WASHINGTON — U.S. Space Force officials will meet next month with industry leaders and key international partners to discuss a strategy for supply chain resiliency.
The discussions will be led by the service’s acquisition arm, Space Systems Command, and will include representatives from the U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany and Japan. The event, dubbed a reverse industry day, will give those partners as well as space executives a chance to share their perspectives on supply chain challenges and opportunities, according to a command spokesman.
“It is imperative that we work together strategically to establish resilient supply chains and logistics to achieve results that, as a body, we may not be able to achieve alone,” SSC spokesman Edgar Nava told C4ISRNET in a Sept. 21 statement.
The international industry day is slated for Oct. 25 and 26 in Chantilly, Va., and is the first of its kind for SSC, according to Deanna Ryals, director of international affairs for the command.
Speaking Sept. 13 at the DSEI conference in London, Ryals said the event and its focus on foundational, shared supply chain concerns “underpins the idea that we’re going to work together early and often.”
The premise of reverse industry days is that rather than brief stakeholders after a requirement has been set, Space Systems Command wants to gather feedback prior to developing those plans. SSC has been convening with space firms and other partners in this format since early last year.
The upcoming event, mostly held at the unclassified level, will include a “secret” intelligence briefing on global supply chain threats, presentations from each of the countries and discussions around how to integrate resilience and leverage technology to improve security and visibility.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted concerns about vulnerabilities within the global supply chain, including for space technology. A 2022 report on the state of the space industrial base, crafted by U.S. Defense Department leaders, found that while the country’s space sector has grown significantly in recent years, there hasn’t been enough investment in building up its supply base.
“The space industry needs greater clarity on the health, strengths and vulnerabilities of critical components in its supply chain,” the report states. “The supply chain for satellites, launch infrastructure, advanced communications and other critical space-enabling technologies should be considered critical as part of space infrastructure.”
The report also called for more collaboration with international partners on this and other topics in order to “improve collective capability and interoperability.”
Courtney Albon is C4ISRNET’s space and emerging technology reporter. She has covered the U.S. military since 2012, with a focus on the Air Force and Space Force. She has reported on some of the Defense Department’s most significant acquisition, budget and policy challenges.