Annual gathering by industry, government and academia experts identify key actions the U.S. must take to secure advantage in the space domain.
The Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), United States Space Force (USSF), and Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) have jointly released the 2021 State of the Space Industrial Base Report.
The report represents the collective voice of ~250 industry experts who gathered in July 2021, to provide inputs and recommendations to nurture and grow a healthy space industrial base and national security innovation base. The recommendations aim to provide counsel to the Administration, National Space Council, senior policymakers across the executive departments, Congress, the venture capital (VC) and investor community, and the broader commercial space ecosystem.
“Our security and resilience in space is critical for our democracy-based world order in the future,” said Gen John Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, U.S. Space Force. “The recommendations, if followed, have the power to unite and unleash the full innovation, technological and industrial capability of the U.S. and the benefit of all humanity.”
The report paints a picture of a U.S. space industrial base that is tactically strong but strategically fragile. While the pace of innovation and investment in the U.S. is at an all-time high, participants cautioned that this will not be sustained without strategic direction, robust adoption of commercial space capabilities, strategic workforce development, attention to fragile domestic supply lines, and addressing the anemic funding to prototype, validate and accelerate the adoption of innovative and disruptive space capabilities for national security.
Major themes articulated by participants included how space is relevant to, and must be framed by: the relationship to America’s priorities of infrastructure, manufacturing, jobs, climate change, talent and serving as a platform for foreign policy soft-power and public diplomacy.
Participants asserted major opportunities exist:
to set a national vision;
to build an inclusive Cislunar economy;
to set key technical and behavioral standards which advantage democracies;
to leverage existing commercial satellite capabilities for a Hybrid Space Architecture enabling Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2);
to create a space internet;
to build a space superhighway for logistics; and
to apply space solutions to Presidential and Secretary of Defense priorities for climate change.
However, the participants cautioned that to secure American leadership, numerous near-term issues must be addressed to sustain the current pace.
About the State of the Space Industrial Base Series
The State of the Space Industrial Base series of conferences and reports are sponsored jointly by the Defense Innovation Unit, United States Space Force, and Air Force Research Laboratory. The events have been hosted by NewSpace New Mexico.