Press Release

Acquisitions and space top priorities for leaders

By SpaceRef Editor
February 8, 2002
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Air Force and Department of Defense leaders gathered at Los Angeles AFB last week to attend key meetings associated with space acquisitions and missile defense.

Visitors included Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Edward “Pete” Aldridge Jr. and Lt. Gen. Ronald Kadish, director of the newly formed Missile Defense Agency, formerly the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization.

During their visit both leaders talked to SMC members about a variety of subjects.

Aldridge talked about the importance of looking at capabilities when planning acquisitions, which he said is the key to integrating joint mission requirements for the warfighter.

“First you start with the mission and then ask yourself what is the best way to accomplish that mission,” said Aldridge. “You have to make sure you understand the role that space plays as well as the role that air plays, versus the role of individual services. Since each service has air and space elements, they all bring something to bear.”

Aldridge attributed many positive changes in the acquisitions world to the ongoing implementation of the Space Commission recommendations.

“The Space Commission has done a lot of very good things not only for the Air Force and the Department of Defense, but for the entire national space community as well,” he said.

Aldridge added that the Space Commission concept of developing space professionals for the nation in an environment where acquisitions and operations personnel are able to cross between each career field was vital in achieving capability-based acquisitions.

“Now you can grow space professionals that can think both in terms of operational concerns, when working in acquisitions, as well as bring an acquisitions insight when moving into space operations,” said Aldridge. “I think the combination of having a cradle to grave responsibility, acquisitions to operations, is going to make the profession of space in the Air Force as well as the other services very, very important, and very exciting.”

Visiting SMC for the first time as the head of the newly formed Missile Defense Agency, Kadish brought an operational perspective to the space and missile systems acquisition discussion and spoke about what his command’s reorganization meant in terms of SMC’s relationship with the new agency.

Kadish said that the MDA would be using a different management approach for their programs, but the goal of a credible national and theater missile defense remained a priority and that SMC’s role in maintaining that credibility was vital.

“The space segment for missile defense is very important, for sensors as well as other issues, and it will be of continually growing importance to the agency as we try to put missile defense capabilities together,” said Kadish.

“What is different in terms of management is that as we organize the Missile Defense Agency to do this capability we’re not going to ask the services to manage our programs as directly as we have in the past. We’re going to take that responsibility on at the top level.”

While Kadish says the program activities associated with missile defense will be directly managed out of MDA as opposed to the Air Force acquisition system, MDA will still rely heavily on the Air Force acquisition system to get the job done.

“There will be a closer collaboration than we’ve had before with the management of programs,” said Kadish. “Therefore, SMC will become very important to us to provide infrastructure to manage those programs. We’ll have a closer interaction and become much more involved than we ordinarily would be based on the history of the programs; ultimately, we’ll have a tighter partnership.”

SpaceRef staff editor.