Rebecca Cowen-Hirsch, senior vice president for government strategy and policy at Inmarsat, has said the federal government should advance partnership with the commercial satellite communications industry to help the Defense Department ensure resilience in space and gain access to secure satcom worldwide.
Cowen-Hirsch told MilsatMagazine in an interview she believes such a partnership can facilitate the integration of satcom advancements in the private sector with DoD’s baseline architectures amid budget constraints.
She discussed the challenges posed by the government’s use of “antiquated” methods when it comes to satcom procurement.
Those methods include the use of overseas contingency operations funds to pay for commercial satcom, fragmented process for assigning roles in the Joint Staff and other agencies and acquisition of terminals via service branches.
Cowen-Hirsch also called on the federal government to push for a “cultural paradigm shift” through the “recapitalization of federal SATCOM procurement.”
She noted that the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2017 seeks to streamline the satcom acquisition process since it requires the DoD secretary to draft study guidance that seeks to facilitate an analysis of alternatives for a follow-on platform to the Wideband Global Satcom system as well as explore commercial and military satcom capabilities, service delivery models and procurement methods.
Cowen-Hirsch also cited the U.S. Air Force’s plan to establish a permanent presence for commercial satcom firms in the Joint Space Operations Center.