Air Force Secretary Michael Donley has designated the USAF undersecretary position—currently occupied by Erin Conaton—as “the senior Air Force official for space matters” at the headquarters level. This includes being the focal point for planning, policy, strategy, international relations, space interagency relations, and interfacing with the Office of the Secretary of Defense on space matters, Donley wrote in a memo issued Thursday. There is one exception: space acquisition oversight shifts from the undersecretary’s office to the purview of USAF’s assistant secretary for acquisition, thereby consolidating all service acquisition functions—space and non-space—under one office, according to the memo. These changes are among the senior-level realignments that Donley has ordered following a review of USAF’s headquarters space functions (see below). Conaton, in her post since March, is already playing the leading role in USAF’s energy matters. (DOD release) (Donley memo) (Space management review)
Reports of production troubles on the SpaceX rocket that could contend for military cargo deliveries happened to coincide with a different company’s concept receiving an early nod—one that might not require a rocket at all.