- Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson’s remarks from Potomac Officers Club Space Summit
- Air Force taps Orbital ATK for rocket motor tech IDIQ contract
- Pratt & Whitney lands potential $2.7B Air Force contract for F117 engine sustainment
- Northrop Grumman lands Air Force order to overhaul KC-10 engines
- Air Force taps Colsa for C4ISR, cyber advisory services
- DynCorp awarded $64m Air Force War Reserve Materiel support extension
On Wednesday Hon. Heather Wilson, the 24th Secretary of the U.S. Air Force, spoke at the Potomac Officers Club’s Space: Innovations, Programs & Policies Summit as the headlining keynote speaker. Wilson provided valuable insight into the U.S. Air Force’s perspective on current and future space capabilities and programs, the issues that the U.S. will need to take into consideration in order to remain a dominant space power, the importance of retaining U.S. space dominance, how the Air Force is partnering with industry to strengthen the nation’s space capabilities and more.
“The reality is space is becoming a common domain for human endeavor,” Wilson said. “There were different times in our history where this was predicted, but this is no longer just a prediction.”
Wilson stressed the importance of facing this reality and noted that the Air Force established theSpace Warfighting Construct to enhance the space architecture, guide the evolution of future space systems and programs, and alter how the Air Force utilizes its current capabilities against adversaries. The establishment of the Space Warfighting Construct was predicated on the belief that space will soon become a highly contested domain. As Wilson noted, “space is, without a doubt, the domain we want to work in.” However, this will require that the U.S. be ready to respond to contention in space and capable of defending its assets.
Driving the point home, Wilson said that “our potential adversaries know how dependent we are on space. I can’t think of a mission conducted by any of the military services that does not, in some way, connect with what’s going on in space. Our adversaries know that, and as a result they have been developing technologies to deny us the use of space.”
The Air Force, according to Wilson, will need more resources and acquisition flexibility in order to meet the demands of joint operations in space. To address the potential demands of executing such joint operations, the Air Force established a Deputy Chief of Staff for Space and proposed a 20 percent increase for space-related endeavors in the President’s budget for FY2018 to be used for new programs, combat and flight systems, and civilian hiring.
“Integration of domains at high speed is absolutely vital to the success in future combat operations,” Wilson said. “Speed and surprise – that is how we are going to win in future conflicts… We [will] need to be on both the offensive and defensive. Fighting and prevailing, ensuring unfettered access to space with our vital national interests, maintaining sustainability and making sure other countries understand that there will be a response in our ability to prevail in any conflict that ends up in space.”
Wilson closed by detailing the Air Force’s main priorities for the future: restoring the readiness of the force, cost-effective modernization efforts, developing and growing talent and exceptional leaders, driving innovation and acknowledging allies, partners and the next-generation.
“We need to inspire the next generation of talent and encourage them to blossom. We should be able to develop out talent as a new workforce – we all have a responsibility to inspire the next generation,” Wilson concluded.
In other Air Force related news, the service branch awarded a number of contracts since the beginning of October, with focuses ranging from rocket components and engine sustainment to C4ISR and cyber advisory services. Let’s take a look at the most significant Air Force contracts of the month.
On October 16th, the Defense Department announced that Orbital ATK received a five-year, $20 million contract to aid U.S. Air Force researchers advance solid rocket booster technology and address technical requirements for spacecraft, tactical and strategic propulsion systems. The ID/IQ contract provides a means for the Air Force Research Laboratory’s aerospace systems and rocket propulsion division to develop solid rocket motor technologies.
The Defense Department announced on October 4th that Pratt & Whitney, a United TechnologiesCorp. subsidiary, had been awarded a potential five-year, $2.74 billion contract to assist the U.S. Air Force in sustaining F117 engines. The F117 engine powers Boeing’s Globemaster III aircraft, designed for military airlift missions. The DoD reported that the sole-source contract includes foreign military sales to Australia, Canada, India, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, U.K. and the Strategic Airlift Capability consortium.
On October 3rd, Northrop Grumman’s technical services business landed a potential $39.9 million delivery order from the Air Force to overhaul nine KC-10 aircraft engines. Funds from FY2018 have already been obligated by the Air Force for the KC-10 program support services, the Department of Defense reported. Work on the KC-10 engines will take place at McGuire Air Force Base, Travis Air Force Base and Tinker Air Force Base through March 2018.
The Department of Defense announced on October 2nd that Colsa had received a one-year, $56.2million contract modification to advise the Air Force on the command, computer, communications, control, intelligence and reconnaissance and cybersecurity areas. Colsa will provide technical and management advisory services as well as conducting additional acquisition, R&D, and test and evaluation support services under the contract modification. Work will take place at Air Force bases in California, Florida, Alabama, Massachusetts, Utah, Virginia, Texas, Georgia, and Illinois.
Another October 2nd contract was DynCorp’s $64.1 million contract modification to aid the Air Force’s Central Command in managing its war reserve materiel assets. DynCorp will continue supporting the WRM program at South Carolina’s Shaw Air Force Base and other locations in Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. DynCorp has been a participant in the WRM program since 2000 and has provided human resources, contract, procurement, financial, facilities, quality, environmental, safety and health staffing management.