WASHINGTON — A plan to establish a commercial space reserve to ensure the U.S. military has access to commercial satellites during conflicts is moving closer to completion, U.S. Space Force leaders said Oct. 18.
Under a program known as Commercial Augmentation Space Reserve (CASR), the Space Force will establish agreements with companies to ensure services like satellite communications and remote sensing are prioritized for U.S. government use during national security emergencies.
U.S. Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman said a plan to implement a commercial space reserve has been approved by Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall. He described the program as an example of prudent planning so the military rapidly access commercial services if a crisis erupts.
CASR is about “doing the planning and the expectation management before you actually need the capability,” Saltzman said during a fireside chat at the Center for a New American Security.
The strategy identifies “areas that we know we can use commercial augmentation,” he said, such as satellite communications and imagery.
“In a time of crisis or in a natural disaster, I may need to increase the scale of imagery that’s available,” said Saltzman.
CASR would “pre-work the contract vehicles, stating how we would get access to services rapidly if we needed to, so that when the crisis occurs, we don’t then start the contracting action and we’ve already done a lot of that legwork.”
Lt. Gen. Michael Guetlein, commander of the Space Systems Command, said Oct. 18 that the funding for the CASR program would be requested in the 2025 and 2026 budgets.
“We’ve got permission from the Secretary of the Air Force to move out on that strategy,” Guetlein said at the AFCEA Space Industry Days conference in Los Angeles.
“A commercially augmented space reserve is about building capacity for times of crisis or conflict during peacetime,” said Guetlein….