DECEMBER 6, 2023 – The U.S. Space Force Space Operations Command stood up two provisional Integrated Mission Deltas in October, organizing service activities around mission areas instead of functional specialties to strengthen unity of command for readiness and energizing unity of effort for capability development.
After two months of operating under the new construct, IMDs are reporting emerging successes.
Three areas of critical improvements have been identified by the Guardians of Space Delta 3 (Electromagnetic Warfare) and Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Delta – Provisional: synchronized testing to improve acquisition; increased response rate of intel assessments; and acceleration of operational effects.
“IMDs are designed to bring the best talent from across a mission area and focus their efforts on achieving unified mission readiness, accelerate development, fielding and presentation of combat-ready forces,” according to U.S. Space Force Col. Andrew Menschner, provisional PNT IMD commander. “We started to see the effects of IMD integration right away.”
Through combining functional areas under one commander, IMDs hope to streamline operations and increase capability development.
“IMDs combine units in SpOC that perform mission generation, intelligence support, and cyber defense with program offices in Space Systems Command that conduct sustainment activities,” said U.S. Space Force Col. Marc Brock, SpOC director of Combat Power. “The goal of the IMD structure is to have all the expertise you need to generate ready forces together in one command team.”
For example, operators from the 2nd Space Operations Squadron are now incorporated into ongoing acquisition Formal Qualification Testing, where previously it was uncommon to support in this way because acquisition program managers were in a separate Field Command and could not directly task an operator to attend. FQT is important as it is a last test of mission software and platform requirements at the factory before the newly developed systems is tested at the operational site, and it provides a “report card” for system maturity and readiness.
“Having operators participate in development testing, alongside acquirers, ensures the delivered system meets mission needs,” Menschner said.
The IMDs are also designed to enhance readiness and rapid response.
The increased response rate of intel assessment is another byproduct of the IMD structure. Under the new unity of command, intelligence personnel are embedded directly into the Deltas, “which is allowing Intel talent to specialize in specific mission areas, opening the door for improved tailoring of requirements to respond to threats,” said U.S. Space Force Col. Nicole Petrucci, commander of Space Delta 3.
It is believed these noted successes will drive the acceleration of operational effects.
“The owner of mission now has all the resources, authorities, and responsibilities to solve or manage challenges facing our Guardians,” Brock said. “This has enabled tailored, agile responses to improve our ability to generate combat-ready forces.”
The Space Force will continue to assess, iterate, and adapt the Unified Mission Readiness approach so that it can be extended to other mission areas across the Space Force.
By Ashley George
Space Operations Command Public Affairs