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Space Command focuses on tailoring mission with new triad

8/17/2006 - SAN ANTONIO (AFPN)  -- Strategic deterrence, securing the space domain and recapitalizing on a lesser budget are among the priorities for the Air Force Space Command commander.

In keeping with the theme, "Global missions... meeting the challenge," Gen. Kevin P. Chilton spoke on the future of Air Force space missions at the 9th Annual Space and Missile Defense Conference and Exhibition in Huntsville, Ala., taking place Aug. 14 to 17.

A new triad of offensive capabilities, defensive capabilities and a responsive defense infrastructure are enabled by persistent global command and control, intelligence and agile planning systems, General Chilton said.

This significantly expands the command's role, he said.

"The United States still has enemies that must be deterred," General Chilton said. "That deterrence needs to be tailored. Our charge is to provide the president with a wider, more flexible range of options. Strategic deterrence is our first line of defense," General Chilton said. 

But, with $12 billion less available in the next five years Dr. Ronald M. Sega, under secretary of the Air Force, and Lt. Gen. Michael A. Hamel, commander of Space and Missile Systems Center, are working toward a back to basics and block development approach to acquisition.

This is done by "remaining committed to dramatically reducing the time to bring technology to the warfighter (and) ... mitigating risk across the entire space portfolio," the general said.

"As Dr. Sega likes to call it -- our 'crawl before you walk' and 'walk before you run' strategy," General Chilton said.

The general said unrealistic estimates of technology maturity and system complexity combined with insufficient management have led to schedule slips and cost increases. The "evolutionary" block development approach will allow the command to gradually introduce technology, promoting those capabilities into demonstrations and then ultimately operational programs.

"This is not new. It's a tried and true recipe for success," General Chilton said. "We know how to do this, if we follow the recipe," he said. "The solution lies in our ability to work together."

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