Plan for a Department of the Space Force

In response to growing concerns regarding the United States' ability to outpace adversaries in space and to ensure continued space superiority, the U.S. Congress mandated several space-related reviews and studies in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (FY18 NDAA) (Public Law 115-91). One of these directed the Deputy Secretary of Defense to contract with a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) without close ties to the Air Force "to develop a plan to establish a separate military department responsible for the national security space activities of the Department of Defense." The Center for Naval Analyses, the sole FFRDC for the Department of the Navy, was selected to develop this independent plan.

Many models have been offered as potential improvements to the current organization of national security space within the Department of Defense (DOD). By explicit NDAA mandate, we focus exclusively on a plan for a separate military department that can provide performance improvements over the status quo. Our analytical approach includes a traceable and defensible methodology that rests on a foundation of desired outcomes and employs quantifiable performance measurements whenever possible to drive the department’s design. However, we cannot definitively know before it is implemented that any design will produce the expected benefits.

This report represents our plan for the Department of the Space Force (DSF), in satisfaction of the requirement mandated by §1601(d)(3) of the FY18 NDAA. It details the drivers for creating a Department of the Space Force, our recommendations for the responsibilities and broad structure of the Department, the organizational and resource implications of this design, and the corresponding legislative implementation. Read the Executive Summary.

Learn more about CNA's Space Project Team: https://www.cna.org/centers/cna/space.