SMC building will host the command-and-control operations
Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) is finalizing the development of the prototype phase to allow it to embark on the command-and-control operations (C2 Ops) for the DoD satellites. SMC is planning to enumerate the acquisition process that will be included in the 2023 budget. The program manager of Enterprise Ground Services (EGS), Joshua Sullivan, stated that they are compiling the acquisition strategy before they can present it to the agency’s board for approval and implementation. He added that they would involve Space Force for appropriation to this project in the next financial plan.
The aim of the acquisition strategy is to establish a common ground system that everyone will use to run their GPS satellites. Additionally, the system will allow technicians of the mission-specific satellites to plug in their softwares and hardware to proceed with their missions effectively. Lt. Col. Kellie Brownlee, head of the Future Ground Integration Branch at SMC, explained this new system to the media and, in his address advocating for it. EGS started operations in 2014 with the support of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) after research on the efficiency of the system by the Government Accountability Office. The support documents reveal that EGS was established to mitigate the challenges, constraints, and vulnerabilities emerging from the traditional satellite ground systems that had become inefficient and expensive to restructure. Other factors that led to its creation include the desire to improve the network cybersecurity amid the incessant threats from China and Russia, whose technology was slightly advanced.
Sullivan articulated that Air and Space Forces’ same energy is channeling into the automation and digitization of their systems is what has propelled EGS to shift from vendor-restricted systems to open software standards. These standards will enable the DoD to adjust to the industry changes that characterize the C2 operations. The Sullivan team has a lot of work to do since each unit has to run with the schedule to develop and finalize the missile warning and encrypted communications system. Some units are dealing with the C2 systems ranging from the antennas, software, receivers, and terminals that will make the DoD satellite network operators.
EGS is standardizing the architecture that will help the agency stand out from the other space entities. The supportive infrastructure is in its final development stage to ensure that the prototype phase takes shape before the system is commercialized. Common operations are being sorted to help the engineers deliver their services effectively. Hopefully, the system will be ready before the rival countries launch surprise moves.