Integrating Space for the Joint Fight

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This transcript is from a CSIS event hosted on June 12, 2024. Watch the full video here.

Clayton Swope: Well, I’d like to thank everyone for joining us today in person and online for our event on integrating space for the joint fight. My name is Clayton Swope. I’m the deputy director of the Aerospace Security Project. Today I’m here with Colonel Bryon McClain. He’s the program executive officer for space domain awareness and combat power at Space Systems Command in the U.S. Space Force. And also Ms. Shannon Pallone. She is the program executive officer for battle management, command, control, and communications at Space Systems Command in U.S. Space Force.

Before we start, I just wanted to mention today’s event has two parts. I want to take a minute to welcome Scott Stapp. He’s the moderator of the second part of today’s event. And I want to welcome him to the CSIS family. Scott is joining us as a non-resident senior advisor to the Aerospace Security Project. Scott brings a hard, if not impossible, to match set of experiences across the national space – national security space community. He is a retired brigadier general in the Air Force and currently the chief technology officer and chief revenue officer at DEFCON AI. Scott was the chief technology officer at Northrop Grumman, among many other roles at the company. During his time in government, he was the director of special programs for the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He is an electrical engineer by training. We are honored and happy to have him on the team. And I just want to personally thank him for helping to organize the event today and to also moderate the second part of the event, the next panel.

So as we start, I think I just wanted to maybe kind of toss a question over to both of you today. I have a background in the intelligence community. I know sometimes when I’m around folks that come from the Pentagon and have a military space background, they use a lot of jargon and words that I don’t understand, and a lot of acronyms. And I’m sure there is a similarly large number of words that the intelligence community uses which I am happy to decipher for you later. But starting out today, this event is about integration of space capabilities, really to enable the joint fight. You play a big role in that. So to help us understand how – really, I think, let’s take it up to how Space Systems Command fits within Space Force, what it does, how it’s structured?

You’re the program executive officers for some important functions within Space Force, within Space Systems Command. So, you know, I’d like to hear about how the PEOs – which is another acronym I often hear – how that really works. And I think just a lot of things I’m sure you just can’t talk about publicly. I totally understand. But was hoping you could share enough background about kind of those issues just to help the audience understand, really, just what you do. So I think maybe just Colonel McClain, is that all right? Is I think just to kind of start this off. Just help us understand what a PEO is, what yours does, and then the specific kind of mission area that you help enable for Space Force.

Byron McClain: Thanks Clayton. Thanks to CSIS for setting this up. We’re really excited to be here.

So kind of to jump in a very broad question there, what does a program executive officer do? Our key role is to deliver capability. It’s all about delivery. Now, in the acquisition world I’d love to say that delivery happens instantaneously, but of course it doesn’t. Delivery is one of those things that takes time because we don’t just start off with going down to Staples and picking up something off the shelf. When you’re dealing with a lot of the space systems, there’s a lot that goes into – there’s a lot of development, there’s a lot of design, there’s a lot of understanding what do we need to do. And the role of a program executive officer is all about taking that idea that starts with working with our warfighter community, understanding what they need, and then getting that through the development, through the design, and through the fielding, and then the sustainment. And all of that fits underneath the roles of a program executive officer. 

For myself, I’m program executive officer for space domain awareness and combat power. Best way to talk about that, so my prior life I was Air Force before I had the opportunity to join the Space Force. Got really excited about that. But the Air Force days, I learned this term, the OODA Loop – observe, orient, decide, act. Links back to Colonel John Boyd and his F-16 days. And it’s really just a shorthand way to think about if I’m involved in a conflict, what is that role that we need to do?

Well, throughout all the time I am observing what’s going on around me, I’m orienting myself to what I see, I’m making decisions, and then I’m making an action. And the moment I take an action, guess what? I now need to observe how that’s happening and that cycle starts all over again. Well, space domain awareness, that’s all about observing. And combat power, that’s all about acting. But that’s just part of that puzzle. And so that’s where kind of my portfolio fits. I’m on that outside of that loop. And then Ms. Pallone is really – the reason that we’re always seen together is because she brings in that middle section.

Shannon Pallone: I was just thinking that we make a point of always telling everyone there’s no daylight between us. Typically, we would make our chairs actually sit closer together. We’re a little obnoxious about it. (Laughter.) And it’s funny, because when you actually describe it that way it’s more of a sandwich, which is maybe a really awkward analogy. And the BMC3 portfolio, battle management, command, control, and communications – there was a quiz, could you actually spell out your own acronym in order to get the job – (laughter) – that portfolio is really that orient and decide part of that functionality. So it’s taking data in, it’s making sense of the data, it’s offering decision-quality data to decision-makers so that they can make decisions so that they can move on and decide what the actions are that they want to take.

And those two portfolios wind up being immensely complementary. We often talk about PEO portfolios. So we all have capabilities that we’re delivering. And it is not as simple as just you just do this system, it’s entirely self-contained. The interesting thing in the BMC3 portfolio is absolutely nothing that I do is self-contained. Everything has to work with what Bryon’s delivering. Honestly, everything that I do has to work with what a whole number of other PEOs and capabilities in space are doing, and even delivering into General Cropsey’s DAF Battle Network on the air side. So everything I do in a lot of ways is both in the middle and then nested within something else, which is also – when you talk about that emphasis on integration, it’s a recurring theme you’ll hear from both of us. If I’m not integrating it, it’s useless capability.

Mr. Swope: And really, kind of the way you describe that, to me I think of you’re kind of creating an ecosystem in which a lot of other, let’s just say, apps can function. And really the space domain awareness and combat power, that’s just one app that functions within the ecosystem that you create. You’re kind of that – the foundational capability that allow them to work. Is that probably the way that it makes sense to you, or am I describing that wrong?

Ms. Pallone: Yeah, it’s maybe a little oversimplification. I almost might think of, if I try to shove it into an awkward smartphone analogy, I might say that I have a data connection which I’m providing that’s pulling information from somewhere on the internet – whether it’s an SMS message, whether it’s actual data. Bryon’s probably providing me that data. I’m pulling that data down. I’m making sense of it. And I might pull it into, say, a map functionality that says, hey, I need to get from point A to point B. I’m going to give you some options to decide, and then you can go off and execute how you’re going to get from point A to point B. Was less awkward than I thought it was going to be.

Mr. Swope: OK. And the description of the OODA loop – the observe, orient, decide, and act – another acronym. But I think when you break that one apart, it really does make a lot of sense. I often hear it compared to kill chain, which is another phrase that has very little context sometimes, and very hard to contextualize in space. So kind of thinking about that OODA loop, you know, the element of that structure is gaining an understanding about what is happening in space, making a decision, taking that action to achieve an effect or an objective.

Can we break that down a little more, too? Like, what does that mean in space? You know, I hear combat power, I think offensive, defensive actions in space. I know SDA, we’re trying to keep tabs on what’s going on. But really kind of as much as you can, maybe starting with you, Colonel McClain, like, what does that OODA loop, what does that – again, I might call it a kill chain. What does that look like in space?

Col. McClain: So it’s obviously a very challenging thing to try to picture how that all comes together. When you start talking about the OODA loop, the kill chain, the other word that I like to use is mission thread. And the reason I stick with mission thread is sometimes when people hear the word kill chain, they think very offensive or very bad. And a lot of what’s going on in space is all about resiliency. It’s all about ensuring that our systems are able to operate no matter what’s going on, given that space has become a contested environment.

So that’s why I kind of think mission thread, I think OODA loop, because it doesn’t get people too much focused on a specific type. But what does that look like in space? It looks like periods of waiting and then all of a sudden periods of going through a really fast cycle. What I mean by that, in terms of the potential for conflict extending into space – and I’d say the first role of combat power is to make sure that conflict and deter conflict from extending into space. That’s step one. But if it does happen, we have to be ready, and we have to be able to support that.

So as I look through this, the space domain awareness side, we’re talking about all of the capabilities, the sensors that are out there, systems that we have, the deep space radar that we’re currently working on right now, our existing optical systems that are out there. All looking up there, and our existing radar systems, that are tracking things from debris to systems that are not debris and, in fact, owned by countries, and are starting to behave in maybe non-responsible ways. So we want to understand what that is, keep track of that information, know what’s happening. If something changes, then this is where you start getting into that orient and decide. Ms. Pallone’s capabilities are really there to help make sense of that data, pass that data up to decision-makers. And then you move on to the act side of the house. What are our capabilities? How should we respond? How do we look at our resiliency plan? What are our capabilities?

When things happen in space the advantage of physics is sometimes you have to make maneuvers, you have to make changes, you have to kind of show your hand a little bit early. But we then have to be able to maintain that track and that information so we can then pivot immediately. So you can get into a period where you have to do a very fast cycle because I see a move, I have to run through that loop, and now I have to sit here and wait. So it’s a very unique – it’s not so much as – the OODA loop originally came out of dogfighting. And you’re thinking about instantaneous changes very fast. I’ve done this, I’ve done this, and it just keeps moving. Whereas with space, you have to be ready to go extremely fast, and then wait.

Ms. Pallone: I’d also add that in space you’re no longer talking about this is an individual satellite or satellite constellation that does something. It’s independent. It’s on its own. I’m tracking within its own, you know, space segment, ground segment, maybe user segment, depending on what type of capability you’re looking at. I’m now just going to integrate within those and all of that has to work. It’s really a recognition of we live in an increasingly system of systems world. If you want to make decisions quickly, you can’t treat everything as separate and then ask a human to integrate all of that information. It’s using technology to help you integrate all of that information to make decisions.

And in order to do that, if you don’t treat it like a mission thread, and you don’t look at that end to end, and you’re not actually testing out did all of these steps happen? What is an outcome that I’m looking for? How do I start as far left as possible, look through all the systems that have to interact with that, and then eventually be able to test through all of that for the end-to-end capability? And that’s really what’s telling you were you successful or not, not any individual test on an individual piece of that system of systems.

Col. McClain: So if I were to pull the thread on the system of systems discussion, if we think back – kind of the discussion we have here. We’re really pushing hard on both our team as well as our industry partners to start thinking a little bit differently when we say “integrated capability” and “system of systems.” You know, when I was growing up in the acquisition world, we started converting and recognizing that all of our programs are very complex system of systems, and systems engineering is critical, and we put a lot of resources to doing our systems engineering in our system of systems of a single program.

And if I kind of take the evolution, say, of aircraft, I think back – way back to the B-17, my analogy there is, we thought – we turned the B-17 into an integrated capability by creating 10 different locations and putting 10 different little headsets, and putting everybody connected. And that was it. That’s how you had your, you know, full vision of everything going on you could engage. And then we started – kind of, that was an integrated system. Well, then you move forward to something like the B-52 or some of our more complicated – even the more complicated systems – the B-1, the B-52. 

Now you started having less individuals, because I had various subsystems within that aircraft that all had to integrate, but yet that aircraft then plugged into its, you know, beyond line-of-sight radio system, and it had its targeting information. But it still had that command and control through a lot of the, you know, radios and that sort of stuff. Well, now what we’ve started to realize is when I talk about systems of systems, if I want to go at the speed that I just talked about in the OODA loop, having individual programs and thinking about an individual program in that system of systems means that I’m going to be very focused on my internals, but not how do I plug into everything else. 

And everything else has to work together. The combat power side of my portfolio has to be able to be ready to accept commands from the decision pieces in Ms. Pallone’s portfolio. And her systems have to be ready to rapidly ingest new data coming from our SDA sensors as something’s going on. And as those systems – as technology continues to improve, we don’t necessarily have time to start another 10- to 20-year acquisition program to do a major upgrade. We have to be able to keep up with technology. We have to be able to keep up with those components.

So that’s where we started looking at it and recognizing integrated capability is critical. And the way our portfolios are structured, neither one of us works without the other one. And so that generates this integration framework across all the various systems, which is really what we started working hard with the T1.

Mr. Swope: Yeah. When I think about that system of systems, you know, I think of something like a Russian matryoshka doll and tinier, tinier, tinier pieces that fit into this larger enterprise. I think resilience has come up a few times. I think about the annual Space Threat Report that we write here at CSIS, using open source. Threats to space systems, which don’t just include satellites in space. They really just include any way that an adversary could disrupt our access to a space system. That includes ground infrastructure, launch infrastructure, and a lot of things that sometimes folks don’t realize are part of that ecosystem.

So I’m thinking resilience in that Matryoshka doll, and all the things that could go wrong. How – and this question is for both of you – how do you – how do you think about resilience? I often hear in the space community resilience, well, the first thing that someone says is proliferated LEO. Which is good, but it doesn’t necessarily address all the systems that I just thought about when you were talking. So how do you think about resiliency just beyond that answer, it’s pLEO is the answer? What else is there, especially when you look at the different kind of systems of those systems that you just talked about?

Col. McClain: So the way I think about it is disaggregation and integration. The more systems that we have that can do various missions, that gives us that ability to really create a deterrence effect that says, it’s going to cost an awful lot of money and an awful lot of resources for an adversary to take out our space systems. The more that we build out that approach, we really start inherently – resiliency itself becomes an inherent strategy. The other aspects that I look at is partnerships, where various programs have different systems. If we have good connectivity, it doesn’t matter where sensors – it matters where sensors are, not what program sensors are on. And so now you start integrating. 

Ms. Pallone: Yeah, and I’m going to go back to that integration problem. I mean, I think one of the things – and this is definitely an area where, you know, we really need industry help – is how do I make those integration patterns simpler? I don’t have years to negotiate two sides of an ICD that both sides are entirely proprietary, and anyone who came into the future who tried to interpret what the other side meant might take another year trying to understand that. How do I get things down to the lightest touch point and integration point possible? Because part of resilience is also the ability to adapt quickly.

So, to your point, as you’re looking at all of those threats that are coming out, the change that has happened over the last couple years is far faster than the pace that we have historically acquired space systems. So if we don’t figure out how to solve making integration simpler and making it so that everyone is incentivized to deliver into this ecosystem, with a recognition of there is sufficient work for the industrial base to go do this, that we won’t get there. But we also have this incredible opportunity right now. We’re at this incredible inflection point. And the ingenuity that’s coming out of industry is really encouraging, of I think we can get there, and I think we will all be better off for it.

Mr. Swope: And part of it’s not – it’s not, like, it’s just because someone in industry has a cool idea or cool capability. The second question then is, well, how does that fit into the architecture? How does that integrate into that system of systems?

Ms. Pallone: Yeah, that is such a great point. The biggest headache I have is – there is so much on the commercial market that I would love to pluck off the shelf and say, I’m going to integrate that into my system tomorrow and everything’s going to be amazing. And the headache that I have is – it’s not an unsolvable headache – but the headache that I have is if I take all of those as individual capabilities, I’m now forcing a human to go back and do the integration. If they don’t fit into that, how am I transporting data, bringing data in, making sense of the data, providing that. If I don’t have a way to bring that together, it’s not actually game changing. And in a non-intuitive way, it actually slows me down. 

And we’re working hard to get after that. So we have opportunities, like there’s a Space Domain Awareness TAP Lab out in Colorado Springs that we’ve been partnering with to say, OK, I’m going to put my software pipeline as part of this TAP Lab, that if you want to bring in a commercial capability and you want to prove out that you can work within my cybersecurity controls, how I’m bringing software into the system, and run on my system, now we’re in a situation where I can say, OK, now that’s really interesting. And we could talk about how do I license that capability, how do I procure that capability, and bring that into the system. And I can do that in a much more rapid pace. 

But it’s asking industry, please partner with us on how you’re developing into that because, again, if I have to buy that standalone system, I’m much less likely to leverage that commercial capability. If you can integrate in easily, then that’s a different story. And if there’s choices that we’re making that we should maybe adapt to make that easier, I’m all ears to hear that as well because that – it’s really important that we get after that.

Mr. Swope: Yeah, I mean, I hear you. I like to do my own yard work. I feel like it’s fulfilling. And I’m probably just cheap. So anytime I see a cool tool that has a battery, I’m always, like, is that compatible with the system that I have? Even if it’s really awesome and it’s not, I’m, like, I don’t want another system that needs a separate battery and a separate way to maintain it. So I get that interoperability is really critical, and can start a flywheel effect where you’re going to acquire more capabilities because it fits into your system already.

I quickly want to point out we are taking questions. I’ll be turning to those audience questions in just a minute. So if anyone would like to ask one, please scan the QR code if you’re here, or online fill out our – click on the link and fill out the form for your question.

Col. McClain: So I do want to highlight that the DOD does have a history of trying to figure out, how do we set up interoperability? Some ways that we’ve tried to set up interoperability is through ridiculous mil standards. We had a period where we thought the best way to sustain software was to go ahead and say, if we all write it in this code language everything will be great. And so you have the code language, Ada, that still exists in some of our older systems. And it is not keeping up with technology.

So this is where it really becomes a dialog. And Ms. Pallone and I very, very much, we have – we have an existing process with the DOD acquisition system where we do request for information, then we move into draft requests for proposals, and we finally hit that final RFP. And that’s the point where we really move into the source selection. But whenever we’re going out with the RFIs and the draft RFPs, one of the questions we’re asking is: Are we adding in requirements or things that we’re saying are military specific that are driving us away from interoperability?

Because sometimes we do that inadvertently, and we do that to ourselves, and we don’t even see it. There are times when some of those requirements are absolutely military critical. But there are other times that they’re a hangover, or they’re how we think makes sense. And so we need that feedback, dialog, and interaction. So the message I always push forth is always answer the question that’s asked and then pick up the phone and call the program manager and the contracting officer that are doing these projects and say, hey, we want to make sure that you understand this other stuff. We’re really making sure that we push forward that dialog with our team.

Ms. Pallone: Yeah, and I’d add the traditional model tends to be: I’m going to build a government-purpose system and I’m going to augment it with commercial. One of the things I’ve been asking my teams to do is to flip the script on that. How do you start with commercial at the core? How many of the requirements can you take off the table with commercial? And then how do you augment that with government-unique capabilities that you bolt onto the commercial, rather than bolting the commercial onto the government capabilities? We’re in the early stages of putting some of those strategies together. 

But I think it’s – we’re at a really interesting moment in time where the appetite to try models like that versus always going to what we are comfortable with is really being encouraged. I think if I look at where the space industry is as a whole today, versus where it was even a decade ago, we’re in an entirely different space where we can take advantage of that in ways that we weren’t able to in the past. We’d always aspired to, and we never could quite get there. We’re actually at that tipping point where we can get there. And I’m really excited to see how we can start changing how we approach partnerships. 

Col. McClain: And we have senior leader direction that’s really – says, hey, we want to open this door for you to run through it. The vice CSO is looking at where can you – where can we exploit what we have? Where can we buy that built by commercial, and then only build what we must? Which is exactly the strategy that you’re working with. Honorable Calvelli, the space service acquisition executive, his push is how do we – what’s out there? What can you take that has low, non-recurring engineering, and kind of start that as your core? Under my portfolio, the team recently did an RFI, request for information, on geospace domain awareness, looking at what are other ways to do that mission set? 

And we’re already doing – we have some capability up there. We’re looking at other opportunities. But we didn’t send out specifications up front. We said, what can you do? We’re taking that information back. And now we’re working within the service and comparing what is that – where do – where are the real military key requirements? Where are the potential area for trade space? And I expect this is going to go on with a collaborative approach with industry to help us get, I think, better capability at a much more affordable and faster rate.

Mr. Swope: I think one thing that you both are hitting on about using what is out there commercially as much as possible. And I have some background in industry, working on a system that is commercial – Project Kuiper at Amazon – kind of understand how that broadband community works and how it’s oriented around a commercial enterprise customer. It seems like there’s – sometimes there’s scenarios where a government requirement may be – you know, maybe 90 percent of what the commercial capability is, and that 10 percent is the government requirement. And sometimes, I think, I heard you use this, Colonel McClain, at your C4ISR net talk, where you compared it to police buying a Ford Explorer and adding on, you know, the sirens and the flashing lights, and someone else buying the Ford Explorer.

Sometimes it works that way, but sometimes it also works – you actually had – that 10 percent requirement needed to start from day one, when Ford Explorer was being built. And the private sector partner might not be incented to do that right away. They say, do I do this, do I not? You know, it’s costly. You know, but you have to do it from day one. It can’t just be bolted on, like the sirens. How – and I’m thinking about your GEO RFI for SDA capabilities. And you can maybe phrase it in the context of that, but how do you – so there’s two different ways that it could work where it’s still 90 percent of the requirements are commercial, 10 percent are government. But how it’s, like, folded into the recipe is at a different stage. Like, , how are you looking for that, just generally? Maybe again in the context of that RFI? And then maybe I’ll flip to an audience question after that.

Col. McClain: So I would say that’s where the dialog comes in. Sometimes that 10 percent that really has to be baked in at the beginning is a critical military – those are some critical, military-specific things. That may drive our acquisition strategy, because we’ll go out, we’ll do our discussion with industry, get their perspective, and understand really where the technology is. And if we’re talking about something that has to be at the core, then we may start off and start a full-up program. More traditional government acquisition approach.

There may other – there may be also times where we recognize there’s a couple things that I’m probably going to ask for in a space system – cryptographic equipment to make sure that we have secure communications, and propulsion where there’s a lot of discussion with Space Command, dynamic space operations. We need to be able to be where we need to be, when we need to be, rapidly. That doesn’t necessarily meet an industry market.

So are there opportunities for commercial companies that are looking at a commercial market to have – to make some design decisions early on that says, I’m not going to put a ton of resources in here, but I know there are hooks here. DOD, here’s my capability. Here are the areas where we need to do additional design to modify our commercial to get there. But we’ve put some hooks early on. That, to me, works well. But that only works well if there’s a commercial anchor market.

If you are working in a market that really has the government as the anchor, that’s going to be a different approach. And so when we talk commercial, a lot of our first – the first question a lot of times I’ll ask companies when I meet them is, what’s your commercial business case? And because I recognize the fact that, as a government, funding can fluctuate, there’s all sorts of other challenges that we can create.

If I see a – if there’s a commercial business case that a company is tracking, I try to look and ensure is there an area for overlap? Is there an area where we can work together where I can not create problems from the beginning, but instead do that approach to bolt on? Nothing’s ever perfect, but we need to be continuously looking really at all those aspects. 

Ms. Pallone: Yeah, and I’d add two things. One, until we’re consistently doing it, it’s going to be hard to motivate the commercial market to put those hooks in early versus late. But also, we have a lot of amazing tools at our disposal that we also didn’t necessarily have in the past. So if I look at a contracting mechanism, like other transaction agreements, I actually have an ability to get to a non-traditional to a commercial partner. I have the ability to invest some funding up front in, well, what if you changed your design to do this? What does that look like for a market? Can actually put some seed money into that system to help make that close.

Taking advantage of those tools early on, involving non-traditional and commercial vendors early on, to understand what the limitations are. And the end result could be there’s no commercial market for you if you do this, and this isn’t going to be a good business case, and this isn’t going to close, and I’m probably going to have to go out and do it on my own. Or it could be, that’s really not that big of a change. And so to design that in now, to be able to sell it to you later, and you’ve shown me with dollars that you actually have interest in buying it later, that now creates an ability to create that trust with the commercial market to say this is worth investing in. There is a market for it. The government is interested in it. And it’s really incumbent on us to be leveraging those tools as much as possible to start to make those changes happen.

Mr. Swope: Yeah. And it is that, you know, even if that hook is just so tiny, it’s always interesting to me to think about, that probably still has a cost to someone to put that hook in. And, you know, the ways to think about how best to incent that, or compensate that, or remove barriers for that, you know, that’s really interesting to hear that you’re thinking about that and you’re kind of putting that closing the business case hat on, as a government and person.

Col. McClain: I think it’s critical. If we, the government, our commercial strategy is out there, we want to leverage commercial as much as possible, it then becomes incumbent upon us to understand the commercial business case so that we can use commercial. If I create a situation where there is no commercial, business case, I can’t use commercial.

Mr. Swope: Yeah, that’s a good point. Yeah.

Col. McClain: And so that’s our – that’s an important role.

Mr. Swope: I’m going to flip to a question from the audience. This is from Sam Wilson at The Aerospace Corporation.

Do you see a future where the Defense Production Act framework – and I’m sorry I’m not familiar with Title Seven specifically, but Sam does that specifically Title Seven – can be used to promote public-private industry stimulation and integration through voluntary agreements?

Col. McClain: There’s a lot of tools with the Defense Production Act. A lot of times we do – or, we’re not always pulling on all of them. There may be an opportunity to leverage some of those other opportunities – those other titles. But I would argue that the Defense Production Act, when we start going down that path, there’s some definite purpose and intent behind it. And I would say that’s probably more of an executive/legislative discussion before – to really go down to anything like that.

Ms. Pallone: I’d also say, if you want to think about, more broadly, one of the things we’re really emphasizing with the workforce is understanding the full suite of tools at your disposal. So that is one example amongst many of there are many paths, other than this is how we’ve always approached acquisition of a product or capability, that we should be pulling on. Staying current on what that is, leveraging all the available tools at our disposal, and actually tailoring what we’re using to the specific problem set.

We have a tendency to say, this worked once, I’m going to do it in repetition forever because it worked once, without thinking through, but is it the right answer for the problem set? Is it the best way to get after the problem set? Is it opening doors that I would otherwise close if I used something else? Really trying to open the minds of the workforce to say, use every – use all the tools at your disposal. Don’t just go to, I bought the one tool, and I have the one tool, and I’m always going to garden the same way again. Things change. Take advantage of what’s now out there that’s going to make your life simpler or let you do something you didn’t think you could do in the past.

Mr. Swope: You could just wait for the batteries to die, but you really should be more proactive.

Ms. Pallone: Exactly, yeah. (Laughs.)

Col. McClain: Was going to say, I like her answer better. I’d like to change my answer. (Laughter.)

Mr. Swope: Well, here’s another shot.

Col. McClain: This is why we –

Ms. Pallone: Try two! Try two! (Laughs.)

Col. McClain: This is why we always work together. I’m definitely smarter whenever I’m with Ms. Pallone.

Mr. Swope: Yeah, well, definitely you’re a good team. You can tell. Definitely good in helping each other.

Ms. Pallone: We have complementary strengths.

Mr. Swope: Well, here’s – you can try it on this one now. Maybe, Ms. Pallone, you can go first on this. Done – and this is an acronym. And it’s a DOD one, and I forgot what it means. But you’ll know what it means. Does the structured and gated PPBE process impact your ability to effectively integrate? And this is from George Roberts, who says he’s from academia.

Col. McClain: Planning, programming, budgeting, execution system – a present from Secretary McNamara.

Mr. Swope: If I wasn’t on a stage in the spotlight, probably could come up with it, but it escaped me. (Laughs.)

Col. McClain: Yes.

Ms. Pallone: You warned us at the beginning that acronyms were going to be a challenge. That’s fair.

So I would say yes and no. The biggest headache with the PPBE process is that if we are not thinking proactively about how to keep opportunities open as we lay in budget, as we lay in plans, it can be a hindrance. If we’re being smart about what it is we’re trying to do, then I find that it’s actually flexible enough that I can do something. And in the rare case where I don’t have the flexibility to do what I want to do, I can always go back to Congress and say: I have a better plan. Can I execute that better plan? I’m going to change what I do, and just get the permission to go do it. I think we often forget that that’s a tool that we can use.

We want to say, we locked it in, we’re never going to change. If something happens real time, if I’ve got to change that plan real time, you have that ultimate – it is not ultimate flexibility. Congress can come back and say, no. No, thank you. We would not like you to spend your money that way. But you have that opportunity. We have an imperative to not place artificial limitations and barriers on ourselves. I think we do have the ability to better flex within that system than we sometimes do.

Col. McClain: So I would say, with PPBE, I think there is a lot of academic study out there. There’s a lot of discussion on what’s the best approach. From where I sit as a PEO, I think that is fantastic, and I love all the work on it, and I think it will make some of the implementation, some of the recommendations can improve. But I also say to me, PPBE is the system, and our job is to figure out, understand the constraints, and move forward. And so partnership with Congress is critical, and open dialog and open communication is critical to make that work. And we’ve – that’s been something that we’ve been working really hard with.

The Space Force, as a service, has very much been pushing program executive officers to make sure we have that good communication, that collaboration. We’re also a small service. So we have – I mean, I would argue it’s my friends that are involved in the – in the Pentagon that are doing the budgeting process. And they pick up the phone and say, hey, what’s going on with this? This doesn’t make sense. So it is a process. It does potentially have its hiccups. We also figure out ways to work with it and leverage collaboration to succeed.

Mr. Swope: I’ll do one other question here from the audience. This is from Pat Andrews at Howard University.

I tie this one to resilience too, or just enhancing capabilities. The guests have spoken a bit about industry. What about allies? Can they access some of the seed money and new contracting types?

Col. McClain: So-

Mr. Swope: I guess, another way I could put this, would – we don’t have to look at the GEO SDA RFI, but for any initiative where you’re either trying to acquire – you’re trying to build hardware, and you’re going to fly and operate it, someone at Space Force will, or you’re acquiring a service, would you look to things that foreign companies could offer? You know, maybe we could have a spectrum of companies. Let’s just say the U.K., for example, or Japan. Not saying North Korea.

Col. McClain: Yeah. (Laughs.) Yeah, no.

Mr. Swope: They can launch things into space, but I’m not saying you should buy things from them.

Col. McClain: I will take that advice. Thank you. (Laughter.)

Mr. Swope: That was free. (Laughs.)

Col. McClain: Yeah, thanks. So the reason that there is any pause is a recognition of there are various rules and regulations about what we can appropriately do in terms of contracting. That said, working with allies and partners is a critical step. The DOD does not execute a mission in modern conflict without our allies and partners. Everything is coalition. And in fact, within Space Systems Command we have an entire team that is looking at where are the areas for international collaboration. And they are always working with the two of us highlighting, did you see this? Do you know this is going on? So where various – where we can work with our allies and partners, that’s there. And where working with those allies and partners, it allows us access to and leverage their industry, that’s fantastic.

Ms. Pallone: Yeah. I’d say, first and foremost, we have to work with our allies. We’re never going into a fight alone. We’re going in with our allies. And that’s a huge force multiplier that we should not ignore. Specifically where I’ve been putting a lot of emphasis on the portfolio with allies is how do we exchange data? At the end of the day, the most important thing – if I go back to the OODA loop, if I go back to how I’m making decisions, if I go back to how I’m orienting – how am I sharing the data across our allies? How am I building the technology that allows me to do that, to be able to bring data in and say, OK, this is what you can see. This is what you can see. I’m going to make sure that all of that is shared. I’m going to get some information back in.

Making sure those capabilities are prioritized and coming to bear is a huge enabler in terms of the speed with which we can collaborate with our allies. And I’m really excited with where we’re headed on those efforts, because they are so critical to fighting together. The worst thing you can do is say we’re going to go into a fight together, and then I can’t tell you anything.

Col. McClain: So this also gets back to where we have a lot of integration. So from my perspective, I bring a lot of the hardware, Ms. Pallone works with a lot of the data. And so I necessarily – I more become a source for her to share with allies, then we do our collaboration. It’s much more how do we pull that all together?

Mr. Swope: Well, looking at the time, we’ve got about four minutes left. I’ve kind of got a question in mind to kind of close this out for both of you. And I recall, Colonel McClain, you mentioned at the event last week that you are a fan of history. So I’ll ground this to history. And I’ll kind of capture it as, like, part of your job is probably, since you do space domain awareness, let’s not have any surprises in space. You don’t want to surprise the warfighter. You don’t want to surprise the decision-maker. You want to know.

So I think of a big surprise. Churchill called it his darkest day during the war, was when he found out that the battleships Prince of Wales and Repulse were sunk. First time a capital ship that was defending itself has been sunk by air power at sea, December 10th, 1941. Thinking about the threat environment, thinking about everything that happens in space, I saw an article in Breaking Defense last week kind of just about how maybe an object came off the China space plane. It was cataloged on one day. That doesn’t mean that it was actually detached on that day, because it was so close to the space plane. So just kind of thinking about the challenges that you face – that both of you face – in space. And I’m thinking specifically SDA. 

What – to make it actionable, to make it as close to real time as possible? I think that’s where you fit in too, Ms. Pallone, into this equation. Where, what are those? What keeps you up at night? What are the biggest challenges, as you see them? And, you know, how are you trying to address them? Maybe, Ms. Pallone, can I start with you?

Ms. Pallone: Yeah. If I had to sum it up in one word, it would be timeliness. If I look at how, exactly to your point of if I don’t know when something happened, if I don’t know what potential intent is behind that, if I’m not providing information in a timely enough manner to take action, then it essentially becomes history. It’s an interesting exercise in looking back on events to say, OK, now I can maybe figure out how that happened. I might be smarter for the next time, but that actually isn’t meeting the intent of how do I have actionable, timely space domain awareness? How do I know what’s going on in the space domain in a timely enough manner that I can do something about it?

If I take away my ability to decide and act, then everything we’re doing is interesting but unimportant. And if I look at the age of our systems, some of the ability to pull data off real time, to be able to do sense making of that real time. There’s an incredible amount of transport and compute involved in that, that is complicated, that needs to be modernized, that needs to be updated to actually fully take advantage of everything that we have out there. And a lot of the challenge is I’m not just building from scratch where I can jump straight to modern technology. I like to tell people I spent a summer in Thailand in grad school. And my cell phone worked better there than I did in Los Angeles, because they had skipped landline technology. There was no buying into the old system.

We don’t always have the luxury, though, of saying, I’m just going to scrap and rework, because that takes a lot of investment that we don’t necessarily have. So how are we taking advantage of older generations of technology, but able to bring it into the latest technology to better sense-make from it, take advantage of it, aid in that decision-making process? And that is one of the hardest problems I think we deal with on a day-to-day basis.

Maybe not Bryon. (Laughs.)

Col. McClain: Well, so I’m going to give a completely different answer. And I’ve been wrestling with this as I’ve been in this job, trying to understand, what are my key stressors? And ultimately the thing that keeps me up at night is the people. How are we as leaders taking care of our people? How are we taking care of our Guardians, our airmen supporting Guardians? That’s actually the piece that concerns me the most, to make sure that that’s where my head’s at. Am I making the right decisions to take care of them?

Because when it comes down to it, everything that I talked about, I’m the figurehead that gets up here but it’s the team that’s doing all the work. I ask some questions. I try to present opportunities and then go up to leadership and provide the top cover for the team. But all of the hard work, all of the working with industry, all of the new systems, everything that we’re trying to do, it’s that amazing team out there at SSC that’s really – that’s really doing the execution. And so – and sometimes in my role as program executive officer, my job is to deliver – it’s easy to get so hyper-focused on a program that you forget all of the people that are doing that program. So that is always the piece that keeps me up at night. And I’ll tell you, everything that we’re talking about is all about enabling getting – helping our team think a little bit differently, and then enabling them to execute differently.

Mr. Swope: I think that’s a great way to end the first part of our event today. Thank you, Ms. Pallone. Thank you, Colonel McClain. I hope everyone can stick around. We’re going to take five minutes to add a couple more chairs and get the next group of folks up on the stage. But for now, let’s give a round of applause and hand to our panelists. Thank you. (Applause.) 


Scott Stapp: Good? All right. I’m getting a high sign over there of when I can start.

So, first, I wanted to thank Clayton for his kind introduction for me and to CSIS. This is my first thing. I’m hoping I don’t make him regret it afterwards, but it should be a fairly simple one.

So thank you all for joining us for the second panel here in, really, integrating space into the joint fight. What you’re really going to see in this group is really the opposite side of a common coin.

You just heard the DOD talking about what they’re looking at and now you’re going to hear industry, which is really the DOD actually builds nothing. I’m sure you all know that. Industry builds everything. So you’re going to hear the other side of the coin on how they look at the problem and kind of what they’re doing.

So first I want to thank our esteemed group of panelists. We’ll go around – I’ll let them introduce themselves, but I’m going to start with just names and where they’re from.

So Frank Di Pentino – and we’ve all pretty much worked together in the past, so which is another interesting thing. So Frank Di Pentino, he’s the chief strategy officer at True Anomaly.

Amy Hopkins, she is the general manager at Peraton for – they didn’t have it here. For-

Amy Hopkins: Guess.

Mr. Stapp: Space. (Laughter.) Exactly. Steve Kitay, he is the senior director of Azure Space at Microsoft, and we have Nate Notargiacomo. He is the head of HEO USA, Incorporated.

So with that, I’d like you all to just kind of give a little brief description of your past and what you do for your company.

Frank Di Pentino: Great. Thank you.

So I’ve worked in the national security space my entire life. I started with a degree in aerospace engineering and a master’s in ops research, and then my interest in space and counter space really began in earnest in 2004. I was a NRO technology fellow assigned to CIA to look at burgeoning counter space capabilities from China and Russia. 

That led to an ability to help Dr. Stewart Cameron stand up what became the survivability and assurance office at National Reconnaissance Office, and that addresses resiliency and protection issues. Then led some DNI initiatives for collection against counter space programs and analysis, and also had an opportunity to write international scientific papers on orbital debris both naturally occurring and those that would be the result of counter space tests like the Chinese ASAT test in 2007. 

During that entire time I served also as a subject matter expert in several of the major war games for the DOD and because of that General Raymond, when he became the first CSO, asked me to set up an analytic wargaming effort within the service to evaluate force designs in the Space Warfighting Analysis Center.

So that was a senior executive position that was term limited. That stopped in October, and I joined True Anomaly as the chief strategy officer. Is it OK to give a little bit of background too on the – on True Anomaly?

Mr. Stapp: Absolutely. Absolutely. I think that’s kind of what we’re going to get into the discussion on anyways, what you guys are doing.

Mr. Di Pentino: Great. Yeah.

So True Anomaly, in brief, was started by four former Space Force operators that wanted to go build the hardware and software they wished they had when they were in the service, and my particular interest in it is I see it as an amalgam of five separate startups.

One is hardware. We’re building novel, low cost, very capable spacecraft. Software to control that but also allow for war gaming and space battle management, much akin to the – and allows hardware as a service from not only our spacecraft but other spacecraft to plug into it.

As a third element of the startup is the AI logic and machine learning that we’re applying to both to revolutionize the way that humans interact with the machines and the software to make decisions more rapidly.

The fourth one is in our element of space operations where we’re coming up with new and novel tactics at both that tactical level and the operational level.

And then, finally, with my hiring in that strategy portion is to take all of those tools developed by the previous four, look forward into the future, anticipate what our adversaries may be doing, and then be able to build systems of systems to address those needs.

Now, all of that is made possible by the incredible relationship we have with our venture capital backing who are allowing us to take things at risk and be very forward leaning with the development of those systems prior to requirements even being let by the government.

Mr. Stapp: That’s actually great because we’ll get into some of those questions on that. 


Ms. Hopkins: Thank you, Scott, again, for having me.

My name is Amy Hopkins. In my past I spent a career in the department as a civilian intelligence officer. I have been deployed in support of military operations all over the world.

I have also had the distinct pleasure of working on not only the executive side but the legislative side of the House. Started my legislative career back working for the late Senator Roth. I also worked for Senator Carper as well, and culminating in my time on the Senate Intelligence Committee working the MIP and GDIP authorizations.

Then I put my government career behind me and dove head – you know, headfirst into industry. I figured I had had wonderful experience and time in the both executive and legislative branch, but as Scott said they don’t build anything. It’s really industries, that part of the partnership. 

Spent some time with Northrop Grumman and the Boeing Company. I also worked in the venture capital startup world for a company called Capella Space. Never in my life did I ever think in my lifetime we could be tasking commercial radar during COVID from my living room couch. Amazing how far we’ve come, and now working at Peraton as their vice president and general manager for national security space.

At Peraton we are a new generation defense company. It’s the company you don’t know that you already know. So we are an amalgamation of a lot of acquisitions, divestitures, so portions of Northrop Grumman IT, Harris, Perspecta, Solers, Bell Labs. We provide key mission integration, hybrid multi-cloud solutions. We do TT&C for not only ground systems but satellites, mission planning, and cyber capabilities.

We really are that cutting-edge enterprise IT and mission integrating – mission integrator across the totality of the department and the IC. Happy to be here. Looking forward to the discussions.

Mr. Stapp: Thank you. 

All right. Steve? 

Stephen Kitay: OK. That’s a tough act to follow but awesome people to be next to, friends and colleagues.

I’m Steve Kitay, senior director of Azure Space at Microsoft, and my career started under Scott Stapp so he was the one who brought me into space over 20 years ago. I’ve had positions at NRO, in the Air Force, civilian up on Congress on the House Armed Services Committee, and then in the Pentagon as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy.

So I’ve seen a range of positions in the government and have been very fortunate to help the transformation of space in the department to really recognizing the war fighting domain that it is and as a result of that the stand up of the Space Force.

So very grateful for the work of the government panelists Shannon Pallone and Colonel McClain and the work that them and their teams are doing. It’s extremely critical. It’s a big shift that we’re going through.

Now, how does Microsoft fit into that? So I’ve been at Microsoft now for over four years and, you know, when you hear Microsoft you may have the first thoughts that I had when I joined the company, which is you think of Windows and you think of Word and you think of PowerPoint. 

The company is a massive technology company that the whole focus is how we empower others, and we stood up Azure Space about four years ago and it’s all about how we work with partners.

So True Anomaly is a great partner but partners on this stage and many others of how you bring cloud computing and space technologies together, and for Microsoft we’re not building and launching any satellites but it’s helping bring it together, in a way, and one of the words that you heard from the last panel multiple times was data – how do you move that data, how do you understand that data, how do you secure that data. So we’re building a variety of solutions to do that.

Mr. Stapp: Thanks, Steve. And just one commentary. It makes me cringe every time Steve says that I brought him in because he was the second lieutenant and I was a colonel, which will just – makes me feel older and older all the time. (Laughter.) 

So the other thing is Steve is being very humble. Steve was both on the Hill and at OSD policy and was literally the driving force for the existence of the Space Force. So if you have hard questions about that they go to Steve. (Laughter.) 


Nate Notargiacomo: Thanks. Nate Notargiacomo. I am the director of HEO USA. Just quick on my background, 30 years with the federal government in some form or fashion, 20 DOD, last 10 with the ODNI. I am not a space person by trade and training. I’m a counterintelligence HUMINTer. 

After about 20 years of doing that I got grabbed by a(n) outstanding man named Larry Gershwin and Larry worked – I worked for him at DIC for a couple years where Larry then waterboarded me with the space and technical intelligence hose for three years, and I was very full of it and with – besides just a few years at the National Intelligence Council front office I worked the entire time IC level – space policy and strategy.

The last thing I did is I actually got to work in the counterpart office to Steve when he was DASD, the IC space executive office. I helped stand up the IC Commercial Space Council. Steve and I helped rewrite – one of the big rocks we broke, Steve, was – in addition to standing up an entire military service – was we rewrote the commercial remote-sensing reg. And I want to personally thank Steve because that actually did a massive deregulation of the commercial remote-sensing industry, which included non-Earth imaging, which is why I have a job now. (Laughter.) So that came full circle. 

After about 30 years of that, I decided I wanted to jump and go to industry full-time. It’s a long time to be doing federal government work. I started – took a step out. I ran a company called Velos for about a year, and then in November time frame I had some folks from Australia who came to me and said, hey, look, we have this company that takes – we have satellites that take pictures of other satellites on orbit and we want to stand up a U.S. subsidiary – how would you like to jump in on that and do that for us? And I said, that sounds super interesting.

Took a look at their tech, took a look what they delivered, took a look where they were at and I jumped at the opportunity back in November. So we are – we’re a two-person shop. Hilary Cohen is the director of operations sitting right there. She’s employee number two and I’m employee number one, and we’ve been running ever since.

But the main thing for HEO is they started about five years ago. They were going to be an asteroid mining company and so they developed technology that takes slack time on GEO imagers, right? So the secret there is, is that about 80 percent of the time the GEO birds that are taking pictures of the ground they’re not doing anything. They’re over the water. They’re over the poles. They don’t have a mission. 

So we actually kind of take them off like Uber and we give them taskings through our proprietary software and instead of take a picture of a bridge they turn, take a picture of a satellite. We download it and run it through our processing software and we kick it out.

So that brings our price to access way down because we’re not operating our own satellites or space vehicles and we’re doing everything automated. We have three offices now. We have one in Sydney, one in London, and one in D.C., and we get to travel to them all and it’s awesome. 

We have international clients from most of the Five Eyes countries in – for the Five Eyes plus and we have some solid commercial clients as well.

Mr. Stapp: Great. Thanks, Nate.

So you have a very interesting panel here because they’re all ex-guvvies, right? They have the inside scoop on how literally the IC and the DOD work and now they’re on the commercial and the industry side. So this should be a very interesting discussion.

So to level set everybody, I mean, why these panels haven’t occurred recently or, you know, up to 10 years ago is our adversaries have, obviously, started to change the way they operate. The airplane world no longer can get as close as they used to. There’s a lot of discussions about JSTARS, which was a ground-moving target indicator capability that’s got to move to a different domain.

So space has become the big integrator of everything and these folks are all kind of running it. So as you heard Colonel McClain and Ms. Pallone talk they start talking about kill chains within space. There’s really two kill chains they tend to look at. One is supporting the war fight from space so it’s supporting the kill chains that the other services are trying to close on the Earth, and the other one is supporting the kill chains in space.

So when you guys hear that – and, again, all of you come from industries that are doing direct support either through space domain awareness or IT and cloud and other activities. We’ll start on this end but I’m going to mix two kind of questions together. How does what you do relate to enable their mission in kill chain closure and when you hear the phrase “kill chain in space” what is your reaction, and from an industry or a commercial perspective is that the right term to be using?

Mr. Di Pentino: Excellent. So we’re building both the spacecraft and the software to look at all forms of SDA in multiple domains. So anything from metric track to fly-by imaging to inspection missions of all aspect either on cooperative or uncooperative targets. 

And so, you know, that, obviously, applies to indications and warnings, baselining the system. If you look at competitive endurance as a theory all three of those are backed by the systems that we’re building, and thinking about future platforms as well to answer other questions that the government may have. 

The employment of the term kill chains – and I’ll continue to use kill chains because it’s so ingrained in my vernacular, but there’s almost a more nuanced term that’s really being used by the combatant commands especially right now, which is kill webs, because many of the systems both that the U.S. and her allies are fielding as well as our adversaries are all interlinked; multiple redundancy. And so it’s creating a web, which makes a single point failure or targeting a single point much more difficult. 

But when you talk about kill chains there’s really two value points even to the terrestrial domain, right, which is preserving blue kill chains for the U.S. and our allies and denying red kill chains terrestrially which, you know, namely, those of China right now – what is an example of a space-enabled kill chain because, really, space only has value in what it provides to the terrestrial domain in a warfighting context.

So China has been investing heavily in anti-ship ballistic missiles and the way that those anti-ship ballistic missiles hold our Navy at risk and prevent them from closing to combat operational radius is through space-enabled ISR targeting, multi phenomenology proliferated, multiple orbits.

So an ability to degrade that ISR constellation then makes our carriers more survivable – our Navy surface action groups more survivable, and so space-enabled kill chains are incredibly important and the use of that term is something we are proponents of.

Mr. Stapp: OK. There’s some in the commercial world who have an adverse reaction to kill chain and so I appreciate that.

 So, Amy, so national security space at Peraton. So tell us a little bit about how you guys are doing this.

Ms. Hopkins: So like all of my panel colleagues up here we’re also working in pretty much every element, whether it’s the TT&C for the on-orbit or ground elements, the mission planning, the data processing. We are involved in every single one of those aspects when it comes to this mission. 

When it comes to kill chain, so for me, having grown up over the last we won’t say how many decades because it’ll just age Scott more, I also have kill chain ingrained in my vernacular.

But what I’ve started to find myself doing now, especially working so closely in the space domain, is I’m actually moving more towards using an effects chain because I might not necessarily want to always kill it. I might want to deny it. I might want to degrade it.

So what’s wonderful about space is our quiver is so vast. We have the whole broad spectrum of those types of effects that we want to be able to do either on space or in order to support whatever’s happening on the ground or in the air.

But the one thing I always like to stress to folks is whether it’s a kill chain or an effects chain data integrity is paramount, I believe, in the space domain because if at any point – each of those links in that chain – I mean, we can tear a page out of the kill chain manual, that each link has to be resilient, has to be redundant, has to be robust. It has to – you know, all of it. If at any point in that chain the integrity of that data is compromised the whole system falls apart.

So for space when I think of a kill chain or an effects chain I have to not only think about find, fix, target, track, engage, assess, but data integrity and I have to wrap that up in all of it because all of our data is traveling through sometimes commercial nodes, not purely DOD or purely IC spaces.

So have we been able to – do we have faith in the data that’s traveling through those chains for the effects that we’re looking for. That’s what I think about when I think about a kill chain or, as I like to say, an effects chain through space.

Mr. Stapp: Thanks. So we kind of heard Colonel McClain talking about that the DOD was really good at building systems but they were struggling with systems of systems across heterogeneous systems, right? 

So when you look at kill chains and they have to go across heterogeneous systems you need a lot of data flow. You need a lot to understand how that integrates. Microsoft, obviously one of the world’s leaders and looking at whether it’s software, whether it’s cloud services, and a lot of that flows through those kill chains.

So, Steve, for you as you start to look at this problem set and how Microsoft plays in it are you getting what you need from the government and are you – how are you looking at helping integrate the government to be able to execute those kill chains?

Mr. Kitay: So I guess, first off, you know, you had mentioned within your company are you talking kill chains. Typically, we’re not using that exact term, you know, at Microsoft. It ends up coming more down to data and decision making and enabling those end customers whether, you know, government, commercial, or otherwise. And, you know, when I do think about that term and some of the comments made one of the points I would probably throw out there is it feels like a term like that has so much linearity with it where it’s just like this straight line.

But it’s so much more complex than that and, you know, I reflect kind of here on – I’ve got a 13-year-old son who’s part of the chess club and he’s been teaching me chess. I never knew chess. I was always a checkers person growing up. Chess is much more complex. There’s many moves with it. You have to think in multi dimensions. You have to think ahead. You have to think how you’re protecting your king and using the other pieces on the board.

So when I think about this challenge that the Space Force is facing and enabling the kill chain – the effects chain, the effects web – for the joint fight there’s so many pieces on the board and it’s leveraging those different pieces like the capabilities that are up here. 

The other thing I would briefly say is the amount of data coming into that web effects is staggering. There was a study that was done by NSR that projected over the next 10 years there’s 500 exabytes of data coming from space.

Now, when you hear exabytes it’s kind of, well, I don’t know, you know, how much that is or can relate to that. So I kind of did the brief math on that, and if you convert it to a high-definition movie that would be a hundred billion high-definition movies. I know my kids watch a lot of Netflix. They’re not watching that much Netflix. Nobody is watching that much Netflix.

The point is the tools to make sense of that data, the tools to then have the foundational level to store it, catalog it, bring artificial intelligence on top of it is going to be key to that. So that’s how we end up fitting in.

Mr. Stapp: That’s great.

Nate, I mean, you’ve had a lot of experience in the intelligence community as well in this. When you look at what space looked like 10 years ago it was really the purview of the intelligence community. ISR all belonged in the intelligence community, none of it in the DOD. That’s all shifted. You have experience in both worlds now.

How are you seeing those integrating and actually contributing to these kill chains?

Mr. Notargiacomo:

 From a commercial perspective or for both?

Mr. Stapp:

 From a commercial perspective.

Mr. Notargiacomo: Yeah. Great, great question.

So I’m going to speak from a HEO perspective because I’m mostly a commercial remote-sensing guy now.

Mr. Stapp: Right.

Mr. Notargiacomo: So from a HEO perspective we’re just a – I would call us just a commercial collections platform and I’ll add collections and analytics platform, right? 

If you think about the kill chain, and I agree with what everybody said here about kill chains and kill webs. I think there’s more nuance to that, right? But just taking a kill chain on – as a continuum, we are all the way on the left side so the find-fix-track-identify piece so we identify/characterize objects in space.

We tell you, yeah, that is COSMOS 1234 and here’s why and here’s a picture of it. Then the chain can execute from there. And then, oddly enough, we’re all the way to the right as well. So we could actually do battle damage assessment on that and that’s something we – after an effect is executed.

Fortuitously, we imaged COSMOS 1408, and if you all recall 1408 was what the Russians blew up a few years ago, and as a guy who was intimately involved in looking at that in my former role I was personally shocked at what I saw in the image. It’s remarkably more intact than I thought it would be and I can say that in this room because it’s a completely unclassified photo. I can show it to you on my phone and I’m happy to do so if you’re interested.

And I’ve showed it to a lot of folks. I think just in our mind when we heard that 1408 was hit by an anti-satellite missile in space we just thought it was vaporized and it’s just not. So that came into my mind of, you know, all the way to the right I think that there’s a market for that battle damage assessment in space even if it’s non-kinetic – even if it’s a non-kinetic strike. You know, did the satellite turn? Did it go into a safe mode? Is it doing something differently? We can provide you answers to that part of it.

Mr. Stapp: Very good.

  1. So we’re going to move on to the – kind of this next set of questions. You know, the office of the secretary of defense – space policy, Steve’s old office – and Space Force recently released complementary strategies on the integration of commercial space services and capabilities in the hybrid security space architectures, right, and there’s also a discussion of a commercial reserve.

How do you see commercial companies as well as defense industry as a whole working and helping the Space Force develop those architectures? 

Mr. Di Pentino: Does anybody else want –

Mr. Kitay: Well, I’m happy to start that one as the former policy guy. 

One, I think those are great strategies that were put out there. I think that they were really well done from the policy office or from the Space Force office. The key, of course, is execution – execution and implementation of those strategies. That’s what all of us in industry are now waiting on – what’s the next move, what actions do they take, what funding follows behind it.

I would say one of the key things in the words that you used that is critical to that strategy is this term hybrid space architecture and that there’s actually activities going on within the Department of Defense.

We’re working with DIU and Space Force on a contract specifically that and it’s all about the integration of government, commercial, and allied space systems on a common and secure cloud platform, and I believe that’s so important because the future is going to be all those systems.

It’s not going to be all commercial. It shouldn’t be all government, and the allies have tremendous capabilities as well. So how do you start breaking down the stovepipes? How do you start bringing the additional security that Amy was mentioning so the ultimate user and warfighters know that they can trust it, which they can because there’s more and more security being built into these systems both with Microsoft and our partners.

And, you know, I think that that’s the next step with these strategies is moving out on those architectures, implementing it into different activities whether that’s JADC2, Joint Fires network, or other activities like that.

Mr. Stapp: OK. And so, you know, a lot of these architectures and a lot of this world is new. It’s literally a clean sheet design. 

 So, Frank, do you think that the DOD and the IC both should be pulling in commercial worlds to help them architect and understand those technologies better? 

Mr. Di Pentino: Absolutely. Go ahead.

Mr. Stapp: No, no. I was going to say are they starting to do that? Do you see that coming from your side?

Mr. Di Pentino: Yeah. And I think even – we desire to be that and to work with the government on that to know the domain and lead term some of the requirements; that before they let requirements, we’d actually like to be designing and ideating on those systems. So present us problems, not requirements demanding a response. It’s much easier, then, to iterate alongside the government, then, and be their innovation engine; especially venture capital backed, we can go take those risks.

But you know, one leader, I think, in this is NGA, you know, that it’s done a phenomenal job about Earth imaging and federating that out to commercial imagery. But even announced at the recent geospatial intelligence conference, I believe the director of NGA talked about now moving towards purchasing analytic products where the collection, the tasking, the execution, the analysis, and the resultant thing would all be done by the contractor at the unclassified level and that final product would be handed over to the government as a product.

We would love to do those types of things in space domain awareness and other functions to allow us to integrate all of those things rapidly and iterate so that we can hand the government a final product, not just be a data provider, and that’s also why we’re looking at AI and machine learning to think through clever tasking, constellation management, some of the type of things that you guys probably do with HEO as well. So we would love to partner with the government on those types of endeavors.

Mr. Stapp: That’s good. And then for those who – just to baseline everybody on how it used to be done, so I used to run what was called the Joint Requirements Oversight Council. The DOD sets requirements and then they just hand them to industry to go build stuff. 

So they’re trying to do more and more where they integrate, and so I’m curious – for the rest of you are you starting to see them pulling you in to do that integration and that architecture development from a commercial side?


Ms. Hopkins: I’m seeing more of it, not at a pace that I think any of us would like, especially all of us who have lived it in the government. This is nothing new. We’ve been talking about this for the better part of the last 20 years, and I think we can accelerate how we are bringing folks in, especially in light of – just from a personnel standpoint, the – whether it’s the department or the services the skill sets that are required – software engineers, aerospace. 

We aren’t growing them inside the service. They really – they’re out in industry. We want to – we should be able to leverage the skill set that industry has and vice versa the requirements side, the warfighting side that the department has. Either one on its own is not going to reach what we all know is possible if we all could work it together. 

Again, we’ve been talking about hybrid constellations for, again, over 20 years now. In no other domain is it ever just the department. We have always leveraged commercial and coalition forces. This should be no different, and I am constantly perplexed as to why it does take so long.

We would never – I mean, in the air domain we are – look at what we did with ISR Task Force. There was commercial folks brought in in order to augment the ISR requirements that we needed during the global war on terror.

We fought with our coalition partners. It’s finding which entity brings the best of breed. What does commercial bring that’s best of breed? What does our coalition bring? What does the U.S. bring?

Pulling it together, training and exercising with it all together so that the first time you need it isn’t the first time you’re using it, and I think that we have to – we in industry are continuing to push. We would like to see more push from inside the department and the IC as well. I think there’s still way – the level of uncomfortableness is still too high. There seems to be still too much risk aversion to bringing in and architecting together.

Mr. Stapp: Right. So you’re seeing – it is interesting – commercial getting involved in things that you’d never seen commercial get involved in, some of the areas you’re working in. A handful of years ago that would not have happened.

So, Nate, are there areas you think should be strictly left to the DOD and defense side that shouldn’t be commercial or do you think it should be opened up to everything?

Mr. Notargiacomo: Yeah. I mean, I think there definitely has to be limits, right? So I would say anything that delivers an effects to a target, you know, substantively was probably best left to the professionals to do that, right? 

But, you know, as I think about my time working with the government and then now working here having to close a business case, managing a profit and loss statement, I think we all know that the government builds amazing systems, right, and they do very, very amazing things. But they also pay amazing prices for that.

So if we were to try to build a similar system we would never close the business case. So the things that we can do in commercial, and that kind of goes across the board for almost all of the capabilities, is we can build lower cost systems that can do a solid percentage of what needs to get done for DOD and IC purposes and you guys just go off and do awesome things with those, you know, very, very awesome systems.

You know, we’ve done this historically throughout all domains. I mean, all the way back to precolonial levels – eras, right? The pros do the pro stuff, and then let the – let business kind of pick up the rest of the slack for it.

Mr. Stapp: OK. Good.

I’m going to ask one more question and then we’re going to go to some of the audience questions. There was this – you brought it up, Amy – the discussion on international partners, coalition, allies. I think that broadens the commercial case when you start to look at it at international opportunity space.

How are you guys looking at international opportunities and allies that help you augment what you’re doing for the Space Force? 

We’ll start with Frank.

Mr. Di Pentino: We’re already working with other governments that are our traditional space allies partners to provide services for them as well, and with the potential of – you know, and we’re looking at different profit models, right? Is it a go-go? Is it a co-co model? What are the different things? But – and different allies and partners are interested in different structures for that. And so we’re entertaining all of those as well, and I’m very excited to play with them.

Mr. Stapp: Are you finding any obstacles on releasability through the U.S. government in those areas?

Mr. DiPentino: Yeah. I mean, there’s, you know, ITAR issues and those types of things. But I think it’s important to work with the U.S. government in those engagements and so that – I think we’ve gotten some traction there as well.

Mr. Stapp: Very good.


Ms. Hopkins: Echo the thoughts, especially when it comes to the ITAR and EAR. When I look at our National Defense Strategy and it is pushing for more coalition and partnership, as a country we can’t do that if industry’s hands are tied behind their backs. 

What are we doing to then facilitate working with our allies and our partners, and instead of – we need to flip the equation and instead of going through and I think every step of the way it’s a no. It should be prove to me why it can’t be yes that we can go and work and provide this capability to our coalition partners. 

So that part of the equation, again, the risk tolerance as far as I’m concerned is still – it is – it’s not where it needs to be if we are truly going to be in line with what the National Defense Strategy says.

Mr. Stapp: Very good. 


Mr. Kitay: I would just add or echo that the allies are critical, absolutely essential to the way ahead in this area. There are activities going on in the department that have been going on a number of years, one of which is this forum called CSpO – Combined Space Operations – that back when I was there it was the Five Eyes plus France and Germany. It’s since expanded to a number of other countries. I think that’s a great move.

I echo the point that Shannon Pallone made earlier that we really need to ensure that we have the information sharing, the infrastructure in place, to move data across to the different allies and partners across different security levels, and then I believe that’s the first step. After that you start really getting to combined operations, command and control, in a joint manner and coalition manner. But I think that’s an area we should be moving out very quickly.

Mr. Stapp: Agreed. 


Mr. Notargiacomo: Yes. So spending about the whopping six or seven months working for an international company I’ll caveat this with I spent about six years working overseas in various countries hand in hand with our – some of our international partners.

But now that I’m on the commercial side and working with about a half dozen different countries around the world it occurs to me that commercial space can provide capabilities and capacities to countries that have zero today.

So when I think about when I was working with those allies and partners one of the things that we needed to do is help them build capacity, and some of them came ready to rock. Some of them in a country that shall remain nameless didn’t know how to read or write so we had to hand a guy like that a GPS receiver and explain to him how to use that. That was fun. 

So the one thing that I do tell my international partners is that – you know, I think that they think that just because they have relationships with other countries that have space-based services and capabilities that they’re just going to kind of get it from there. That’s kind of a tenuous thread. I think we all kind of understand that. 

The one thing that they really haven’t kind of thought through in a more wholesome way is they can buy the same level of – well, they could buy really solid level commercial space capabilities today for pennies on the dollar of what it would cost for them to launch indigenous systems and they’ll get it a lot more reliably than asking a partner that may or may not have excess capacity.

So what does that do for us? So when that partner then comes to the table during a time of conflict or a civil emergency or what have you they come way more informed. They know how to use the data and they come with being on the table, right? 

So instead of having to start them over from ground zero for our government teams they’re starting from a much more advanced location. So I would encourage folks that as – especially our government friends, as you go out and talk to your national partners and allies please encourage them to talk to the U.S. commercial space world. I mean, we’re ready to chat with them.

I’m going to echo some comments here, though, on ITAR regimes. Some of those folks in the commercial remote-sensing world, in particular the commercial – they’re getting strangled by some of that, right? I think what you’re saying is correct. It’s almost – the risk tolerance is so low it’s just a de facto no, and it just does not make sense to sell stuff that have been – to allies that have been with us in the fight for decades, right? So I’d ask for some help there as well.

Mr. Stapp: And I will tell you, I mean, that there’s a very serious whipsaw here, right, which is as the guy who ran special programs for the entire Department of Defense our whole goal in life was not to share with anybody, right, and now we are literally at a place where our whole goal in life is to share with all of our allies and that, from a policy and political standpoint, is very difficult to do.

So we’re going to go to some audience questions. The first one resonates with me just because I was in a C-suite at a prime and it will probably apply more to Amy and Steve, but it asks how can DOD provide a demand signal to industry for developing a capability or service that resonates enough with the C-suite so that it agrees to make needed investments perhaps before DOD brings any money to the table.

I think in the VC world they already do that in a lot of ways. But I’m going to start with you two and then see what, Nate, you and Frank think. 

So Amy? 

Ms. Hopkins: So I’m going to pull on a couple of different past experiences. 

At the end of the day, from a C-suite perspective, especially as a GM, what is my business case? Whether it is to the shareholder, to the venture capital who has supported me, or to private equity, what is the return going to be? And most of them don’t like it when I go, just trust me.

I need to be able to show artifacts and it can’t be a guessing game either. This is the other part. The “trust me” or the guessing game is not going to work. So there has to be a cadence that is happening on a regular drum beat. Whether it is RFIs, industry days, RFP, and the contract, it can’t take fits and starts. You do that one too many times and they go, no, we’ve seen this go before – we’re not going to invest in it. Or it takes 10 years. I have not yet met an investor who says, yeah, sure, I’ll take 10 years.

 We have got to move at a pace and at a drumbeat and at a cadence that implies it’s about trust. Nothing – it’s about relationships, advocacy, and that trust, and if the department is not building that trust with our industry partners, the investors they’re going to walk away.

Mr. Stapp: Great.


Mr. Kitay: I’ll build off on the trust piece on – at least in my experience from, you know, what I’ve seen now four years in industry. One of – really, that key components of success is the partnership and it’s not looking at this as, well, this is purely transactional for, you know, this business but understanding that you are working with commercial industry, you know, defense industrial base, different parts of that, but looking at it as a partnership to achieve outcomes to advance the mission.

So the partnership ends up taking its, you know, form in leadership – in how they’re communicating publicly, how they’re communicating through meetings, how they’re spending their time. And then, of course, you know, a key component ends up being the resources. Are the resources then being applied consistently to, you know, what’s being heard from it? Because, you know, that’s certainly one thing I’ve learned in the commercial industry of the investments are made, you know, on analysis of risk of, you know, where the market is going, and it’s made in advance of requirements or in advance of contracts often. And that can be of great advantage to the department, but it needs to be looking at the industry, really, as a partner as opposed to something transactional. 

Mr. Stapp: Very good. So in a VC in a smaller company world, Frank, what do you guys think about that? Basically, can you invest ahead of need, betting on the come that they will actually buy it once you’ve developed it?

Mr. Di Pentino: Yeah. I mean, our whole business case is predicated on that.

One of the things I would note, though, too, you know, we think one of our unique value propositions is we have a cognitively diverse staff of some of the best people across each one of those value chains across the entire national security space enterprise.

So we have some of the best former satellite operators including our founders, folks like myself bringing in more the operational and strategic level acquisition. We have folks who have, you know, built legacy systems for other primes that bring all of that resident knowledge into the kind of systems we’re trying to build.

So we’ve horizontally integrated against all those capabilities but the – on the government side that doesn’t happen. The previous two panelists were a rare exception where the BMC3 and the SDA are being programmed together.

So in order for us to make our entire value proposition back to the government we would have to have several PEOs and program managers in the room at the same time to realize that collectively what we’re giving them answers all of their problems.

And so, you know, if there’s a way for the government to think about – you know, in the space domain we have both the burden and the opportunity to simultaneously develop the kit and the way we’re going to operationally employ that and we have to do that quickly, and we can do that in partnership with the government. But the government really does need to bring to bear decision makers who are able to span across that entire offering space and make a unilateral decision.

Mr. Stapp: Great.

Nate, do you have any thoughts?

Mr. Notargiacomo: Yeah. I mean, the other thing I’ll add is, you know, as a later stage startup that has a lot of venture capital behind it I would just kind of echo what my colleagues have already said. We have limited – generally speaking, limited runway and we have limited chase dollars.

So the demand signal that the government gives to us is absolutely critical, right? So as any normal startup would – you know, that has made it as far as we have, we have identified a problem that we can solve in the U.S. national security world as well as in civil and commercial space.

But that doesn’t mean we can last forever, right? So if you’re sending a demand signal we will spend money to meet that demand signal in good faith. And so I think Steve’s description of the partnership is exactly how we think of it as well, right? 

We take it on faith that the demand signal is real and it’s going to come with some sort of a fund stream on the end. I think I’ll leave it at that.

Mr. Stapp: No, I think that’s good. I think when you look at the commercial world as a whole, most commercial when they’re actually selling, whether it’s, like, Microsoft and others is you’re selling to a commercial –

Mr. Notargiacomo:


Mr. Stapp – customer, enterprise, is you are investing ahead of need. You recognize that customer is going to need it. The DOD is struggling with that a little. Part of it is, as they talked about in this last panel, the PPBE process – the planning, programming, budgeting, and execution – where you get money from the Hill it is not designed in such a way that it is easily acceptable of if you build it we will buy it. It typically works the other way – we’ll pay for it and build us exactly what we told you to build. So it tends to stifle out a little bit of innovation.

Ms. Hopkins: I think we’re also to a – and I was – I’m guilty of this, too. Talking about the department and PPBE, I think as a community we need to hold the legislative side of the House as responsible as the others.

Constant CRs and a constant just – you can’t effectively plan against anything like that and if we don’t reverse this trend I think it’s going to have a cataclysmic effect on those of us who need to work at the pace of what technology could afford us otherwise.

Mr. Stapp: Totally agree.

  1. So I’m going to close with a question of my own because we have about six minutes left, and what we have is a very unique panel. We have folks across the DOD and IC with long histories. We have folks who spent time on the Hill and you literally – they have had a ton of experience.

So with all your experience if you were put back into the department as a senior leader, say, DepSecDef, what would you do and what would you do differently that you have learned from your time in the commercial world? 

Mr. Kitay: And one thing before we answer that, you have to answer that question, if I can request, at the end after us.

Mr. Stapp: Sure. (Laughter.) Moderators aren’t supposed to do that, but –

Mr. Kitay: All right. (Laughs.)

Mr. Stapp: All right. Frank?

Mr. Di Pentino: I think it was, sure, Lieutenant, is the way – (inaudible). (Laughter.) 

Wow. So, you know, let’s talk about competitive endurance and I’ll limit it to sort of our data set rather than the broader aspect, which I think you talked about. But I think that can be summarized as, you know, in the spectrum from competition to crisis to conflict there’s this idea, I think, that they’re putting forward to say if we can remain in that competition phase with low-level assertion of our right to be in the domain that that will endure and remain below the level of armed conflict.

Industry can do that in a quick way to stay ahead of the ideation, acquisition, and fielding loop of the adversaries. So industry could actually be the forcing function for competitive endurance if they’re given the runway to be the progenitor of that idea making, you know, and of that innovation. 

So it would require a radically different approach to the way you would budget contracts and that sort of thing. But I think that that, to me, if I were back in the government I would open opportunities to do that, especially that we’re just now fielding very nascent systems in this domain we would have an opportunity to jumpstart several generations of capability by doing something like that.

Mr. Stapp: Very good.


Ms. Hopkins: I have a list of at least a hundred things long exactly of what – if I only knew then what I have been exposed to now. The one item that keeps returning to the top of that list is security reform.

We have an industrial age process in a digital world. The fact – again, what I wish I knew then. When I went into industry and was blissfully ignorant of how the security clearances were or were not doled out based on contract and I go, well, what do – I don’t understand. I have a TSS, you know, whatever. Oh, no, no, no, that completely changes. I go, but I’m still the same person. I have still passed all of these tests, whatever.

The fact that we are still grappling with that in this day and age we should all be ashamed of ourselves. That alone – if we could make some significant strides in that I think it would have a domino effect on bringing industry and the department together and discussing the requirements and our needs and instead of having to guess. 

You know, those of us who have been in the department, you know, I guess pretty good but still that, to me, is something that keeps jumping up to the top of my list and if we could I would absolutely go back and do everything I could in my power. Whether I would – you know, if you put me back on the Hill or put me back in the department I would make it the windmill I tilted at for the rest of my career.

Mr. Stapp: All right. So, Steve, after creating the Space Force what else would you do?

Ms. Hopkins: Disney World.

Mr. Kitay: So – Disney World. Exactly. (Laughter.) 

You know, I can’t help but reflect at the moment we’re at geopolitically of this great power competition and that, I think, is reflected through – bipartisanly through, you know, various administrations at this point and it’s an extremely important moment and a really serious moment.

And I have to reflect actually back, and I think of a book that I’ve read called “Freedom’s Forge.” “Freedom’s Forge” is all about the mobilization of the industrial base before and leading up to World War II and the early phases of it and how GE and other great American companies came together to help build planes and ships and tanks and rifles and bullets, and I think about what does that look like today, and where my mind goes and where I believe the Defense Department needs to be thinking about what that looks like has a very, very strong role of the technology sector.

And I know you can see me as, you know, Microsoft up here and say, well, that’s awfully self-serving. But when you think about the innovation of capabilities, of cloud and AI, and these technologies it is absolutely transformational and the resources going into it.

And the last thing I would say is when at least you’re thinking about Microsoft in that context do not be just thinking it’s Microsoft because if we’re doing this right it’s Microsoft that’s the platform and tool provider that’s bringing in HEO data, that’s bringing in True Anomaly capabilities, and integrated by Peraton because, ultimately, we’re not an integrator. We’re looking to, you know, the defense industrial base that can integrate across all those systems but we’re the platform to do it. So that’s what – I would be coming with that mindset.

Mr. Stapp: OK,


Mr. Notargiacomo:

 Yeah. So I love the security clearance issue, right?

Mr. Stapp: Everyone loves that one.

Mr. Notargiacomo:

 Oh, my gosh, yeah. I –

Mr. Stapp: She took the gimme. (Laughs.)

Mr. Notargiacomo: That resonates with me – two years, the same person, right? 

I love the data integration piece as well, Steve. I think that’s something we struggle with as well. And I love the fact that – I mean, we at HEO are just learning that as a small we need to go to the bigs and be data providers to them. And then the data integration kind of takes care of itself, right, because you guys have already integrated into the DOD IC systems. 

But this is a little bit of a – almost a softball for us here because my last four years in the IC I was able to do basically what they call now, I think, the commercial space program issue manager position, and so all of the things that irritated people in industry and in the intelligence community that we want to just get fixed landed on my desk. 

And it was just such a fun job. I mean, it was one of the reasons why I decided I wanted to go into the space industry. So in that role I mentioned we were able to kind of grab the commercial remote-sensing rule and then grab it from, you know, very draconian national security focused restrict, delay, push the can down the road, over to a much more reasonable, much more permissive, commercial remote-sensing environment.

The other thing we did was we established the IC Commercial Space Council, which brings together all of the families of the intelligence community that play a significant role in commercial space, and we set it as an SES level board and they get together, I think, quarterly and they set strategy policy direction for how the community is going to use and engage with and regulate in their regulatory role commercial space.

The other thing that we did was we said, look – and there’s an anecdote that I can share but I won’t – we realized that there were folks that were making substantive decisions on acquisitions and policy that had never worked a day in industry but they were asserting that they knew everything there was to know about industry.

So we stood up something called the IC Commercial Space Partners Forum, which I think is still going, where half – it’s a half-day forum. Half of the morning is industry telling the IC what the IC needs to know and the other half is the IC telling industry what the industry needs to know.

So I think that was pretty successful and all those are still going on in some form or fashion now. So if I could rewind that tape a little bit more, I would actually like to have had opened those mechanisms for industry and IC or government to collaborate more substantively and have more open dialogs without the lawyers saying competitive advantage, don’t talk to each other, don’t give up requirements, sit there and don’t say anything. Just having an open adult conversation about how are we going to operate as partners in space, because that’s essentially what we do.

Mr. Stapp: Very nice.

All right. OK. Fine. (Laughter.) So they basically covered all mine because Amy took the gimme, which I’m a security guy, right? So I would tell you I would totally reinvent that world because that’s – you can’t integrate anything you don’t know about.

Steve stole the other one, which was you would all be horrified that you have the Internet of Things where your phone can look into your refrigerator, which who knew you needed to do that, right? (Laughter.) And you can have packages delivered. Unlock your door remotely, have it dropped in, relock your door. You can do that stuff.

You all would be horrified that nothing in the department talks to anything else in the department from a systems level capability. They missed the entire Internet of Things. So when you see JADC2 there was a term we had coined, which was the warfighter Internet of Things. That’s all they’re really asking for. They missed that whole opportunity space, and I will get to what I think needs to be fixed to do that.

Everything was transactional between the DOD and, literally, just the commercial world and even defense industry. Hey, there’s people who wear a uniform and fight fights and then there’s these other folks who we’re saving them from themselves, right? 

And what you need to do is that whole group needs to be integrated. When we do studies in the department and they have integrated coalitions between the services, they do it between the services, they do with the IC, but they never bring in the commercial world. They bring so much.

So if you were developing a strategy – the department and the military guys are really good at developing military strategy, right, but the strategy you would develop if you’re going into a fight with a bow and arrow versus a gun is vastly different and that is a technological change.

What they are missing completely is the technological opportunity and how that would impact their strategies and how they would change it. Getting them all together on a regular basis – I mean, regular, like, it needs to just be part of the system would change all that and they would finally get their internet of warfighting things. And to do that, you have to fix the security problem first. Done. That’s it.

Ms. Hopkins: Yeah. That’s it.

Mr. Stapp: Anyways, I think that closes us out. I want to thank CSIS for hosting this event. I really want to thank the panelists. You guys are amazing.

This is – I have very rarely seen a group with this level of experience both in the government and in industry so thank you all for attending this and thank you, the audience, for coming out.

That’s it. Thank you. (Applause.)