Letter: A Fast, Cost-effective Commercial Solution For U.S. Military Satellite Communications

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Your March 26 story “U.S. Government Missing Hosted Payload Opportunities” by Peter B. de Selding [page 5] focuses on a subject with critical importance for our nation.

The satellite communications infrastructure we have in place to deliver critical data needed to protect our national security cannot keep up with the demand. We cannot afford to miss future opportunities to supplement military satellite communications — we owe it to our citizens and our warfighters to acknowledge this problem and resolve now to fix it.

For example, the UHF Follow-On (UFO) program that first launched in 1993 to provide communications for airborne, ship, submarine and ground forces is operating well beyond its design life. This system will be replaced by the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS), which has powerful capabilities but whose delivery schedule is stretching out. Congress has directed the Navy not only to establish a new program baseline for MUOS but to present to Congress a plan for how it will begin to fill the gap when UFO dies off and MUOS is not yet on orbit.

We need a new approach, a new way of looking at our national security infrastructure and a new way of looking at military procurement. As our country confronts its many substantial challenges throughout the public and private sectors, we find that simple and practical solutions often come from fresh-thinking new entrants.

U.S. Space LLC is a U.S.-owned and -operated company formed last year by a group of former government and private-sector leaders to serve one customer: the U.S. government and its interests. U.S. Space offers milsatcom on an innovative, commercial, privately financed basis. The innovation in this case is not a new piece of technology, but a new way of deploying technology.

The U.S. Space solution yields a cost-effective, agile, dedicated and rapidly deployable milsatcom system with features expected of satellites fulfilling a government mission.

This new way of addressing various bandwidth demands also has a strategic benefit: These nimble, U.S. flagged satellites can cover the world. They can significantly mitigate our warfighters’ satellite communications gap by applying commercial practice to government purpose.

U.S. Space does not piggyback hosted payloads — the military communications payload is the prime mission. The concept of operations is a fleet of satellites dedicated solely to U.S. government communications needs.

This solution also has the distinct advantage of being home-grown. While the Department of Defense has looked to international companies to satisfy the majority of its satellite communications needs, American providers are available to address our nation’s needs faster, cheaper and more effectively.

 

Edward D. Horowitz

Co-founder,
U.S.
Space LLC

Former CEO,
SES
Americom

New York