McAleese & Associates: Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan on Hypersonics

Jim McAleese

Consulting firm McAleese & Associates has released a report on Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan’s speech at a National Defense Industrial Association-sponsored briefing on hypersonics.

Shanahan said Thursday at the NDIA event that hypersonic technologies need to be operationalized.

“This is about industrializing…scale…deploying [offensive-hypersonic] deterrent…and then moving to [hypersonic] defense,” he noted.

He said the Department of Defense plans to make “best value” awards and have two to three competing contractor platforms for each program such as boost-phase vehicles, front-end warheads and combined cycle systems, Jim McAleese, founder and principal at McAleese & Associates, wrote in the report.

Shanahan noted that DoD’s commitment to hypersonic development is “high.”

“We have done a number of exercises [to protect hypersonics] even at [potential] $700B [2020 defense funding]…We have protected modernization,” he said.

He cited that Mike White, assistant director of hypersonics, performs horizontal integration across hypersonic initiatives and the industrial base and called on industry to work with him to identify which programs GovCon firms can support.

Shanahan also discussed the two “first-order challenges” that should be addressed when it comes to hypersonics and those are the fractionated portfolio of hypersonic programs and industry’s lack of insights into specific responsibilities among defense agencies and service branches.

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