Improving defense of US space assets isn't rocket science. Oh wait
Can Booz Allen Hamilton get systems engineered with $630M and 7 years?
The US Space Force is doing something about its underdeveloped ability to detect threats with the award of a $630 million contract to Booz Allen Hamilton to help get its tech in order.
BAH's seven-year deal with the USSF will support systems engineering and integration of the USSF's space-based missile warning system, along with its environmental monitoring and surveillance missions.
As we've reported previously, the USSF's ability to counter orbital threats is lacking, according to the branch's former deputy chief technical and innovation officer, who in June authored a report concluding that the US was being outpaced by Russia and China.
Additionally, it's only been a couple of months since the Space Force stood up its first unit dedicated to target analysis, development, and engagement – something you'd think would have been part of the plan when the branch was formed a little less than four years ago.
BAH's work over the next seven years should address some of these shortcomings, but it already has a late start. The contract was reportedly awarded last year, but has been on hold as protests from other bidders were worked out.
"As part of this work, Booz Allen will support Space Systems Command (SSC) – the Space Force field command for space development, acquisition, launch, and logistics – in engineering resilient space sensing capabilities," the contractor said.
Along with its systems engineering work, BAH will be helping the USSF integrate its Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared satellite constellation for missile warning and tracking. That incredibly expensive system may already be obsolete before it's launched thanks to the USSF rethinking the type of orbit its missile-monitoring sats should have, with future constellations planned for lower orbits.
- Pentagon dumps $1.5B more into military sat network that's already slipping behind
- China can destroy US space assets, Space Force ops nominee warns
- US Space Force unit to monitor region beyond Earth's geosynchronous orbit
- US pushes next phase of satellite missile defense system
OK, so maybe things won't be perfect.
BAH said it'll also be providing digital engineering, mission integration, agile software development, cybersecurity, change management, AI, and machine learning support "to help the Space Force achieve its vision for a Digital Service."
"This partnership reaffirms Booz Allen's position as a leader in building and delivering world-class, mission-critical systems engineering, cyber architecture, and remote sensing capabilities to sustain US space superiority," said Eric Hoffman, vice president and leader in Booz Allen's space business.
We asked BAH and the USSF for comment, but haven't heard back from either. ®