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Derek Tournear Director SDA

Potomac Officers Club’s 7th Annual Defense R&D Summit to Feature SDA Director Derek Tournear

Since the onset of COVID-19, the government and industry have expedited the development process of new technologies and offerings to remain competitive in the evolving landscape. Innovation units across the nation have focused on artificial intelligence, autonomy and robotics, to support data and networks. 

During Potomac Officers Club’s 7th Annual Defense Research and Development (R&D) Summit, notable federal and industry leaders will meet to discuss the latest priorities across the R&D landscape. 

Featuring Dr. Derek Tournear, director of the Space Development Agency (SDA), as keynote speaker, the summit will address advancements and challenges within the development and delivery of innovative solutions. 

To register for the 7th Annual Defense R&D Summit, as well as view upcoming opportunities, visit Potomac Officers Club’s Event Page

As director of the SDA, within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering (OUSD(R&E)), Tournear works to unify and integrate space capability development and deployment across the department to achieve the DoD space vision while reducing overlap and inefficiency. 

He previously served as the assistant director for Space, where he was responsible for developing the research and engineering roadmap to address future gaps in the DoD space architecture. 

Tournear recently discussed SDA’s initiative to establish a stable, continuous satellite technology market that would remain ongoing regardless of specific programs. He addressed SDA’s need for industry's help to establish the National Defense Space Architecture, an architecture of satellites that would collect and transmit targeting and location data for military operations. 

Tournear said the government-industry effort may create a new, constant satellite market to achieve this goal. He added that industry would internally develop products in line with a plan to add hundreds of satellites to the architecture every other year. 

Earlier this year, Tournear said that SDA will look to begin the process of awarding contracts to procure communications and tracking satellites to form a mesh network in low-Earth orbit. SDA released a draft request for proposals for the development of a space-based “transport layer” comprising 20 satellites that will support a proposed joint command-and-control system.

“We are focused on the warfighter and providing capabilities,” Tournear said. “We want to talk a lot about satellites but, realistically, we’re trying to work backwards and say, ‘what does that warfighter need in space to be able to accomplish the mission?’”

The first satellites that SDA plans to start deploying in 2022 will be a mix of surveillance sensors to help the military find targets on the ground and heat-tracking sensors to locate missiles in flight that might be aimed at U.S. or allied forces.

SDA is trying to attract innovative companies, added Tournear. He said the agency is willing to accept a “higher level of risk” in order to field capabilities more quickly.

During Potomac Officers Club’s 7th Annual Defense R&D Summit, Dr. Mark Lewis, acting deputy under secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering and Director of Defense Research and Engineering for Modernization, will also be featured as a keynote speaker. 

Lewis is responsible for research, development, and prototyping activities across the Department of Defense (DoD) enterprise. 

In addition, he oversees the activities of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the Space Development Agency (SDA), the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), and other agencies that are focused on developing advanced technology and capability for the U.S. military.

Join Potomac Officers Club’s 7th Annual Defense R&D Summit to learn about research and development within the defense sector as competition rises across emerging technologies. As new capabilities continue to influence every aspect of the GovCon and industry, top executives must stay ahead of the curve to defeat adversaries. 

To register for the 7th Annual Defense R&D Summit, as well as view upcoming opportunities, visit Potomac Officers Club’s Event Page

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