The Space Force wants more ‘indigenous software experts’ that can write code

Jay Raymond Space Symposium

General Jay Raymond performs at the 36th Annual Space Symposium. (Space Foundation)

AFA 2022 – Space Force leader wants to build “native software experts” who know how to code while aiming for ba digital and data-focused service.

At today’s Air and Space Forces Association conference, Chief of Space Operations, Gen. Jay Raymond, said the Space Force is “working really hard” to develop digitally-savvy Guardians who will do more programming through programs like Supra Coders, a three-month immersive can programming school. He added that there are currently “close to 100” Guardians who have gone through the program.

“One of the things we’re working on is that we have a program that we call Supra Coders, and we’re trying to incorporate native software experts into our service… And then when we’re developing these Supra Coders, we’re looking, where is the best place to put them,” said Raymond. “And that’s why we put them in software factories… We put them in innovation cells in our deltas to give them the tough challenges to work on and to see if they can code to be able to help us and there are some really good examples of where we’ve made some progress by incorporating these people into our operators.”

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The Space Force unveiled its “vision for a digital service” [PDF] last May, which defined what the digital service would look like through four main points: Increasing the digital literacy of the entire workforce, promoting common all-domain solutions through digital operations, establishing a data-driven digital headquarters and adopting digital engineering.

“And in our force design work that we’ve done, we’ve done all of this digitally and using model-based systems engineering, we’ve come to the digital models, both for the threat that we see and for the architectural design that we want to move too,” Raymond said today. “And then, instead of just printing out documents, we actually made the computer models and gave those to the industry and said what we think of it.”

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Beyond the Force design, Raymond added that the approach could be used for requirements from acquisition to testing and training Guardians all using the same digital thread.

“This is Nirvana. We’re not close to that,” he said. “But we’ve made… a good first step. We did the digital design, we figure out what the digital requirements process is. And I think it will pay off significantly for us down the road.”

Meanwhile, the Space Force is also looking at ways to cut red tape and “engineer” a culture of innovation that ties things from the other military services together. Up to this point, Raymond has said that Space Force will be hosting a “session on culture” over the next few weeks.

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“And what we’re going to do is figure out, rather than just seeing where the winds take us when we fuse these cultures together, are we going to look at how we purposefully evolve the culture?” he said. “What do we need to do? Things like cut down on bureaucracy. What are these other things that we should be doing to develop the culture that we want to spit out on the other side?

“Rather than just evolving and emerging, we will work to figure out how best to take what we have today to where we want to be.”

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