AFSPC Industry Day Aims to Chart Future of Satellite Communications Enterprise

Air Force Space Command Vice Commander Lt. Gen. David Thompson—shown here at the 34th Space Symposium in April 2018—said AFSPC chief Gen. Jay Raymond started seeking out industry feedback about the future of integrated satellite communications in December 2018. Air Force photo by Dave Grim.

Air Force Space Command officials will meet with industry representatives at Peterson AFB, Colo., in February to discuss the future of integrated satellite communications, which will also help the service decide which space pathfinder programs to pursue.

AFSPC Commander Gen. Jay Raymond convened his industry counterparts Dec. 20 to get some initial feedback, AFSPC Vice Commander Lt. Gen. David Thompson said at a Jan. 25 breakfast hosted by AFA’s Mitchell Institute. The February meeting will provide an in-depth forum for more participants.

Thompson said the command expects to share “early thoughts of what a vision and a strategy for what an integrated SATCOM enterprise looks like, get feedback from our partners—industry partners, government partners—and then determine the next set of initiatives, whether they’re pilots or pathfinders or whatever else, … we need to be pursuing now,” Thompson said.

In recent years, the command has focused on a commercial SATCOM pathfinder series that aims to cut costs and increase their resilience on orbit. Its purview over satellites grew in December, when Raymond assumed procurement authority for commercial SATCOM services.

Thompson noted Raymond wants to approach satellite communications holistically, rather than drawing a sharp distinction between military and commercial assets. That idea will help shape Air Force Space Command’s future SATCOM enterprise strategy.

“Based on these recent changes, as well as the evolving threat environment, this meeting will provide an opportunity for satellite communications industry partners to understand not only the threat environment, but also help inform the satellite communications enterprise strategy vision,” according to a Jan. 17 industry day notice of the upcoming meeting.