During my time at XTAR, I have refined my elevator speech on XTAR’s value proposition and how the company is unique in the satellite communications world. To be clear, when I say, “unique”, I mean, one of a kind — not just special. This is because no other company brings together the service characteristics of XTAR. [Read more…]
I’ve always considered myself an amateur architect. I love both the aesthetic and structural characteristics of buildings, military installations, gardens and monuments. During my undergraduate studies I would hang out with my classmates who were in the architecture program, absorbing everything I could about the evolution of the discipline and the ways in which humans modify their surroundings to be functionally efficient and aesthetically pleasing. [Read more…]
Is There a Viable Business Case for Commercial Satellite Coverage without a Conflict?
While there are currently no full-scale conflicts or natural disasters in the Asia-Pacific theater, it is widely agreed that this region is the most susceptible in the world to both types of events. Nation states there are gaining considerable economic, military and industrial power increasing the potential to be bold aggressors to neighboring countries. In addition, the increasing frequency of catastrophic natural disasters that bring death and destruction threatens stability as they grow in severity and reach. [Read more…]
Last month, Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI, 8th District), chairman of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces subcommittee, authored an opinion piece in Space News about procuring commercial satellite services. He argued for the urgent need to change this process to save money, but more importantly, to protect our armed forces. XTAR strongly supports the Congressman’s ideas and his leadership in championing this critical issue. [Read more…]
The working group tasked to accomplish Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics) Frank Kendall’s 90-Day Study on COMSATCOM acquisition reform appears to have veered off track. We are hearing reports that it will go no further with Mr. Kendall’s core assignment until it addresses the question of DoD “bandwidth utilization”. This tangential issue is effectively holding hostage the study’s main goal of improving the efficiency of commercial satcom acquisition and ensuring that DoD gets the best ROI from all its satcom. Examining how efficiently DoD employs the COMSATCOM bandwidth currently on lease is a distraction from the intended scope and objectives of the 90-Day Study. [Read more…]
Each time a new WGS satellite is launched, it strikes me to read the media coverage. I find it nearly always includes quotes from DoD representatives claiming that WGS has 10 times the capacity of a DSCS satellite, or that WGS is the DOD’s highest capacity communications satellite system. These claims, while technically accurate, are misleading and not relevant in today’s world of high-throughput satellites and constrained budgets. Widely reported and sometimes without deeper investigation, they detract from the real issue: WGS does not offer now, nor will the planned constellation when fully deployed, the same throughput and capacity which can be gained on many commercial satellites. [Read more…]
As the House Armed Services Committee reviews much needed policy changes in commercial SATCOM capacity acquisition, it is vitally important that both Congress and their colleagues at the Pentagon recognize the following key issues. [Read more…]
Today, there exist numerous satellite operators which have spent millions of dollars meeting or exceeding U.S. Government requirements for information assurance and operational compatibility. Of course, XTAR is one of them. With this in mind, I noted with great interest recent criticism of DoD’s decision to buy from a DISA-approved integrator commercial space segment capacity on a Chinese-owned APSTAR satellite in order to address AFRICOM requirements. [Read more…]
SATELLITE 2013 is fast receding in the rear view mirror, but there were a few things about this year’s show that stayed with me and my XTAR colleagues who attended the three day annual conference and exhibit.
Not surprisingly, the most talked-about issue was sequestration and the impact it will (not “might”) have on the U.S. government and military. [Read more…]
Recently, I received a call from a colleague in the Pentagon. He was preparing a report on the value of commercial X-band to DoD and reached out to me for some background. Naturally, I was more than happy to provide him with the material he sought. [Read more…]