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Industry Panel Stresses Speed, Innovation, Efficiency

11/03/2009

Industry Panel Stresses Speed, Innovation, EfficiencyCOLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Nov. 4, 2009) -- Today's industry panel at the Strategic Space Symposium focused on underlying processes and approaches, stressing the need for more efficiency, innovation, and sustainability.

Moderated by The Aerospace Corporation President and CEO Wanda Austin, Ph.D., the panel suggested ideas that they felt could improve their responsiveness to military operations needs.

Lt. Gen. Brian Arnold, USAF (Retired), vice president, Space Strategy Space and Airborne Systems, Raytheon Company, said that speed is the most critical factor. His views were supported by comments from David DiCarlo, Ph.D., sector vice president and general manager, Space Systems Division, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems (pictured), who said that innovation and leveraging existing platforms can both speed development and deployment.

Rick Ambrose, vice president and general manager, Surveillance & Navigation Systems, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, also called for stability - in funding, requirements, and leadership.

Inserting another critical concept to the discussion, Brig. Gen. Tip Osterthaler, USAF (Retired), president & CEO, AMERICOM Government Services, said that industry needs to be prepared to walk away from work that doesn't make sense. For example, he said, businesses shouldn't take on jobs where the costing, requirements, or technology needs would make it impossible to deliver the desired project in the desired timeframe.
DiCarlo spoke about technology, saying that speed can be achieved by maximizing already-available or soon-to-be-available technologies. He said that systems engineering can be a vital tool for meeting needs more quickly and more effectively. "I certainly don't advocate 'one sizes fits all,' said DiCarlo, "but, I do think technology can be leveraged for faster turnaround."

He said that technological innovation also helps meet the challenges of attracting and retaining a talented workforce. "The challenge is to keep young talent interested, motivated, and encouraged," he said, "and, technology focus goes a long way to do that."

Arnold said downsizing the workforce in the 90s created an uphill climb to get staffing back where it needed to be, adding that frequent fluctuations are what create the staffing issues. "You need a stable workforce with key skills that you habitually refresh."

Ambrose added that shorter cycle times would help motivate and retain the workforce by keeping employees more continually engaged.
According to Osterthaler, the roots of workforce issues are in the basic education systems. He congratulated the Space Foundation for the work it is doing to improve science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills and challenged industry to get involved by supporting programs and providing scholarships.

When asked what advice industry would offer to the government, each panelist gave his view:

  • Ambrose: Find a mechanism to encourage innovation without endangering programs, including ensuring that technology is sufficiently developed before it is deployed and focusing on multi-year projects
  • Osterthaler: Foster innovation by having the courage to take risks and keep leadership engaged and committed
  • Arnold: Take appropriate, balanced risks and maintain requirements stability
  • DiCarlo: Focus on both short- and long-term objectives; take balanced risks; take a multi-year approach to better manage funding

The Strategic Space Symposium, held at the Qwest Center Omaha in Omaha, Neb.ends this afternoon

Presented through a Space Foundation/United States Strategic Command partnership, the Strategic Space Symposium is providing a platform for discussing challenging space issues and shaping space policy, in addition to showcasing industry best practices, cutting-edge technologies, and emerging space capabilities. For more details on the agenda, click here.

Major Space Foundation Strategic Space Symposium sponsors include:

Additional Space Foundation co-sponsors include Analytical Graphics, Inc., ATK, AVIATION WEEK, the Bellevue (Nebraska) Chamber of Commerce, Boeing, CISCO Systems, Inc., CSC, CSP Associates, Defense Systems, Intelsat General Corporation, Integral Systems, Inc., Lockheed Martin, ManTech, the NASA Nebraska Space Grant, Sterling Computers, and SpaceX.

No federal endorsement of the Space Foundation or any of its members or affiliates is intended or implied. Sponsorship agreements are with the Space Foundation for programs and materials supplied by the Space Foundation.

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