The U.S. Space Force (USSF) has released its Space Test Enterprise Vision to communicate the service’s intent and provide the amplifying guidance needed to execute the Space Force’s test and evaluation mission.
“The test vision and the associated test culture it portends are critical elements of the Guardian Ideal and our core values,” said Gen. David D. Thompson, Vice Chief of Space Operations. “While we expect every Guardian to be bold and innovative in pursuit of concepts and capabilities that protect U.S. interests in space, the commitment to mastery of our missions also demands that we be confident in the effectiveness of those capabilities. Test – integrated test – gives us that confidence.”
The vision provides strategic guidance on how the USSF will integrate developmental and operational test and evaluation activities across a capability’s lifecycle and throughout the test enterprise encompassing organizations, workforce, infrastructure, acquisition and operations.
“Just as air, land, maritime, and cyber forces evaluate their systems against adversarial capabilities, space now requires the realism of a contested environment and a robust independent test capability,” said Col. Nick Hague, director, Space Force Test Enterprise. “Our Guardians, in addition to our systems, must be resilient to operations in the harsh environment of launch and on-orbit conditions as well as against current and evolving threats. Proper testing elucidates a system’s ‘operational envelope’ that Guardians need for optimum full-spectrum operations.”
An enterprise-wide approach to integrated test allows the cultivation of a test culture that promotes warfighter influence on system development by using intentional workforce crossflow between acquisition, test and operations within mission-focused areas. To realize this approach, Integrated Test Forces are being stood up to serve as the foundational test execution elements; they will fuse developmental and operational testing as well as provide independent government evaluation of operational suitability, effectiveness, and survivability.
Space Training and Readiness Command serve as the service focal point for the test enterprise to promote efficient execution and resourcing, and to maintain comprehensive awareness of independent government test efforts to include developmental test, operational test, Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures validation, and Weapon System Evaluation activities.
“USSF has a unique opportunity to build a fully integrated test and evaluation system from the outset, providing independent, credible, relevant information on vital warfighting capabilities,” said Maj. Gen. Shawn Bratton, commander, STARCOM. “In addition to our Space Force partners, we will look to our industry partners to help us develop the National Space Test and Training Complex into the world-class test and training complex our Guardians need.”
The NSTTC (National Space Test and Training Complex) construct is a deliberate and configurable set of test and training capabilities that enables the USSF to build an accredited, digital representation of the National Security Space Enterprise (and the joint warfighting environment that space serves. STARCOM kicked off the NSTTC operational planning in late 2021, in coordination with Space Systems Command and Headquarters U.S. Space Force.
The operational planning team developed capabilities roadmaps, which will continuously evolve with national security needs and innovations in technology. The Complex will be lean, efficient, and interoperable with other joint test infrastructure, supporting multiple interests within the USSF to include developmental test, operational test and advanced training.