Military Space Programs Emerge as a Top Priority in 2021

Lloyd McCoy Jr.

By Lloyd McCoy, Market Intelligence Manager

While passage of the 2021 budget is still months away, Congress and the White House are busy crafting the final version of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. This is the most important budget document for the Department of Defense as it establishes funding levels and sets the policies under which money will be spent. As such, it’s a reliable barometer for DOD priorities in the next year or two.

There’s a clear consensus emerging between the Administration and Congress on space as a high priority and the upcoming NDAA will call for a strengthened role in space for our military. More specifically, acquiring the infrastructure and technologies that will further development of space-based assets and capabilities will be spelled out.

Let’s look at where we expect IT solutions to be most needed in the space domain: 

The recently announced Space Systems Command or SSC, will be established largely from what is currently the Space and Missile Systems Center and will serve as the acquisition arm for the Space Force, developing, acquiring, fielding and sustaining military space weapons. Their focus will be on building up our surveillance and warning capabilities in space and funding R&D projects to support the Space Operations Command, the operational arm of Space Force. Expect ongoing requirements for cloud-based AI and data library tools to crunch and house data coming from satellites and their ground stations, as well as security solutions to protect our space-based assets. The Space Force also wants ideas from industry how it can better leverage 5G to support its missions.

It’s important to note that the service branches still have organizations actively fielding satellite communications and surveillance capabilities like the Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command and Navy’s PEO for Space Systems. It is likely they will be eventually rolled up into the SSC.

Another insertion point is the Space Development Agency under the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (although scheduled to move under the Space Force in 2022). This organization plans to spend $11 billion over the next 5 years to build out a sensor layer that will allow the military to detect and track what the U.S. believes to be one of the most credible threats in coming years, hypersonic missiles traversing the atmosphere at breakneck speeds. Supplementing this sensor layer will be a similar space-based system, led by the Missile Defense Agency, that will focus on targeting hypersonic missile attacks. Over the next decade, the DOD will be pouring billions of dollars into these integrated detection and defense satellite constellations.

With more than $15 billion dedicated to space programs in 2021, the opportunities and insertion points are vast.

These dispersed programs will need tools that support both space-based assets and the supporting ground infrastructure. Technological solutions needed for the ground stations are cross domain solutions, defensive cyber capabilities, system engineering, command and control and analytics. For space-based systems the main requirements will center around command and control, tracking technologies and analytic solutions. Across both the land and space domains, requirements focus around data transport and battle management solutions.

Needless to say, DOD’s space programs represent lucrative areas for IT spend in the next 5 years, for both legacy communications and surveillance programs but also as the emerging systems and satellite constellations mature into full operating capability.

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Interested in learning more on how your company can grow their business in DOD? Connect with immixGroup’s Market Intelligence team today.

About Lloyd McCoy Jr.
Lloyd McCoy is the manager of immixGroup’s Market Intelligence organization, leveraging market analysis and purchasing trends to help immixGroup suppliers and partners shorten their sales cycles. He has a M.S. in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University, a M.A. in Public Policy and a B.A. in Political Science, both from the University of Maryland. Prior to joining immixGroup, Lloyd was a senior analyst in the Intelligence Community for eight years, serving in a variety of senior analytic and project management positions in the U.S. and abroad.

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