> 60, 2011 > An Allard Commission Postmortem and the Need for a National Space Council

Joan Johnson-Freese
An Allard Commission Postmortem and the Need for a National Space Council


31 2011

The unclassified Department of Defense (DOD) space budget is over double that of the combined expenditures of all other countries with military space programs, and in excess of $20 billion annually. Of the over 850 satellites in orbit in 2010, more than half belong to the United States. While a significant portion of those satellites is not owned by the military, DOD uses, even relies on, commercial satellites for military use. What conclusions can be drawn from these facts and statistics? It is clear that the United States has more space capabilities than any other country, but are those capabilities, regardless of their ownership, well integrated into and within the military?

Commander, Air Force Space Command, meets with Government officials to discuss GPS needs of civil and military communitiesThat question can be answered in one of two ways: either from the perspective of the warfighter, or as an organizational issue. The good news is that from the perspective of the warfighter, space has come a long way toward becoming a well-integrated tool. Though the first Gulf War is sometimes referred to as the "first space war" due to the high utilization of space assets, Service integration, let alone the integration of space capabilities into Service operations, was a significant challenge. The Navy, for example, had to fly the daily air tasking orders out to the aircraft carriers by helicopter, a system known in Navy vernacular as Pigeon Post, because its communications systems were not compatible with the lengthy Riyadh-generated document.1 In terms of space, an after-action assessment report stated: "The ground forces who initially deployed had only minimal access to the United States' most effective means of navigation, the Global Positioning System (GPS) and remained so until the U.S. Army used the delay in the war's start to procure and distribute thousand [sic] of commercial receivers."2 Since then, however, significant efforts have been made toward Service integration and integration of information from space assets into operations. According to Lieutenant General Edward Anderson, USA (Ret.), for example, "Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom are just tremendous examples of how our military has really become quite comfortable with using those [space] capabilities."3

Organizationally, however, requirements for space capabilities are not somewhere in the military, but they are everywhere as a function of space hardware providing force enhancement potential. They are also expensive, potentially drawing otherwise available funding away from other more traditional Service capabilities, such as tanks, ships, and planes, and from traditional command, control, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities. Subsequently, while all the Services want input into decisions regarding how and where funding is spent, and full access to its use, there is less enthusiasm for bill-paying. That, added to entrenched bureaucratic acquisition practices and normal organizational politics, has resulted in decades of attempts at various arrangements to add more coherence to military space planning and organizational integration, toward optimizing funds and meeting ever-increasing needs and demands. But, as reflected over a decade ago, "organizational reform can represent a major attempt to introduce change or a mechanism for deflecting real change."4 Most efforts to date have served as the latter. In 2008, the Allard Commission—a panel named for sponsor Senator Wayne Allard (R–CO) and chaired by retired aerospace executive Tom Young—issued a report entitled Leadership, Organization and Management for National Security Space.5 It found organizational military space integration fundamentally lacking, and offered a roadmap for change. However, more than 2 years after the Allard Commission Report was issued, military space integration is still limited by organizational gridlock and resistance, with few indications of positive change on the horizon. The answer for how to change that dim future outlook remains within the Allard Report.

Still Searching

As the result of a 1993 congressional mandate borne from frustration over repeatedly asking the military "who's in charge" of military space policy and programs and getting no good answer, the positions of Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Space and DOD Space Architect were chartered in 1995. Creation of those positions, especially the Space Architect, and multiple subsequent, mostly marginal reorganization efforts have been akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, as evidenced by fast-forwarding to the findings of the 2008 congressionally mandated Allard Commission Report. It is peppered with concerns regarding a lack of a true authority for military and intelligence space assets—that no one is "in charge." Subsequent to the findings being released, commission chair Tom Young was quoted as saying there had been "no adult supervision" in national security space.6 Having chaired what was known as the Space Commission in 20017 and having been in the rare position of being able to implement several of his own recommendations while in the top job at the Pentagon, Young was especially critical of Donald Rumsfeld's leadership in the area: "You could not give a grade other than F. You couldn't even give it a gentleman's D. It boggles my mind."8

One of the relatively few changes made regarding management of space programs as a result of Rumsfeld's Space Commission report was the Air Force assuming the role as the executive agent for space, with specific responsibility going to Air Force Space Command. That meant that the Air Force would own most space assets, though the other Services were the primary users, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Air Force's performance as executive agent has been tenuous at best. Part of the problem, again, has been organizational.

Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) was activated in September 1982. Realistically, it is a stepchild in a family that focuses first and foremost on airplanes. Additionally, U.S. Space Command was created in 1985 as a new functional unified command, both in acknowledgment of the increasingly recognized value of space assets, and to help institutionalize the use of space in U.S. deterrence efforts. AFSPC acted as a Service component of U.S. Space Command. In 1992, U.S. Strategic Command was created, incorporating U.S. Space Command in 2002, with AFSPC still a Service component. After the deactivation of Strategic Air Command, nuclear forces belonged to Air Combat Command from June 1992 to July 1993. Then, responsibility for both space and nuclear operations fell within Air Force Space Command for a while. Nuclear forces were merged into AFSPC in 1993, and that was never a fully comfortable marriage, with the cultural gap between space and missile operations much wider than many wanted to admit. Air Force Global Strike Command was created in 2008 and activated in 2009, taking over the missions of nuclear deterrence and global strike operations—the latter still not fully defined. If all these jurisdictional responsibility lines seem somewhat fuzzy and fungible, it is because they are. One of the (several) negative results of blurred lines of responsibility is multiple organizations fighting over the same pots of money.

To the Air Force's credit, as Major General James Armor, Jr. (Ret.), pointed out in his 2008 article subsequent to the Air Force nuclear debacles, "the Air Force has done nothing short of a spectacular job of bringing the U.S. to its current pre-eminence in space."9 But, as he also pointed out, issues including too much emphasis on air superiority, prioritizing the future rather than the present, power grabs for new missions such as unmanned aerial vehicles and cyberspace, relations with Congress outside the DOD chain of command, and "shenanigans" in shorting the space budget—knowing Congress will restore the needed money and therefore increase the Air Force total budget— indicate problems.

Organizational issues were exacerbated when the Air Force procurement budget fell victim to the demands of urgent war bills, lowering the priority of already challenged space acquisitions programs. Congressional testimony in 2009 by Christina Chaplain from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) imparted the problems. She stated:

estimated costs for major space acquisition programs have increased by about $10.9 billion from initial estimates for fiscal years 2008–2013. . . . Several causes consistently stand out. First, DOD starts more weapons programs than it can afford, creating competition for funding that, in part, encourages low cost estimating and optimistic scheduling. Second, DOD has tended to start its space programs before it has the assurance that the capabilities it is pursuing can be achieved within available resources. . . . Moreover, along with the cost increases, many programs are experiencing significant schedule delays— at least 7 years.10

Attention to space issues suffered further after the Air Force was rocked by a series of events questioning its stewardship of nuclear weapons in 2008, resulting in the resignations of Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne and Air Force Chief General T. Michael Moseley, drawing more attention away from space issues. All in all, muddling along became the standard operating procedure. Allard Commission member General Anderson succinctly stated the problem as "no one's in charge, so everyone thinks they are in charge." He specifically cited Space Radar as an example of the consequent negative impact of that organizational model: "The intelligence and military space communities could not come to an agreement, so nothing ever got done."11

It has been over 2 years since the Allard Report was issued, and it is the second year of a new administration in office. Both allow for real change to have occurred—or, alternatively, for the recommendations to be dismissed as "OBE" (overtaken by events) because there has been a change of administrations. Not surprisingly, the Allard Report drew "some support from younger military persons and outsiders when it was released, but encounter[ed] ‘concern' and resistance from older, higher ranking personnel" with entrenched interests,12 most often and likely to be those wanting to wave the recommendations away as OBE. The problems have not gone away, though. Thus, the Allard Report recommendations remain a valid topic for further consideration. In fact, because the problems have not gone away and the United States is now 2 years further into an increasing quagmire of space-related issues, the issues the recommendations address are more critical than ever.

The Recommendations

The Allard Commission made four specific recommendations.13

  • The President should establish and lead the execution of a National Space Strategy that assures U.S. space preeminence, integrates the various participants, establishes lines of authority and accountability, and delineates priorities. To implement the strategy, the President should reestablish the National Space Council, chaired by the National Security Advisor, with the authority to assign roles and responsibilities, and to adjudicate disputes over requirements and resources.
  • Establish a National Security Space Authority (NSSA). The director of NSSA should be assigned the rank of Under Secretary of Defense for Space and also serve as Deputy Director of National Intelligence (DNI) for Space, reporting to the Secretary of Defense and DNI. The NSSA director will be the Executive Agent for Space with the sole authority, responsibility, and accountability for the planning and execution of the National Security Strategy (NSS) program, including acquisition. Key functions will be defining and formulating the Major Force Program–12 budget and serving as the focal point for interagency coordination on NSS matters. Analytical and technical support from a National Security Space Office–like organization augmented with Intelligence Community expertise will be required to effectively execute this responsibility.
  • Create a National Security Space Organization (NSSO). Assign to it the functions of the following entities: National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Air Force Research Laboratories Space Vehicles Directorate, operational functions of the Air Force Space Command, and Army and Navy organizations now providing space capability. The merged organization will report to NSSA for policy, requirements, and acquisition and to AFSPC for organization, training, and equipping responsibilities. Spacecraft command, control, and data acquisition operations as well as launch operations will be NSSO responsibilities.
  • Change Air Force and Intelligence Community human resource management policies for space acquisition professionals in order to emphasize technical competence, experience, and continuity. Establish a career education, training, and experience path for the development of engineers and managers who are steeped in space. Establish as the norm that space project management personnel be in a given position for sufficient time to maximize project success—4 years or more—without adverse effect on an individual's career. Support should be given to the current Space Cadre management and training program being implemented by the Services, as exemplified by the Air Force through AFSPC and Air Education and Training Command.

Together, these recommendations were intended to represent a plan for a major overhaul of the processes used in conjunction with military space policy decisionmaking and implementation. These would not tweak the system; they would break it and start over. Implementation would represent an overall equivalent to those imposed on the Defense Department by the Reorganization Act of 1958 or the Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reorganization Act of 1986—both of which faced internal resistance and took years to implement and where implementation is still, some would argue, a work in progress. Individually, the recommendations addressed problems that had plagued space programs for years, but in doing so attacked the stovepipes and standard operating procedures by which bureaucracies had not just existed, but thrived, and individuals had built their careers. Change represents challenges to power.

The valid point also has been made that fixing problems by creating another layer of bureaucracy—which, it can be argued, the Allard recommendations do—rarely fixes problems. Even some close to the commission, including General Anderson, suggested there were "alternatives" to the organizational structure offered in the report.14 Everyone, however, agreed that something had to be done, and the Allard Commission recommendations represented a way out of the inertia that had perpetuated the status quo for too long.

There are many reasons for "resistance," which is different from "friction." Friction occurs when implementing change—even if everyone is fully supportive of the planned change. It arises simply because details of implementation are inherently worked out as changes unfold, and sometimes not easily. If sources of the friction are dealt with promptly and effectively, serious problems can be avoided. Resistance, on the other hand, is intentional and aimed at stopping, altering, delaying, or otherwise adversely impacting attempts at change. It implements the adage of 19th-century British Prime Minister Lord Robert Salisbury: "Whatever happens will be for the worse and therefore it is in our interest that as little should happen as possible." There are many different forms of resistance, some most common and effective in preventing change, some in implementing change, and some utilized in both cases. These include "slow rolling" change, citing failures of the past as reasons not to change, spotlighting failure, exaggerating the costs of change, and minimizing the predicted benefits. All have been employed in avoiding implementation of the Allard Commission recommendations.

Recommendation One. The recommendations begin with a plea for high-level leadership and a comprehensive strategy for the way forward that considers all elements of the various space communities—the stovepipes or fiefdoms—that have dominated programs. They have not been the only ones to do so. At the same time the Allard Commission was at work, a report was being prepared for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on challenges and recommendations for U.S. overhead architecture (spy satellites). In their findings, they begin by stating: "First, there is no comprehensive space architecture or strategic plan that accommodates current and future capability requirements."15 And the National Research Council, in its 2009 report "America's Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs," included as one of its foundational elements for realizing critical national objectives: "Coordinated national strategies—implementing national space policy coherently across all civilian agencies in support of national needs and priorities and aligning attention to shared interests of civil and national security space activities."16

Perhaps not surprisingly, no comprehensive space strategy—or even an effort to produce one—has yet emerged. Resistance has been largely unnecessary, as the recommendation was for the most part ignored. When addressed, slow-rolling in the form of "we're supportive, but it's just too hard" attitudes triumph. That was the prevailing attitude at a February 2010 workshop entitled Towards a National Space Strategy, for example, especially those currently in positions having a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. The workshop report that followed concluded: "An overarching approach to strategy, i.e., grand strategy, though desirable, is not feasible given political realities."17 So there is no plan or even the intent to try to develop one, even though often the process of bringing the right people together to prioritize problems and talk about viable solutions is as worthwhile as a product that might or might not consequently follow.

Every plan must have an implementer for effective execution. Having everyone in charge and no one accountable has been cited as problematic dating back to the creation of the Space Architect position in 1995. So the reestablishment of the National Space Council with the National Security Advisor as Chair, to implement the strategy, was also recommended. But without a plan, the need for an executor can be, and has been, argued as moot. Alternatively, however, it can be argued that the existence of such an organization directly correlates with the potential for such a plan to be created and executed.

Minotaur IV rocket launches Space-based Space Surveillance satellite to detect and track objects orbiting Earth

The National Space Council was created by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1958 as the National Aeronautics and Space Council (NASC), abolished in 1973 by President Richard Nixon, and reestablished as the National Space Council (NSC) during the administration of George H.W. Bush. Although it was originally intended to be headed by the President, Eisenhower generally ignored the NASC. John F. Kennedy utilized it, especially in the formation of the Comsat Corporation, but abrogated leadership of the organization to Vice President Lyndon Johnson, as did George H.W. Bush to his Vice President, Dan Quayle. The intent of the National Space Council has always been to provide a bridge between interagency space policies and programs toward national coordination. If the NSC is limited to coordination, however, it has little power or value, as it can simply be ignored. If it has authority to force its will on the multiple space players, however, it is a threat to their bureaucratic autonomy. Hence, while there have been multiple attempts to revive the organization over the years, and most recently the Obama administration has pledged its intent to do so, the status quo powers have managed to stifle those efforts.

The Allard Commission recommendation to reestablish the National Space Council, with the authority to assign roles and to adjudicate disputes is viewed either as a threat, or as a bureaucratic solution to a policy issue, or both. While having someone in charge is clearly necessary for real change to occur, real change is not necessarily what bureaucracies, with a primary goal of self-perpetuation, in point of fact want. On the other hand, more bureaucracy can create as many problems as it can potentially solve, especially in terms of time required to deal with every issue and people involved (many of whom are uninformed and will have no role or responsibility for decision implementation). Also, centralizing personnel often sounds like a good idea, but when organizations badly want people reassigned to them, they often get exactly that: those people purged from other organizations. All that said, there is one clear, unambiguous aspect in recommendation one. Having the NSC chaired by the National Security Advisor rather than the Vice President unambiguously signals an attempt to move space policy closer to the inner circle of Presidential advisors and to someone with a strong position in the security communities. Until that happens, space issues will be considered as subsets of multiple other policy areas, rising to, falling from, and most often never reaching beyond the level of bureaucratic, staff importance. Until somebody close to the President is in charge, we will continue to rearrange deck chairs.

Recommendation Two. Like any good plan of attack, the Allard Commission recommendations begin at the strategic level, and then move to the operational. That, however, is the level where most people work. Thus, immediate impact could be anticipated as a result of change. So it is not surprising that this recommendation generated the most immediate discussion, resistance, and pushback. In effect, recommendation two sought to combine the organizations that control classified and unclassified military satellites—the black and white worlds. Creation of a National Security Space Authority would give acquisition as well as requirements authority for both programs to one entity and one person, thereby stripping that authority from those currently holding it—the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), operated by AFSPC (for unclassified programs), and the NRO for classified programs, each with its own director.

For 3 years, between December 2001 and March 2005, Peter B. Teets was dual-hatted as both the Under Secretary of the Air Force and Director of the NRO, thus unifying the management of national security space activities. After 9/11, however, and focused attention on mechanisms for responding to global terrorism, establishment of the DNI created a powerful intelligence bureaucracy, which then reclaimed the NRO as its own. When Teets left in 2005, responsibilities for space were again bifurcated, and organizational turf lines were again staked out.

Asked to comment on the Allard Commission report recommendations in 2008, Lieutenant General John Sheridan, SMC Commander, was judiciously noncommittal:

I understand the results of that study are now being made public. Also, of course, it is just that at this point in time—the results of a study. There are no actions that have been taken by the government to lay in the plans that have been suggested by the results of the study. . . . They made one suggestion upfront in the report, which talks about coming up with a national strategy for space based on our national space policy. I don't think anyone would argue with the fact that having a strategy in place that lays out how we should build programs and apportion budgets would be a good way to organize things from the top down as far as the national commitment to space across the board, whether it is civil space or commercial space or national security space.18

Launch team members conduct preflight operations to test operational effectiveness, readiness, and accuracy of Minuteman III ICBMThere was no need to be protective or negative, as it was already clear that the George W. Bush administration was not going to undertake any major reforms before leaving office, and equally likely that the Obama administration would have other priorities, which has proven true.

The GAO study of May 2009 on space acquisitions reiterated the concerns of the Allard Commission and others:

The Allard Commission reported that responsibilities for military space and intelligence programs are scattered across the staffs of the DOD and the Intelligence Community and that it appears that "no one is in charge" of national-security space. The [House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence] expressed similar concerns in its report, focusing specifically on difficulties in bringing together decisions that would involve both the Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of Defense. Prior studies, including those conducted by the Defense Science Board and the Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization (Space Commission) have identified similar problems, both for space as a whole and for specific programs. While these studies have made recommendations for strengthening leadership on space acquisitions, no major changes to the leadership structure have been made in recent years.19

In fact, the "executive agent" position within the Air Force that was designated in 2001 in response to a Space Commission recommendation went vacant after Ronald Sega resigned in 2007, and then went into limbo, where it remains.

Pentagon acquisition czar John Young was happy to fill the void left by the resignation of Sega. In July 2008, he told lawmakers that he intended to retain oversight authority for military space programs: "I fundamentally disagree that a single service should have the total acquisition decision authority and milestone authority for a set of programs, as was done with space, and I would intend to retain acquisition authority over space programs."20 Young did retain that authority. Soon thereafter, Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz indicated that he wanted space acquisition authority to "migrate back"21 to the Air Force, but that did not happen. During Senate confirmation hearings for Erin Conaton as Under Secretary of the Air Force in 2009, she stated: "The organization and management of space issues within the Air Force headquarters is under internal review, as well as through the Quadrennial Defense Review and the Space Posture Review process. These reviews and studies will inform and assist the Air Force in developing a way ahead."22 The Quadrennial Defense Review was silent on the issue; the Space Posture Review is still under way. So turf battles continue.

Recommendations Three and Four. Part of the impetus for recommending the creation of the NSSA was the commission finding that there are "insufficient numbers of space acquisition personnel to execute the responsibilities" of the SMC and NRO: "Both organizations suffer from the long-term ill effects of the reductions in government technical personnel made during the 1990s and neither has instituted necessary career development and management practices. Strengthened management focus is needed to identify, develop, assign, and promote acquisition personnel who are ‘steeped in space.'"23 Simply stated, there are not enough people who know what they are doing in the highly complex and technical space acquisition field.

The 2009 GAO report addresses both the quantity and quality aspects of the problem:

More actions may be needed to address shortages of personnel in program offices for major space programs. We recently reported that personnel shortages at the EELV [Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle] program office have occurred, particularly in highly specialized areas, such as avionics and launch vehicle groups. Program officials stated that 7 of the 12 positions in the engineering branch for the Atlas group were vacant. These engineers work on issues such as reviewing components responsible for navigation and control of the rocket. Moreover, only half of the government jobs in some key areas were projected to be filled. These and other shortages in the EELV program office heightened concerns about DOD's ability to use a cost-reimbursement contract acquisition strategy for EELV since that strategy requires greater government attention to the contractor's technical, cost, and schedule performance information.24

As a result of both cost-cutting measures that reduced the size of the acquisition workforce and an Air Force culture that favors pilots and technology specialists and consequently inhibits quality, experienced personnel from staying in key acquisition positions, hardware costs are rising, schedules are delayed, and U.S. capabilities are suffering. Ultimately, U.S. space superiority is being jeopardized by an unworkable organizational matrix of responsibilities that largely are underpopulated, and, when they are filled, it is often with the wrong people.

During the 1990s, as part of the post– Cold War downsizing efforts, the government made deep cuts into the technical workforce. The Air Force provides approximately 90 percent of space personnel to fulfill the DOD space mission. In 2006, the GAO pointed out the difficulties it had with fulfilling that role.

The Air Force has a shortage of midgrade and senior officers, who play vital management and oversight roles in space acquisition. At the Space and Missile Systems Center, 37 percent of the critical acquisition positions were vacant as of April 2006 and about 50 percent of the center's workload was being done by contractors. Also, the NRO depends on Air Force personnel to fill many of its key space acquisition positions. Continuing shortages may hamper the SMC and NRO ability to meet mission needs and highlight the Air Force's need to strategically manage its space acquisition workforce. The technical proficiency of the Air Force's space acquisition workforce also may not be adequate to meet national security needs. At SMC, the percentage of space acquisition officers with the highest acquisition certification level dropped from 28 percent in 1996 to 15 percent in 2005. Reasons for the lower certification levels include NRO priority in selecting personnel, the lack of a space acquisition specialty, limited training, and the decline in the number of personnel coming into the Air Force with technical degrees. Although required by law, the Air Force has not developed a career field for officers to develop space systems. Without a specialty to identify these personnel and increased space acquisition–related education and training, the Air Force may not be able to strategically manage its workforce and ensure personnel can effectively develop space systems.25

The Air Force recognizes that there is a problem. In fact, improving space acquisition is a specific objective in the Air Force Space Command 2009–2010 Strategic Plan. And while well intended and likely to render improvements, the degree of improvements possible is limited by cultural issues, and culture is always the hardest thing to change in an organization, which reaches back to the Air Force prioritization and stewardship issues discussed earlier.

While Allard Commission recommendation one dealt with space at a strategic level, and recommendation two at an operational level, recommendations three and four get down to the tactical level, clearly indicating that space security management is "broken" at all levels.

When organizations and organizational structures are broken, as the Allard Report and others unequivocally say military space is, personnel is often an issue, and that has been clearly demonstrated in this case. But as is also often the case, a complex organizational structure can have many stress points, some self-reinforcing. Regarding the insufficient number of acquisition personnel to work on the highly technical and complex issues related to space hardware, it is a chicken-or-egg problem. The Federal Acquisition Regulations is a 600-plus-page manual that rivals the tax code for complexity—hence the need for an army of individuals to execute its provisions. Pile on top of those provisions a loss of credibility before Congress as to its ability to execute those provisions and programs, for reasons ranging from ethical violations to inaccurate cost estimates, and the military space community is saddled with checkers for the checkers and monitors for the monitors to a point of near gridlock. Clearly, tweaking the system is ineffective; a complete overhaul to address the myriad issues—self-imposed and otherwise—is required.

Moving Forward

In June 2010, the Obama administration released its National Space Policy (NSP). The language of the National Security Space Guidelines includes such directives as "develop, acquire, and operate space systems and supporting information systems and networks to support U.S. national security and enable defense and intelligence operations during times of peace, crisis, and conflict," "ensure cost-effective survivability of space capabilities," and "develop and implement plans, procedures, techniques, and capabilities necessary to assure critical national security space-enabled missions."26 While responsibilities for taskings are allocated between the Secretary of Defense and Director of National Intelligence, nowhere does it say how these directives are to be carried out in anything other than a business-as-usual manner.

In all fairness, national security strategies, national space policies, and similar documents are all words on a page, ultimately judged by their implementation rather than their verbiage. While the overall intent of the NSP seems to be one of changing paradigms, in the area of military space integration it appears that the administration largely heeded the advice of the status quo advocates.

Though theoretically the long-awaited Space Posture Review could address these issues, largely the same folks have input into that process as did into the NSP. Bureaucracies do not by their nature champion change that threatens their established ways of doing business. Change is usually generated either by crises or by external forces anticipating crises and initiating change to avoid them. If left to internal forces, the day of reckoning is never seen to be imminent because efforts are focused on pushing it back rather than on fixing the problem. Though we can wait for a crisis to occur, the better option seems to be having change initiated and guided by an external force or body with enough clout to make it happen. That returns us to the first recommendation of the Allard Commission: reinvigoration of the National Space Council.

Presidential candidate Obama promised to bring back the National Space Council. Obama Science Advisor John Holdren stated that discussions were already under way to revive the organization during his Senate confirmation hearings in February 2009. Senate Space Subcommittee Chair Senator Bill Nelson (D–FL) stated that reviving the National Space Council would take space policy out of the hands of "some green-eyeshade person at the Office of Management and Budget."27 A 2009 report by the Aerospace Industries Association entitled "The Role of Space in Addressing America's National Priorities" states as its first recommendation, "Our space capabilities should be coordinated, at the highest level, as a singular enterprise."28 And yet there was no mention of a National Space Council in the 2010 National Space Policy. The ability to stifle such a promised action is a tribute to the power of bureaucratic and organizational politics.

Former IBM chief executive Lou Gerstner, considered an authority on organizational change, clearly differentiated between reorganization and transformation: "Reorganization to me is shuffling boxes, moving boxes around. Transformation means that you're really fundamentally changing the way the organization thinks, the way it responds, the way it leads. It's a lot more than just playing with boxes."29 For too long, the United States has been toying with reorganization of vital military space activities. Issues identified by the Allard Commission in 2008 made it clear that transformation is needed, and their recommendations toward that end remain sound.

While the presence of a National Space Council does not assure that transformation will occur, its absence almost certainly does assure that it will not. Until such an entity exists, headed by the National Security Advisor so as to have the access and ability to raise issues to the Presidential level, national security will suffer under the onus of organizational gridlock. JFQ

The author thanks Major General James Armor, Jr., USAF (Ret.), Colonel Dana Struckman, USAF, and Colonel Victor Budura, USAF (Ret.), for their comments.

 

Notes

1 Edward J. Merola, Senior Historian, U.S. Naval Historical Center, available at <www.history. navy.mil/Wars/dstrorm/sword-shield.htm>.

2 United States Space Command, United States Space Command Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm Assessment, January 1992, 3, available at <www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB39/document10.pdf>.

3 Sharon L. Hartman, "An Inside Look at the Allard Commission . . . And That's the Way It Was," Army Space Journal 8, no. 2 (Summer 2009), 20.

4 Joan Johnson-Freese and Roger Handberg, "Searching for Policy Coherence: The DOD Space Architect as an Experiment," Joint Force Quarterly 16 (Summer 1997), 92.

5 Report to Congress of the Independent Assessment Panel on the Organization and Management of National Security Space, July 2008, available at <www.smdc-armyforces.army.mil/ASJ/ Images/National_Security_Space_Study_Final_Sept_16.pdf>.

6 Amy Butler, "Adrift in Space," Aviation Week & Space Technology, October 13, 2008, 34.

7 There were actually three commissions looking into space issues in 2001, evidencing it being viewed as perpetually broken: the Commission to Assess U.S. National Security Space Management and Organization (Rumsfeld's Space Commission), the National Commission for the Review of the National Reconnaissance Office, and the Independent Commission on the National Imagery and Mapping Agency.

8 John M. Doyle, "Failing Grade," Aviation Week & Space Technology, October 13, 2008, 23.

9 James B. Armor, Jr., "The Air Force's Other Blind Spot," The Space Review, September 15, 2008, available at <www.thespacereview.com/article/1213/1>.

10 Christina T. Chaplain, Director, Acquisition and Sourcing Management, "Space Acquisition: DOD Faces Substantial Challenges in Developing New Space Systems," Testimony before the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Committee on Armed Services, U.S. Senate, GAO–09–705T, May 20, 2009, summary and 1.

11 Turner Briton, "Plan to Join Classified, Unclassified Space Functions Faces Opposition," Defense News, September 1, 2008, 24.

12 "Younger Military, Outsiders, Receptive to Reforming Space Security Procurement, Leadership, but Older and Higher-Ranking Officials Resistant," Space & Missile Report, October 20, 2008.

13 A. Thomas Young et al., Leadership, Management and Organization for National Security Space: Report to Congress of the Independent Assessment Panel on the Organization and Management of National Security Space (Alexandria, VA: Institute for Defense Analyses, 2008), ES-4–ES-6.

14 John Liang, "New Space Commission Report Recommends Abolishing NRO, SMC," Inside the Air Force, August 27, 2008.

15 "Report on Challenges and Recommendations for United States Overhead Architecture," 110th Congress, 2d Session, Report 110–914, available at <www.fas.org/irp/congress/2008_rpt/ hrpt110-914.html>.

16 National Research Council, Committee on the Rationale and Goals of the U.S. Civil Space Program, America's Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs (Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2009), 49.

17 Towards a National Space Strategy (Superior, CO: Secure World Foundation, April 12, 2010), 9, available at <www.astroconsultinginternational.com/library/documents/Towards%20a%20 National%20Space%20Strategy%20Report.pdf>.

18 Tony Skinner, "Interview: Lieutenant General John R. Sheridan, Commander, U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Center," Jane's Defence Weekly, October 9, 2008.

19 Chaplain, 13–14. Emphasis added.

20 "No More Executive Agent for Space," July 14, 2008, available at <www.airforce-magazine.com/DRArchive/Pages/2008/July%202008/July%20 14%202008/NoMoreExecutiveAgentforSpace.aspx>.

21 "USAF Chief Wants Space Acquisition Authority to ‘Migrate Back' to the Service," Defense Daily, February 24, 2009.

22 Marcia Smith, "Will the Under Secretary of the Air Force Still Be DOD Executive Agent for Space?" November 20, 2009, available at <www.spacepolicyonline.com/pages/index.php?option=com_ content&view=article&id=552:will-the-undersecretary-of-the-air-force-still-be-dod-executiveagent-for-space&catid=75:news&Itemid=68>.

23 Young et al., ES-5.

24 Chaplain, 14.

25 Government Accountability Office (GAO), Defense Space Activities: Management Actions Are Needed to Better Identify, Track, and Train Air Force Space Personnel, GAO-06-908 (Washington, DC: GAO, September 21, 2006), summary, available at <www.gao.gov/products/GAO-06-908>.

26 National Space Policy of the United States of America (Washington, DC: The White House, June 28, 2010), 13–14, available at <www.whitehouse.gov/ sites/default/files/national_space_policy_6-28-10. pdf>.

27 Frank Morring, Jr., "National Space Council to Return, Obama Science Advisor Pick Says," Aerospace Daily, February 27, 2009.

28 Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), The Role of Space in Addressing America's National Priorities (Arlington, VA: AIA, January 2009), available at <www.aia-aerospace.org/assets/report_ space_0109.pdf>.

29 "In Focus: Lou Gerstner," available at <http:// edition.cnn.com/2004/BUSINESS/07/02/gerstner. interview/index.html>.