Kendall merges Air Force acquisition offices to support Space Force

The shakeup aims to reinvigorate Space Force acquisition while it waits for congressionally approved leadership.
A Falcon 9 rocket carrying SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft launches on the Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley onboard on May 30, 2020, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. (Photo by SpaceX via Getty Images)

New secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall said he is moving the service’s Space Acquisition Directorate into the Space Acquisition and Integration Office, he announced Tuesday.

The announcement, which he said was effective immediately, is meant to bolster the nascent acquisition enterprise of the Space Force, which sits under the larger Department of the Air Force. Kendall said that it was a needed step to support acquisition capability within the newest branch of the military.

“One area where we have not done enough yet is in the acquisition capacity of the Department of the Air Force,” he said during the Space Foundation’s Space Symposium.

Space Force leaders had promised that its acquisition enterprise would be “agile” and not allow the traditionally slow bureaucratic process of the military to hamper its ability to buy tech and space assets. So far, some members of Congress have expressed disappointment over the service’s progress.


Kendall also named an acting leader for space acquisition, Brig. Gen. Steve Whitney, who currently oversees space development and purchasing within the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force.

Congress created a new space acquisition civilian role to lead a more agile approach for purchasing the tech that the new force will need to operate in space. While Kendall has not named someone yet for that role, he said he is reviewing several candidates and a nomination could come soon.

Shawn Barnes has been leading space acquisition in an acting capacity but will “move on to another leadership position” soon, Kendall said.

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