OCTOBER 29, 2019 – Defense Department officials today announced the selection of Derek Tournear as the first permanent director of the Space Development Agency.
Established in March, the SDA is responsible for unifying and integrating DOD’s space development efforts, monitoring the department’s threat-driven future space architecture and accelerating the fielding of new military space capabilities necessary to ensure U.S. technological and military advantages in space.
To achieve this mission, SDA is defining the National Defense Space Architecture — an integrated, coherent architecture capable of addressing the eight critical, yet unmet, priorities of the DOD Space Vision.
To address these eight priorities, the future National Defense Space Architecture will include a proliferated satellite constellation consisting of six space layers and one ground layer. SDA will orchestrate and unify those efforts across the department, and fill capability gaps while ensuring an integrated architecture.
“Our strategy is to unify efforts across the military services and government agencies to rapidly develop capabilities that are responsive to the threat, are cost-effective, and increase our technological advantage,” said Michael Griffin, the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering. ”Derek will lead our effort to achieve those goals.”
Tournear most recently served as the assistant director for space at DOD’s research and engineering office. He previously served as the senior scientist for space activities and space technologies in the Office of Smart Collection at the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, and as a program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. He also has professional experience at Los Alamos National Laboratory and spent time working in research and development for the industry. Tournear has a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University and a bachelor’s from Purdue University.