Space Force CTIO Lisa Costa Delivers Keynote on Digital Foundations for Next-Gen Space at GovCon Wire Forum

Executive Mosaic’s GovCon Wire Events on Thursday hosted the Department of Defense: Digital Modernization Forum, which gathered leading government agency and private sector officials for an exclusive discussion surrounding the most imperative modernization initiatives and urgent infrastructural needs that are influencing defense agencies’ strategic priorities, acquisitions and technological focus areas across multiple domains.

U.S. Space Force Chief Technology and Innovation Officer Dr. Lisa Costa served as the keynote speaker for the forum and spoke on the importance of building resilient partnerships, overcoming the challenges of classification and standing up the nation’s space presence from a digital foundation as critical components for accelerating modernization in space and making “data-driven, threat-informed decisions.”

Dorcia Jolliff, vice president and chief intelligence officer for Lockheed Martin’s space business, introduced Dr. Costa to the virtual audience and opened the keynote session with a series of questions for the Space Force CTIO spanning a wide range of topics from innovation priorities and industry opportunities to information barriers and bolstering the workforce.

To view the full DOD: Digital Modernization Forum and other GovCon sector events on-demand, visit the GovCon Wire Events page.

Less than one month into the U.S. Space Force’s third year of operation, Dr. Costa gave an insightful look into how the agency is cultivating a workforce of “guardians” born into a digital world and leveraging their digital literacy to reach across borders and build a multinational, collaborative mission environment.

“We are the only U.S. military service that was established during the Information Age,” Dr. Costa explained. “The Space Force has this unique opportunity to be ‘born digital’ and we’re seizing on that opportunity.”

The Space Force, Dr. Costa said, is building upon this digitally-raised workforce to create the next generation of agile leaders who can creatively design innovative solutions with industry and flexibly work around classification obstacles to ensure information discovery.

She added that Space Force guardians utilize their adaptability and diverse perspectives to “break down the barriers of classification when possible, while supporting the critical need to remain secure and have resilient architectures.”

In one of the most specific questions of the keynote session, Jolliff asked Dr. Costa to highlight a cutting-edge project that the Space Force is currently working on. In response, Dr. Costa said digital engineering and “digital twins” are key areas that are expected to foster greater “horizontal integration across the Space Force.”

“Now I have this cyber instance of a physical object that I can do modeling and simulation on,” Dr. Costa said. “I can do operational tests and evaluation, and I can actually start to develop tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) around that asset before I even send out a request for proposal to industry,” she added, noting that this capability is a powerful development for the organization.

“We have to embrace all of these digital tools to make sure that the domain stays secure and stable and accessible, not just for the current generation, but for the next,” she said.

If you missed Dr. Costa’s keynote during Thursday’s forum, be sure to attend the Potomac Officers Club’s 8th Annual Defense Research and Development Summit on Jan. 19, where Dr. Costa will be speaking as a panelist and participating with other government and industry leaders in timely conversations on the primary R&D priorities driving strategies across defense agencies today.

Under Secretary of Defense Heidi Shyu, Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Dr. Stefanie Tompkins, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering’s Amanda Toman and DOD’s Defense Innovation Unit Director Michael Brown will deliver keynote addresses to the summit to explore how public-private partnerships can help to ensure the technological and tactical superiority of our nation’s operators.

Visit to register for the 8th Annual Defense R&D Summit on Jan. 19.

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