Space Force to centralize commercial SATCOM procurement

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SES-14 satellite 

The U.S. Space Force is overhauling the way it procures commercial satellite communications services, replacing the current fragmented system with an aggregated model that consolidates both provider contracts and military customer requirements.

Expected to be internally available this summer, the strategy aligns with the Space Force’s recently released vision for satellite communications (SATCOM), said Clare Grason, chief of the Commercial SATCOM Office at the Space Force. That vision paper, released in February, calls for a robust and integrated architecture encompassing both military and commercial assets.

Speaking at the Satellite ’20 conference organized by Access Intelligence, Grason said the strategy will consolidate existing contracts with industry providers and establish service level agreements with the SATCOM Office’s Department of Defense (DoD) customers.  “We believe that will enable us to have more flexibility in our commercial SATCOM procurements and have much greater readiness,” she said.

The strategy will give commanders a holistic view of available SATCOM capabilities and the ability to shift resources as requirements dynamically change, without having to negotiate new contracts, Grason said. “We would just have to modify the [service level agreements] we have with our customers, which is much easier than having to go back out to industry and do that in the form of a new contract or contract modification,” she said.

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