Wilson, Griffin at Odds Over How to Create Military Space Development Agency

Mike Griffin

Space News reports that Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and former NASA administrator Mike Griffin, who serves as undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, are at odds over how to create a new space development agency designed to transform how the military creates advanced space technologies.

In her memo, Wilson suggests the Space Development Agency should be organized under the existing Space Rapid Capabilities Office and that it should be geographically and organizationally connected to U.S. Space Command. She recommends using “existing structures designed and chartered to acquire capabilities rapidly, rather than establishing new structures.”

Griffin is proposing a new D.C.-based agency with a staff of 112 government personnel that would report to him initially, but eventually would shift to the control of a new assistant secretary of defense for space, an office that would first have to be approved by Congress.

In Wilson’s plan, the Space Development Agency and other acquisition organizations would transition to the new Department of the Space Force. She pointedly pushes back on the idea of having an assistant secretary of defense for space or a Space Development Agency that reports to that office. She argues that such a setup would create additional bureaucracy that would be removed from the operators who use and maintain the equipment.

The space development agency is part of an effort by the Trump Administration to establish an independent space force within the Department of Defense.

  • Robert G. Oler

    the idiot

  • redneck

    I agree that anything with Griffin in it needs extreme scrutiny.

  • James

    Wilson is waiting for trump and others to go out of power so she can drop it all.

    The AF does NOT want another agency to fight with or to lose any tax dollars because they lost a set of jobs.

  • duheagle

    Mike’s wanting to get back to his old job of empire building it seems.

  • Tom Billings

    The ability of people to focus on personalities instead of policies is amazing to me.

    The Space Development Agency is to be *temporarily* under Griffin in his plan. In the Air Staff’s plan it is to be bereft of anything but the AF Rapid Capabilities Office, instead of including the Air Force Research Laboratory and other groups included today under the USAF budget.

    Yes, Mike Griffin has a history, but so does the Air Staff. Its history is less personalized, and thus more ignored. The AF plan would throw parts of NASA and NOAA, and several different agencies into a Space Force, all of which have their own patrons in Congress. The desire to “poison the pill” at the level of Congress in the AF plan is obvious.

    By contrast, starting with 112 employees is *not* a budget buster, especially compared with the Air Staff plan. It allows a short, low-cost hierarchy. The Air Staff plan is for the smallest AF budget possible to move over to the Space Force, while maximizing the bureaucracy costs they purport to abhor. The plan put forward outside the Air Staff starts small, and will carefully grow a new Service.

    Yet the person temporarily involved in it has a history, that cannot be ignored, but should not obscure the policy itself. I don’t like SLS and its progenitors any more than anyone else. I see no reason to believe this will be another SLS.

  • publiusr

    Guys, it was Mike Griffin who was with Elon Musk and encouraged him to build his own rockets. The Russians laughed at him. Had the former Soviets had better manners, Musk would have put a few rats on Mars, and that would have been that.


  • redneck

    So your position is that he was good until he got paid off to foist the disasters of the Ares 1 and 5 on us?

  • publiusr

    Same philosophy. He may have pushed for engine-out and larger size for Falcon. Mike belived in LV growth. We went the wrong way with the idea of shrinking payloads. The old Soviet philosophy that Mike shared was–make the rocket bigger.

  • redneck

    Except he forgot the part about actually building the rocket.