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Panel Covers Effects of Tightening Budgets

04/18/2012

New Generation Space Leaders attending the 28th National Space Symposium learned about space budgets from a panel of experts on April 18. The Exploring the Heavens and Protecting the Warfighter on a Budget panel covered the effect of tightening budgets on both NASA and Department of Defense space activities. Since the challenging budget environment is likely to continue in the coming years, the panel aimed at providing our New Generation attendees with some thoughtful insight into the strategies that are used when budgets are tight.

The panel was moderated by Space Foundation Reaserch Analyst Mariel John Borowitz and included (pictured, in order, at right):

  • Ron Birk, director, civil & military systems, business development, Northrop Grumman Space Systems Division
  • Lt. Gen. Michael A. Hamel, USAF, Ret., senior vice president - strategy and development, Orbital Sciences Corporation
  • Dr. Peter M. Wegner, director, Operationally Responsive Space Office
  • John Williams, president and chief executive officer, Universal Space Network

Among the points the panel members made were:

  • There are many ways to run programs that ramp things up quickly and use innovative methods for development and procurement. There are independent groups in universities and other areas already using these methods to do things more cheaply.
  • Always be on the lookout for ways to do things in a more cost-effective way. Don't be afraid to question decisions that don't seem correct. Always question your assumptions to see if there is an easier or cheaper way to do things.
  • Sometimes working in a tight fiscal environment means focusing in on the things that are most important, ensuring that they are fully funded, while delaying other opportunities. This can sometimes be a more efficient strategy than trying to make cuts across the board or trying to work with insufficient funds.

The Space Foundation created the New Generation Space Leaders Program, as part of our New Generation Initiatives, in 2008 to meet workforce challenges head-on. The program provides exposure to high-level discussions and opportunities to network with the top executives at the National Space Symposium, the industry's premier event, providing insight and knowledge they might otherwise miss.

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