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Space Systems Command to lead new office for security against missile threats

September 15, 2022  - By

New Combined Program Office to enhance U.S. ability to prevail against threats in space, including new hypersonic weapons

Space Systems Command emblemSpace Systems Command (SSC) is leading a new tri-agency Combined Program Office (CPO) comprised of representatives from SSC, the Space Development Agency (SDA) and the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). The CPO was established on Aug. 19 to enhance the United States’ ability to deter, defend and win against competitors’ challenges in space.

The Space Acquisition Council, established by Congress to manage space procurements across the Department of Defense, concurred on the CPO proposal, enabling the coordinated development and fielding of capabilities in the missile warning (MW), missile tracking (MT), and missile defense (MD) mission areas.

The CPO will address growing challenges resulting from the transition of space from a peaceful domain to one that is congested, contested and competitive. Other nations now challenge access to and movement in space, and have demonstrated the capability and intent to hold U.S. and allied space assets at risk.

“The MW/MT/MD mission is driving the U.S. Space Force’s new ‘requirements to execution’ roadmap, rapidly turning USSF Force Design into operational capabilities that will outpace and defeat very determined threats,” said U.S. Space Force Col. Brian Denaro, Space Sensing program executive officer and leader of the new CPO. “Our adversaries continue to develop missile technologies that are faster burning, dimmer and more maneuverable. This Combined Program Office, in partnership with SDA and MDA, will drive critical integration across a new resilient multilayer architecture that will warn, track and defeat these increasingly advanced and elusive missile threats.”

Establishing this partnership among MW/MT/MD acquisition organizations will enhance the interface between requirements, operators and users, optimizing delivery of integrated and resilient sensor-to-shooter capabilities for the United States and its allies.

“We are focused on delivering MW/MT/MD capabilities to the warfighter and the nation,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Alexander Rasmussen, Tranche 1 Tracking Layer program manager, SDA. “The Combined Program Office is a critical component in delivering this capability and enabling our nation to counter hypersonic and advanced missile threats. Together, SDA, MDA and SSC will ensure a synchronized end-to-end capability that sets the foundation for a continually evolving and advancing MW/MT/MD architecture.”

“With the emerging advanced threats, space-based sensors are essential to missile defense,” said Walter Chai, director for space sensors at MDA. “The close collaboration between SDA, SSC and MDA will ensure that we are able to defeat these threats.”

The CPO organizational structure integrates strategic decision-making across the interagency, establishing:

  1. clear roles, responsibilities, and authorities for SSC, SDA, MDA and other mission partners
  2. end-to-end system of systems accountability between requirements and weapon system delivery
  3. development and management of standards (models, open architecture, data, etc.)
  4. integration with operators, combatant commands and other weapon systems.

Space Systems Command is the U.S. Space Force field command responsible for rapidly identifying, prototyping and fielding resilient space capabilities for joint warfighters. SSC delivers sustainable joint space warfighting capabilities to defend the nation and its allies, while disrupting adversaries in the contested space domain. SSC mission areas include launch acquisition and operations; space domain awareness; positioning, navigation and timing; missile warning; satellite communication; and cross-mission ground, command and control, and data.

About the Author:


Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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