Derek Tournear oversees the Space Development Agency, established in March 2019 to unify and integrate the department’s space development efforts, monitor its threat-driven future space architecture, and accelerate the fielding of new military space capabilities necessary to ensure U.S. technological and military advantages in space. Tournear is the first permanent director of the agency, appointed in October 2019.
Tournear has spent the majority of his career in the technology, innovation and intelligence sectors for both industry and government. Prior to SDA, he most recently served as assistant director of R&D for space within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering. Here, he was responsible for coordinating all DOD efforts in space.
In industry, Tournear was most recently the director for the Harris Space & Intelligence research and development. And prior to this role, he was a senior program manager at the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. At IARPA, he served as a senior scientist for space activities and space technologies in the Office of Smart Collection.
He has also served within the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
SDA is working to achieve its outlined mission by defining the National Defense Space Architecture, an integrated architecture capable of addressing the eight critical priorities of the DOD Space Vision.
To address those priorities, the future National Defense Space Architecture will include a proliferated satellite constellation consisting of six space layers and one ground layer. SDA will arrange and unify those efforts across the DOD and fill capability gaps where needed.
“Our strategy is to unify efforts across the military services and government agencies to rapidly develop capabilities that are responsive to the threat, are cost-effective, and increase our technological advantage,” said Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael Griffin in the announcement of Tournear’s appointment. “Derek will lead our effort to achieve those goals.”