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Pentagon Releases First Commercial Space Strategy

Rocket Lab launched a mission for the NRO last month. Image: Rocket Lab

The Pentagon on Tuesday released its long-awaited strategy for working more closely with the commercial space sector, which includes plans to boost cooperation during times of peace and protect commercial assets in times of conflict. 

The document is the agency’s first Commercial Space Integration Strategy, DoD space policy chief John Plumb told reporters. 

“Our military relies on space every single day,” Plumb said. “To protect our men and women in uniform and to ensure the space services they rely on will be available when needed, the department has a responsibility to leverage all tools available, and those tools include commercial solutions.”

Top priorities: The document lays out four lines of effort for the Pentagon to more effectively work with private companies.

  • Using commercial technology across a range of DoD space missions, and setting clear expectations with industry
  • Building bridges during peacetime, before crisis hits
  • Including companies in Defense Department wargames and training exercises (a key ask from industry during listening sessions to craft the strategy, Plumb said)
  • Reducing risk for commercial assets in space by establishing norms of behavior, sharing threat intel, and exploring different insurance options.

Culture shock: Plumb acknowledged it could be difficult for the often opaque Pentagon to become more open to working with industry, but he said the benefits of doing so should be obvious to troops. 

“Right now, it’s very clear across the department that the commercial sector has the ability to move at a faster speed than we can move in many ways, bringing innovation in ways that maybe don’t match our normal pace,” he said.

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