After years of watching struggling defense acquisition reform initiatives while simultaneously lauding the agility, responsiveness, and successes of U.S. industry (perhaps most notably, Silicon Valley companies), it is clear that the Department of Defense needs to transition from a traditional “you-buy-it, you-live-with-it” military satellite communications (MILSATCOM) architecture towards an agile, responsive, commercial-based satellite communications (COMSATCOM) solution to meet our warfighting needs. [Read more…]
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…]
Commercial satellite operators can justly claim a portion of credit for the successful DoD missions in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade and a half, and before that during the Balkans conflicts. We’ve reallocated transponders by the dozen, steered beams from other regions into Southwest Asia (SWA) and the Middle East (ME), moved satellites from elsewhere into the region, and added new capabilities to new satellites headed for those regions of U.S. operations. So, as we engage with DoD in the dialogue about the Wideband Global System (WGS) replacement strategy – essentially commercial capabilities on a military-owned bus – why are we seeing such reluctance by DoD to define a space architecture that embraces its reliance on commercial assets? There are a few things that might make the picture a little clearer. [Read more…]
In recent years, DoD has been concerned about the “vulnerability” of commercial spacecraft and has imposed Information Assurance (IA) criteria onto satellite operators. DoD is now discussing what they see as a significant lack of “protection features” such as anti-jam capabilities, beam-forming technologies and other items that might make commercial satellites look more like military satellites, and thus be more attractive to military users. Most commercial satellite operators are in favor of adding these capabilities to our future spacecraft, but we have yet to formulate a successful business case for doing so without a pledge from DoD that these efforts will be rewarded. [Read more…]
National Defense – The Pentagon spends about a billion dollars a year on satellite communications services from commercial vendors, which supply about 80 percent of the military’s demand. The industry is worried, however, about the future of its Defense Department business, for several reasons.