Officials from the U.S. Space Force Technology and Innovation Office addressed several challenges they have encountered as a new military service and how the private sector can help during a virtual event hosted by AFCEA on Feb. 10.


The Technology and Innovation Office aims to gain an asymmetric advantage for the USSF by leveraging innovation and technology to move faster – not only catching up but leap-frogging the pacing threat in several key areas.


According to Dr. Lisa Costa, the chief technology and innovation officer (CTIO) for the USSF, the agency is cultivating a workforce of “guardians” born into a digital world and leveraging their digital literacy to reach across borders and build a multinational, collaborative mission environment.


“We are the only U.S. military service established during the Information Age,” Costa said. “The Space Force has this unique opportunity to be ‘born digital,’ and we’re seizing on that opportunity.”


To do this, Costa explains, the USSF must embrace the Information Age tools at their disposal to ensure the space domain is secure, stable, and accessible.


“The USSF will become the world’s first fully Digital Service. We will be an interconnected, innovative, digitally dominant force,” she said


As part of that mission, Col. Charles Galbreath, the deputy CTIO for the USSF, said the CTIO would set an initial course for the USSF’s digital transformation and manage digital implementations across the service. But as they strive to accomplish this, Galbreath explained, they have been inundated with ideas from industry partners but lack the resources to respond.


“Right now, we are struggling with a lack of resources to deal with this flood of good ideas,” Galbreath said. “There is a need for a CTIO team whose skills and priorities align with the USSF mission. And we are working on that, but we ask our industry partners to be patient because this will take time.”


Col. Steve Landry, director of innovation and digital transformation (IDT) at the USSF, agreed with Galbreath’s assessment. Asking industry to be patient because, “although we are small, lean, and agile, we cannot change as quickly as a commercial organization.”  


Landry also explained that USSF operated in an “analog industrial age bureaucratic world,” which hindered the creation of a digital service. Essentially, there is an increasing need to change the legacy service culture at the USSF to effectively conduct global space operations to protect the United States and allied interests.


“To do this, we need industry to help us identify best practices that will help us achieve our goal of becoming a digital service,” he said.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.