DoD’s Giant Leap: The Commercial Space Integration Strategy

Federal officials have released a first of its kind Strategy focused on the security of the government’s space-based platforms and infrastructure, and the impact commercial solutions may have on supporting the continued need in this space; pun intended. According to the document, the 2024 Department of Defense (DoD) Commercial Space Integration Strategy is a first for the Department of Defense, and “provides a vision for prioritizing and aligning efforts to integrate commercial solutions into our national security space architecture.”

What’s this for?

As with so many federal standards, protocols and procedures, the backdrop and need for better strategy and technologies comes from the desire for heightened and resilient security features, the ability to better predict and thwart against adversarial attacks and create a more stable space domain. We live in the future now, and both the protection and enhancement of space-based capabilities and technologies is paramount to national security.

Instead of building systems and solutions in-house, the DoD will actively be seeking to integrate commercial systems, a first-line approach. Inherent in this is risk, as the security of some commercial solutions may be less stringent than those built purposely in and for the government, but the idea at this point is to harness the potential and get a foot in the door, or into the atmosphere. It’s more important to start than wait for perfect timing and protocol.


The Strategy is predicated on principles; there are four the DoD is focused on maintaining with its integration of commercial solutions. They include: 1) Balance; 2) Interoperability; 3) Resilience, and 4) Responsible Conduct.

“Balance” refers to the federal government’s focus to utilize and maximize the potential commercial solutions offer, but without overly relying on any one provider. The acquisition market is bound by written laws, chiefly those in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), with guidance on fair opportunity and structure to procurements. There is a nod to maintaining these standards in utilizing fair competition when applicable, to provide opportunities to as many companies as possible.

If there was a federal word search game, perhaps “interoperability” would be a valid submission, as the concept has catapulted to the forefront of so many agencies’ goals and objectives in the last few years. For the Strategy, the DoD is focused on continuing to facilitate integration across offices, and as best it can, seamlessly incorporate commercial solutions into the mix. The DoD also intends to actively seek out and integrate needs during peacetime. For IT companies, this translates to providing products and services that offer cross-collaboration and integration capabilities for multiple agencies simultaneously. Companies involved in the production of wargames, tabletop exercises and training will find opportunity as the Strategy is actualized.

The Strategy notes the importance of incorporating as many commercial solutions as possible to aid in diversifying supply chains and increasing the sheer number of options available for deployment. This is a welcome sign to information technology (IT) companies, as it suggests ample opportunity for any number of requirements. While it may seem there is a short(er) list of companies currently providing products and services specifically devoted to space security needs, this is a window of opportunity for many in industry to capitalize on.

Given the nature of a strategy designed to secure space-related needs, the DoD has also included language addressing the need to comply with international norms and standards. It further notes a continued commitment to ethical conduct with industry as well.

Mission focus

The Strategy offers a host of opportunities for companies, with an eye toward threat deterrence as the priority. According to the DoD, focus will be placed on thirteen mission categories that companies with products and services in any of the following areas of expertise will be sought after: combat power protection; command and control; cyberspace operations; electromagnetic warfare; environmental monitoring; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; missile warning; nuclear detonation detection; positioning, navigation and timing; space access, mobility and logistics; satellite communications; space domain awareness, and spacecraft operations.

Time is of the essence

Historically, procurement has often been a longer than anticipated and sometimes arduous process. It may take years for a requirement to be fully defined and awarded. With the continued threat landscape however, we see the DoD actively encouraging a new speed to market with this Strategy. It recognizes the immediate need for a secure space environment and is providing both industry and the federal government a welcome change and approach that seeks to benefit all involved.

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About the Author:
Susanna Patten is a senior manager on the TD SYNNEX Public Sector Market Insights team covering tech trends across the Public Sector. Susanna has over 13 years of experience in public sector IT procurement. Her responsibilities at TD SYNNEX Public Sector include driving market intelligence asset production, ensuring the quality and relevance of deliverables from the Market Insights team, and aligning these insights with sales opportunities.