Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, told SpaceNews in an interview posted Wednesday he believes Defense Department leaders such as Michael Griffin, defense undersecretary for research and engineering, and Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan understand the need to accelerate the space procurement process.
Hyten and Griffin are both 2018 Wash100 recipients.
Hyten said he thinks the U.S. military should aim for space launch costs below $100 million and develop satellites within three to five years in order to keep its competitive edge in space.
The military should pursue the development of smaller satellites that could be replaced immediately in the event of an attack and introduce changes to the procurement of ground-based terminals and computers used to control satellites, he noted.
“We have to get to modular spacecraft where we can take existing government or commercial buses and integrate new payloads,” he added.
Hyten said he has initiated talks with Gen. Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and head of the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, about the need to address issues with the requirements definition process that appears to slow down the deployment of new systems.
Selva “is now putting mandates on the bureaucracy to go fast… The key is to focus on capabilities,” Hyten added.