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Pentagon edges closer to embracing commercial space tech

The Pentagon is edging closer to launching a landmark initiative that will allow commercial space technology to be integrated within US military units for the first time.

The long-muted Commercial Augmentation Space Reserve (CASR) program is now aiming to sign its first contracts before the end of the year, with an industry session planned for August.

It comes with commercial space companies globally increasingly creating technologies and innovations far more advanced than those commissioned via traditional government deals.

Speaking at a business roundtable in Washington, Colonel Richard Kniseley said he is determined to release the first CASR contracts before the end of the year.


Colonel Kniseley leads a 90-personnel office that monitors and assesses space capabilities for the US Department of Defense.

“We will be building out our strategies for threat sharing, incentives to join CASR and working with the operational community to develop concepts in order to make this a success,” he said.

“We will continue to have conversations with industry, release documents for comment and build more partnerships with government entities. This is a voluntary partnership.”

Companies eligible to participate in CASR have to provide products deemed essential to operations and prove they have the potential to scale up in times of war.


These products would be designed to seamlessly integrate with military infrastructure rather than simply being a backup.

In return, companies would also gain access to valuable threat intelligence.

“I expect it to be some really good learning because we’ve never done this before,” Kniseley said.

“But I hope it to be a repeatable process across the other mission areas, knowing that each mission area is going to be different.

“The H-clauses [special terms] for SATCOM [satellite communications] will not be the same H-clauses for space domain awareness or [surveillance, reconnaissance and tracking], or any of those other ones.”

The news comes with both the commander overseeing the US Space Force’s Indo-Pacific team and the Under Secretary of the US Air Force set to headline Space Connect’s upcoming Australian Space Summit & Exhibition.

Kristyn E. Jones is one of the most senior figures involved in the US Space Force and oversees the entire US Air Force’s annual budget of more than $205 billion.

As part of her role, she also directs the US Air Force’s strategy and policy development, weapons acquisition and technology investments while being the principal adviser to the Secretary of the Air Force, Frank Kendall.

Our event takes place on the 28 and 29 May at the ICC in Sydney. To find out more and book tickets, click here.

Jones joins our line-up of headliners, including Virgin Galactic, the new head of Australia’s Space Command and the head of the Australian Space Agency.

Adam Thorn

Adam Thorn

Adam is a journalist who has worked for more than 40 prestigious media brands in the UK and Australia. Since 2005, his varied career has included stints as a reporter, copy editor, feature writer and editor for publications as diverse as Fleet Street newspaper The Sunday Times, fashion bible Jones, media and marketing website Mumbrella as well as lifestyle magazines such as GQ, Woman’s Weekly, Men’s Health and Loaded. He joined Momentum Media in early 2020 and currently writes for Australian Aviation and World of Aviation.

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