Operationally Responsive Space

  • Published
  • By Sheila Rupp
  • Nucleus Journalist
The Department of Defense executive agent for space and under secretary of the Air Force, Dr. Ron Sega, joined with local congressional leaders and members of Team Kirtland to stand up the joint Operationally Responsive Space Office here May 21. 

Col. Kevin McLaughlin, commander of the Space Development and Test Wing here, will also serve as the first director of the ORS Office. 

Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, commander, Air Force Space Command, Peterson AFB, Colo.; Lt. Gen. C. Robert Kehler, deputy commander, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt AFB, Neb., Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas; and Rep. Heather Wilson of New Mexico, along with many other members of Team Kirtland and surrounding communities, were in attendance at the ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony. 

"Many government organizations and agencies, to include all the military agencies, have been working together on the operationally responsive space effort," Dr. Sega said. "The official stand-up of the joint ORS Office will be an important step for the future of ORS, providing a critical link in synchronizing the cooperative, joint efforts throughout DOD and the national security space area." 

Operationally responsive space is a concept of meeting new requirements within months and getting new capabilities into the hands of those who need them. Today's battlefields routinely show a need for enhanced space operations to help the warfighter. Operationally responsive space requires current technologies to be quickly developed and executed from conception to operation in order to fulfill the needs of the warfighter. ORS Office programs will be dictated by those in warfighting positions, and ORS personnel will have the task of anticipating the needs of those warfighters to prepare capabilities or be able to create necessary capabilities within a short period of time. 

The ORS Office here will be focused on smaller satellites, smaller boosters and getting those capabilities into the hands of the warfighter. 

"The ORS Office will provide assured space power, focused on timely satisfaction based on the joint commander's needs. The focus will also include the ability to launch, activate and employ low-cost military-useful satellites, provide search capability, reconstitute and augment existing capability, while providing timely availabilities of tailor-made, unique capabilities," Dr. Sega said. 

Although there are several entities within the Air Force, several of them here, involved with small satellite capabilities, the ORS will be different because of the immediate turnaround of capabilities into the hands of the warfighter. 

"This ORS capability is not meant to replace or make irrelevant what is already the world's most powerful space nation. ... It's meant to plug into and augment to make the entire enterprise better," Colonel McLaughlin said. 

The stand-up event included members of the many organizations that have been involved in ORS activities to date, including the Army, Navy, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, Missile Defense Agency and NASA. 

"Not only will there be fast and rapid development capability, but we need to stay focused on making sure we have something that will last beyond the experiment phase. We'll build the infrastructure, have the people that can operate it, and the logistics and the sustainment that are behind it," General Chilton said. 

"Plan for Operationally Responsive Space," a report signed by Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England and delivered to Congress in late April, called for the establishment of an ORS office. 

The report states that, "... The Department of Defense is committed to improving the nation's means to develop, acquire, field and employ space capabilities in shortened timeframes and more affordable. We recognize the need for innovation and responsiveness in delivering space capabilities to all users." 

The technology and programs employed at the ORS Office will ensure that U.S. warfighters will have the capabilities they need when they need them most.