“Space is longer a sanctuary. It is now congested, contested and competitive…That is the biggest challenge in security space.”
EM: Let’s start with your background and experiences and how did that get you to where you are today.
Vinny Sica: I grew up on the operations environment seeing how systems come together and deliver capabilities for customers, policy makers and warfighters. The key learning that came out of that was collaboration, integration and focus on end-to-end solutions. In the Ops environment you are integrating multiple sources of hardware and software, but it is all about focus on the mission and achieving the end goals. In my 33 years in the business, I spent my first 17+ years in the operations environment actually operating the systems and delivering day-to-day systems support. It set me up well to where we are today where collaboration and integration is the focus going forward. It was just a joke in the early days, where the good of the systems were integrated and built into one big system. Right now we are in that world where all that is converging and coming together and I’m starting to see the benefits of focus on that integration.
EM: What are some of the biggest challenges facing national security space?
Vinny Sica: Biggest one in national security space is the 3 Cs. Space is longer a sanctuary. It is now congested, contested and competitive. Lots of folks putting stuff out there. Lots of our adversaries doing interesting things in space. It is getting crowded. That is the biggest challenge in security space. Couple that with the fact many customers would state that space is more critical now than ever supporting the other domains, being cyberspace, land, sea and air, than it has ever been before. How do you make sure you are there to prepare for the fight and war of space? How do you make sure your assets are there available to support the other domains in this new paradigm – being the new congested and contested space environment that we didn’t have to worry about before? The positive there with all the new entrants watching stuff, getting more cost-competitive access to space, all the new launch vehicles and capabilities out there, there is more stuff that is able to go up and that is adding to the congestion and competitiveness but it does allow us to get more capabilities integrated in that deviate to another question. My biggest focus for thinking is that the 3 Cs in space – how do you deal with that and make sure that space is available to us as a nation, and our allies as a capability and multi-demand fight in the future.
EM: What kind of traction has Mission Solutions been able to establish in both the commercial and international space marketplace?
Vinny Sica: Measured success to date with some good traction internationally building end to end systems. We also have some partnerships (investments and commercial providers) where I see as a bright future for us in these markets. We are not banking on a tremendous part of this work for today’s business but it is certainly a part of our future growth plans. One example is we are offering, Comm gateways for international customers where we are also selling satellites to ensure the system closes. The beauty of many of these cases is that we are building these systems from the ground up where in the U.S. market, many times we are trying to change the tires (or even the engine) as the cars are driving down the road. We are going to market with a solution focus for a whole system, i.e. not just a platform, payload or ground system but a fully functional system to meet our customers’ needs and price points.
EM: What do you think the future of the space industry is?
Vinny Sica: It is bright. The space industry in general is transforming. Everyone is excited about it. The “Billionaire Club,” from the recent Barron’s article that you may have seen, talks about significant amount of growth in the government space business. Some of that is because we have billionaires throwing around their personal money, building ways to get to space cheaper, more efficiently and more affordably. Space is cool again and everybody wants to play in it. One of the biggest concerns there is the cyber threat and cyber concerns of all these systems. It is cool that all of this data is out there but we’ve got to securely and reliably integrate it together.It is a different paradigm. The space business in general is bright and competitive because lots of people get into it. From the ground eye’s perspective I’m excited about all the data things that are coming in that will be used to help our customers solve their problems.
EM: If you had anything to say to our competitors, what would that be?
Vinny Sica: Keep underestimating us and assuming that we are the same old Lockheed building big systems and all we care about is satellites. Be assured we are not standing still and looking back on our heritage – system and development. We are moving forward into the new paradigms, new price points and looking forward to the future. I’m also excited about working with all the competitors, both traditional and new entrants to reshape the space ground environment going forward.