Pentagon, intelligence community may adopt unified space strategy.

Author:Wagner, Breanne
Position:Space Technology

* COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The United States spends billions of dollars to maintain its superiority in space. But lack of coordination between the Defense Department and the intelligence community is impeding efforts to efficiently manage these efforts, government watchdogs say.

A strategy is needed to establish national space goals and priorities and to increase partnership and coordination, says the Government Accountability Office.

One was written in 2004, but has not been signed or acted upon for a number of reasons, including changes in leadership and cultural clashes, the GAO says in an April 2008 report.

Without a strategy, the U.S. government may be wasting time and effort, the agency says. "Until a national space strategy is issued, the defense and intelligence communities may continue to make independent decisions and use resources that are not necessarily based on national priorities, which could lead to gaps in some areas of space and redundancies in others."

The report caused quite a stir.

Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne tells National Defense that in response to the criticism, military and intelligence officials have decided to endorse a national security space strategy.

Gen. C. Robert Kehler, head of Air Force Space Command, and Scott Large, National Reconnaissance Office director, will "step forward and respond to the GAO in a straightforward manner," Wynne says in an interview during the Space Foundation's national space symposium.


He did not provide a timeline for when Kehler and Large planned to sign off on the strategy.

One factor that has hindered development of the space strategy, Wynne says, is the "explosion" in the number of space leaders.

"Even as space was collapsing, we seemed to have more managers of space spread throughout the government and throughout the military," he says.

As secretary of the Air Force, Wynne acts as Defense Department executive agent for space, but he hasn't been able to efficiently make decisions because of the vast number of managers.

"I cannot move without a committee of pretty much 100," he explains. "Here I sit as the vaunted space executive without the power to actually execute."

The defense and intelligence communities also face an uphill battle to break down cultural and historical differences, GAO says. Strong cultural barriers were one of the main impediments to implementing the strategy that was...

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