The Pentagon’s Office of Force Transformation (OFT) is a small shop with a staff of 18 people – 11 military officers and 7 civilians. Its annual budget is just $20 million, amidst an annual US defense budget of over $400 billion. Its mission is to provide alternative views of the military’s future 20 years from now, producing key studies like the Alternative Fleet-Architecture Design (which recommended more, smaller, cheaper ships – see below), Operational Responsive Space Initiatives, a bigger role for blimps, and leading initiatives like Project Sheriff’s vehicle-mounted “pain ray.”
Until recently, OFT could open doors with the sheer force of its director’s name: Arthur Cebrowski, a Navy aviator who flew combat missions in Vietnam and served in Desert Storm, retired Vice Admiral, acknowledged transformation czar, and former president of the Naval War College. DID also notes the implied tribute in institutions like the “Cebrowski Institute for Information Innovation and Superiority (CINFINIS)” at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey. Unfortunately for the OFT, Cebrowski is battling health problems and retired in January 2005. Can OFT continue to have an impact on decision-makers without Cebrowski behind it? What’s next for the OFT?
Washington Technology reports that the US Air Force issued a request for proposals for its Air and Space Operations Center Weapon System Integrator procurement on Sept. 9, 2005. Proposals for the 10-year contract, which consists of a three-year base period and seven one-year options, are due on Oct. 11, 2005. The Air Force has not specified an award date, but Reston, VA-based market research firm Input estimates the award will be made in November 2005.
Under the contract, the Air Force will hire a lead systems integrator to manage IT in its air and space operations centers worldwide. The systems integrator will integrate mission and infrastructure systems built by multiple contractors onto a common, service-based IT platform that supports the Air and Space Operations Center’s mission. Valuations for this contract by industry analysts range from $600 million to over a billion dollars. The RFP is available online.
Meanwhile, the competition for the overall USAF/DARPA Small Launch Vehicle program has narrowed to three companies: Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX), AirLaunch LLC, and Lockheed Martin Corp. A fourth Phase 2 competitor, Microcosm of El Segundo, CA, recently broke up its subcontractor team, terminated arrangements with consultants working on the Falcon effort, and laid off about 15 of its 50 employees based on its assumption that it has lost out in the competition. Next phase awards are expected in the near future, and the program continues to evolve in other ways. At present…
The 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA has issued a cost-plus award-fee contract modification to consolidate three vital logistical aerospace support services (Unconventional Propellant Support, Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory Services, Aerospace Ground Equipment Maintenance and Transient Aircraft Maintenance Services) into one comprehensive Operation and Maintenance service for the 30th Space Wing.
The 30th Space Wing is the Air Force Space Command organization responsible for all Department of Defense space and missile launch activities on the West Coast. All U.S. satellites destined for near polar orbit are launched from Vandenberg. The 30th is also home to the Western Launch and Test Range (WLTR), which extends westward all the way to the Marshall Islands, including sites in Hawaii.
The Global Positioning system touches on a very wide range of military hardware, as well as its many civilian uses. While the program has experienced some delays, Government officials representing military and civil interests recently emphasized the need for continued modernization of the Global Positioning System.
A recent U.S. Department of Defense article was very helpful in laying out the present and future plans for the NAVSTAR GPS system, and we thought it worthwhile to present this to our readers by including it and adding additional material.
The Washinton Post reports that U.S. Director of National Intelligence (DNI) John D. Negroponte will be using his power over funds spent by the U.S. intelligence community’s 15 agencies to review and decide upon several classified satellite programs. The two new generations of spy satellites are being developed by the National Reconnaissance Office, a Pentagon agency that also reports to the DNI.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale, CA has received a pair of cost-plus award-fee contract modifications related to the SBIRS satellite programs from the Headquarters Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA. In related news, the spacecraft core structure and propulasion system for the SBIRS-HIgh satellite has just been delivered.
India is building up a satellite-based Military Surveillance and Reconnaissance System that will become operational by 2007, allowing it to keep watch on developments in its area. “The program is in the advanced stages of development and is planned to be operational by 2007,” Indian Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in Parliament recently.
Satellites are an increasingly-important element of America’s Network-Centric Warfare approach, and the task of planning for America’s technology needs 40 years into the future is daunting. Cost and delays have hampered America’s satellite programs before, and now a detailed, program-by-program analysis of the state of seven different programs finds different kinds of problems and delays. Indeed, the GAO’s latest inquiry into the status and short-falls of the U.S. government’s military space programs notes that there is no single agency, company or simple villain to blame for the problems.
In testimony to the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Committee on Armed Services July 12, 2005, the GAO’s Director of Acquisitions and Management Robert E. Levin noted the status of several key satellite programs, and made a number of recommendations:
Utah State University Space Dynamics Laboratory of Logan, Utah, received an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. MDA requires performance by Utah State University Space Dynamics Laboratory in the capacity of a university affiliated research center for core competencies of research, development, and engineering work related to state-of-the-art and proof-of-concept sensor systems for airborne and space-based platforms, investigation of new sensor systems, and participation in the early stages of future Department of Defense technology initiatives.
Utah State University Space Dynamics Laboratory is a university affiliated research center sponsored by Missle Defense Agency (MDA) as designated by the Director of Defense Research and Engineering. The five-year period of performance will have a maximum contract value of $48.3 million, and the principal place of performance will be Logan, UT, and research and development funds have been provided for this contract. Work is expected to be complete in May 2010. The Missile Defense Agency issued the contract (HQ0006-05-D-0005).