Space and Missile Systems Center will play a key role in Congress’s requirement that DOD develop operationally responsive space capabilities, Lt. Gen. Michael Hamel, commander of SMC said Tuesday at a breakfast meeting with Washington-based defense reporters. He explained: “We today and for the past 40 years have been the stewards for DOD’s space test program. We fly routinely experiments and satellites for the Air Force and other agencies.” In fact, he said that SMC has already made some organizational realignments to meet the new requirements, because “we think these two things together, operationally responsive space and our already ongoing space test program will provide very good synergy.” However, Hamel was quick to point out, “There’s got to be resources to get put into this because we can’t just hope for—imagine—that there’s going to be satellites and launchers.”
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.