Space Development Agency is now officially part of the Space Force

The Space Development Agency (SDA) has officially transitioned to the United States Space Force (USSF). Since its inception in 2019 under the US Department of Defense (DOD) Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD R&E), the SDA has been tasked with transforming the DOD’s acquisition culture regarding space systems, and has focused on a transition to more agile, rapidly field-able systems that leverage innovations of the commercial space sector.

As national security space interests shift towards using commercial capabilities, major concerns have been previously raised as to the resilience and security of such systems and components. Traditionally, space systems for defense have been large, high-powered, purpose-built systems, that undergo rigorous testing and verification. Commercial entities, on the other hand, tend to operate under a move-fast-and-break-things mantra, often pushing for first-to-market capabilities in a space with increasing commercial interest. Supply-chain attacks have long been attempted against tangential business ventures, and will likely continue to be a threat against commercial space companies as well. Ensuring rigorous test and verification procedures exist is a good starting point for securing these new, rapidly field-able systems, but security is not a bolt-on widget that can easily be applied. In some instances, a ground-up re-think may be necessary to safe-guard potentially critical assets.