DOD stands up joint space office

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The Department of Defense stood up the joint service Operationally Responsive Space Office in a ceremony May 21 at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.

The ORS Office will be responsible for integrating joint ORS capabilities and for applying ORS resources to the development, acquisition and demonstration of capabilities to meet specific responsive space needs as established by global combatant command joint force commanders and users.

Col. Kevin McLaughlin will be dual-hatted in his new role as director of the joint ORS Office and as the Space and Missile Systems Center's Space Development and Test Wing commander at Kirtland AFB.

"Many government organizations and agencies, to include all the military services, have been working together on the Operationally Responsive Space effort," said Dr. Ronald M. Sega, under secretary of the Air Force and the Defense Department's executive agent for space. "The official standup of the joint ORS Office will be an important step for the future of ORS, providing a critical link in synchronizing the cooperative, joint efforts throughout DOD and the national security space arena."

"The focus of Operationally Responsive Space activities is on the ability to launch, activate and employ militarily useful space capabilities to provide surge, reconstitute or augment existing constellations, or to provide timely availability of new capabilities to the warfighter," he said.

The report, "Plan for Operationally Responsive Space," signed by Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England and delivered to Congress in late April, called for the establishment of an ORS office. The report provided the framework and identified actions to be taken to assure that ORS is postured to rapidly provide new space capabilities.

The report states "the overall approach is to expedite development and fielding of select responsive space systems by leveraging NSS-wide technology development activities and operational capabilities; provide integration and technical support to other service and government agency activities. The Department of Defense is committed to improving the nation's means to develop, acquire, field and employ space capabilities in shortened timeframes and more affordable ways. We recognize the need for innovation and responsiveness in delivering space capabilities to all users."

Some of the organizations involved in ORS activities to date include the Air Force, Army, Navy, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, Missile Defense Agency, and NASA.

The Space and Missile Systems Center, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the U.S. Air Force's center of acquisition excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. The center is composed of six wings and three groups responsible for GPS, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control network, space based infrared systems, intercontinental ballistic missile systems and space situational awareness capabilities. SMC manages more than $60 billion in contracts, executes annual budgets of $10 billion and employs more than 6,800 people worldwide.