAF to assume responsibility for defence satellite communications
The US President has signed a space directive that establishes the concept of a US Space Force. Credit: NASA / Aubrey Gemignani.

The US Air Force is set to assume responsibility for future narrowband satellite communications from the US Navy as part of preparations for the future alignment of space programmes.

The transfer will set the stage for the development of an integrated space enterprise architecture.

The decision to handover future satellite communications responsibilities to the USAF was announced in a joint memorandum.

USAF secretary Heather Wilson and US Navy secretary Richard Spencer said in the memo: “To prepare for the future alignment of space programmes, it is our intent to transfer responsibility for future narrowband capability, beyond the Mobile User Objective System, from the department of the navy to the department of the airforce.

“Completing this transfer now would be a prudent step toward consolidating space capabilities, consistent with Space Policy Directive-4.”

This plan is in line with US President Donald Trump’s Space Policy Directive-4, which requires the US Department of Defense to come up with a legislative proposal for the establishment of a US Space Force as a sixth branch of the country’s military.

The directive was signed in February to deter and counter threats in space.

Initially, the space force has been proposed to be created as a military service within the department of the airforce.

The USAF stated that the transfer will help address concerns about the alignment of major space programmes.

“Completing this transfer now would be a prudent step toward consolidating space capabilities.”

As a result of the realignment, these programmes will now be funded by the airforce budget.

A working group will be set up with a mandate to report on the joint force requirements, required resources and identification of risk areas.

The group will also suggest mitigation measures for a successful transfer of responsibility to the airforce, the memo added.