Rebecca Cowen-Hirsch: Acquisition Process Updates Help Advance Gov’t-Satcom Industry Collaboration

Jeff Brody
Rebecca Cowen-Hirsch

Rebecca Cowen-Hirsch, senior vice president of government strategy and policy at Inmarsat Government, said in an interview published on MilsatMagazine that the U.S. government and industry are teaming up to leverage the opportunities of space by making changes to acquisition practices.

She told Catherine Melquist, president of the Mobile Satellite User Association, in the interview that the Air Force is working on a plan that could transform how it develops, procures and uses satellite communications in support of the implementation of the “satcom enterprise.”

Cowen-Hirsch, also a member of the MSUA board, noted that the Department of Defense and federal agencies have begun to update acquisition directives to lift limitations requiring the use of lowest price technically acceptable source selection criterion for commercial satcom.

She cited the importance of having an integrated satcom architecture and how it reflects digital transformation.

“An integrated architecture that plans for and funds, through appropriated budget as well a Defense Working Capital Fund, the all of SATCOM, military and commercial, is essential,” Cowen-Hirsch said. “Users should have open access to nothing less than a ‘fully stocked tool shed’ – with some legacy, purpose-built platforms for their specific needs, but more modern, commercially-developed options primarily – to readily obtain mission-critical mobile and highly-available SATCOM across multiple spectrum.”

Cowen-Hirsch also discussed the importance of the creation of the U.S. Space Force to the satellite industry and responded to Melquist’s questions regarding today’s mobile user communities, 5G technology, mobile connectivity and satcom as a service.

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