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    Garrant addresses acquiring SMC’s next space capabilities



    Story by James Spellman 

    Space and Missile Systems Center Public Affairs

    “In my current role as vice commander, this is literally what I think about every day,” said Garrant. “You can play by the rules – or you can use the rules to work in your favor…Maybe that’s how we should start approaching the ‘problems’ in space acquisition.”

    Garrant cited five challenges and risks in national security space, covering stable funding, fast requirements, fast acquisition, fast testing, and fast operational acceptance and fielding of SMC assets.

    “Department of Defense leadership, from Secretary Mattis through the chain of command, has said budget uncertainty poses the single biggest threat to military readiness. And in the Air Force, we’ve felt that pain,” said Garrant, noting the recent passage of a bipartisan budget will go a long way to mitigating the next issue, which is speed.

    “We must go faster,” said Garrant. “With the support of Congress, the Air Force has worked with the DoD staff to return milestone program decision authorities back to the Air Force, including 14 of the 19 major defense acquisition programs within the space portfolio, which is projected to reduce decision cycle time by 4-6 months.”

    Garrant noted the current portfolio under the leadership of Lt. Gen. John Thompson, SMC commander and Air Force Program Executive Officer for Space has devolved decision-making authority on programs to lower levels, such as delegating all facets of program execution of ACAT IIIs and SCAT programs of less than $100 million to the system program office directors.

    “This delegation represents approximately 40 percent of the ACAT portion and 70 percent of the SCAT portion of the AFPEO/SP portfolio – and it saves no less than four to eight weeks for each acquisition event in the process,” said Garrant. “Also, with speed in mind, I’m proud to report SMC has reduced the amount of time it takes to award a contract by approximately 52 percent, from 769 days in 2016 to 372 days in 2017.”

    The third area Garrant addressed dealt with testing. According to Garrant, the Operational Test and Evaluation community serves a great purpose in the Air Force. It too needs to be agile and fast.

    Garrant noted that a lot of time has been spent assessing the threat and “worrying” about how to handle it, but at this point, “We’re looking to become the threat and ‘Dominate in ‘28’.”

    According to Garrant, SMC recognizes an enterprise approach is required to properly assess and address risk.

    When asked what advice he would give a young officer, engineer or program manager who’s just starting in the space business, Garrant replied, “Dive in! The ‘Space Race’ is back on, and this is an incredible time to be starting in the space business. From the commercial marketplace with new launch service providers, to nanosats that have a thousand times the capabilities of satellites being developed when I was a Lieutenant a few short years ago, this is simply an amazing time to be involved in space. Welcome aboard!”

    The NDIA is a membership-driven association that engages thoughtful and innovative leaders to promote the best policies, practices, products and technology to build a more responsive and collaborative community in support of defense and national security.



    Date Taken: 03.23.2018
    Date Posted: 04.09.2018 18:50
    Story ID: 272379
    Location: EL SEGUNDO, CA, US 

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