Fred Kennedy who is currently serving as Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Tactical Technology Office head will be the first director of the Defense Department’s new Space Development Agency. The name of Kennedy was chosen after he led a study on organizing SDA (Space Development Agency) by Mike Griffin (Undersecretary for Defense Department). Initially, in January, Patrick Shanahan (Defense Secretary) chose Mike Griffin to run SDA under his leadership and after two months Griffin announced Kennedy as director.
In the space memo published in ‘space news’ by Griffin, he requested $149.8 million to set up the SDA in the year 2020. He stated that the agency can be started initially by 50 employees with 30 civilians and 20 military officials. The idea of developing SDA was first popped in the month of August when Griffin addressed the Congress on how the Pentagon can develop a new military branch for Space. Heather Wilson (Air Force Secretary) however, suggested developing the SDA parallel to Air Force Space Rapid Capability Office which was then declined by Shanahan. Both Kennedy and Griffin are in favor to use the open space technologies in developing small scale missiles and satellites which will be economical and by launching many of these small-sized satellites, the presence of the USA will be increased in Space.
Talking about Kennedy’s experience, he has spent around 23 years in US Air Force and got retired on the position of a colonel, from 2005-2008 he was working with DARPA as a Program Manager. He has been the DARPA’s Tactical Officer since 2017. Since SDA has been in light, the question has been raised that what impact will this new agency fall on Air Force Space and Missile System Center which is located in Los Angles and around 6000 people are employed here. FFRDC (Federally Funded Research and Development Center) through its reviews and conducted studies for SMC earn millions of dollars. Resources which are familiar with Griffin said that SDA is not going to take over SMC but will eventually enhance the portfolio of space.