Of any of the armed services, the United States Air Force should know the most about speed. Their pilots, who historically rose to the service’s top ranks, fly the fastest fighters in the American arsenal. Yet, there are times when moving as fast as you can may not be fast enough.
This paper goes into detail on the next steps the United States should be considering to enhance our national security, secure our access to space, as well as to gain value for money from taxpayers.
The paper notes:
- The United States purchases Russian RD-180 engines, which are used in the American Atlas V heavy-lift rocket.
- This procurement helps support Russian missile technology and other military developments.
- Russia’s aggressive policies towards peripheral countries add a sense of urgency to finding an alternative to the RD-180 engine.
- The Air Force has an opportunity to accelerate and refine its plans to spur competition in the military space-launch sector.
- It is important to see the focus on competition within the EELV program as an opportunity to show that the Defense Department can keep up the pace with cutting-edge technologies and business practices.