Cover: A Framework for Building a Civil Reserve Space Program

A Framework for Building a Civil Reserve Space Program

Applicability of U.S. Transportation Command’s Commercial Partnership Models

Published Nov 29, 2023

by Yool Kim, George Nacouzi

Download Free Electronic Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.2 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

The concept of a civil reserve space program, a partnership arrangement that would be akin to the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) and Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement (VISA) programs, has recently gained attention as one avenue to build a closer partnership between the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the commercial space industry and to gain assured access to commercial space services to augment DoD's space capabilities in times of national emergency or wartime operations.

In this Perspective, the authors examine key elements of the CRAF and VISA programs to inform factors that DoD should consider for a civil reserve space program to balance benefits and risks to both the U.S. Space Force and the commercial sector. Key considerations include the mix of DoD and commercial space capabilities, incentives and acceptable risks for participants of a civil reserve space program, activation terms, and operations in a threat environment.

Research conducted by

This work was commissioned by the U.S. Space Force (USSF) Space Operations Command and conducted within the Force Modernization and Employment Program of RAND Project AIR FORCE.

This commentary is part of the RAND expert insight series. RAND Expert Insights present perspectives on timely policy issues. All RAND Expert Insights undergo peer review to ensure high standards for quality and objectivity.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.