Space Acquisition Forum

Space Acquisition Forum

TBD   ON24

During the past decade, low-earth-orbit and outer space has transformed from a primarily scientific domain into a critical defense and commercial one with tremendous national security implications. 

The Department of Defense (DOD) has recognized the military necessity to dominate the space domain and has committed significant resources into space technology acquisition to preserve our nation’s space preeminence. 

During GovConWire’s Space Acquisition Forum, distinguished federal and industry leaders will discuss aligning space acquisition goals along with acquisition reform and modernization.

Featuring Shawn Barnes, Acting Assistant Secretary Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition and Integration as keynote speaker. He will address the value of an integrated space architecture and the importance of synchronization and integration for space capabilities. 

Join our event to learn more about how commercial industry can assist the DOD in securing the nation’s future in outer space and beyond.




  • Shawn Barnes
    Shawn Barnes - Keynote
    Assistant Secretary (Acting) Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition and Integration [SAF/SP], U.S. Air Force

    Mr. Shawn Barnes, a member of the Senior Executive Service, is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition and Integration. Mr. Barnes is currently performing the duties of the Assistant Secretary for Space Acquisition and Integration until the President nominates and the Senate confirms an individual to this position. Mr. Barnes is responsible for Department of the Air Force Space Architecture, Integration, and Policy matters on behalf of the Secretary of the Air Force and the Chief of Space Operations. Mr. Barnes initiated his civil service with the U.S. Department of Agriculture where he assisted with research on, and vaccine development for, some of the world’s most dangerous infectious animal diseases. Mr. Barnes left the USDA to join the Air Force in 1985 and retired from the service in 2013 as a colonel. He served in a wide variety of intercontinental ballistic missile and space operations and staff positions including instructor, crew commander, executive officer and Chief of Special Operations. He commanded the 12th Space Warning Squadron at Thule Air Base, Greenland, and the 595th Space Group at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. Prior to his current assignment, Mr. Barnes was the Deputy Principal Assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force for Space, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Arlington, Virginia. EDUCATION 1985 Bachelor of Science, Marine Biology, Long Island University, Southampton, N.Y. 1992 Distinguished Graduate, Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. 1998 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala. 1998 Master of Political Science, Auburn University, Montgomery, Ala. 2004 National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C. CAREER CHRONOLOGY 1. September 1983–August 1985, Laboratory Technician, Plum Island Animal Disease Center, U.S. Department of Agriculture, N.Y. 2. April 1986–December 1990, Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Launch Officer, F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. 3. January 1991–April 1994, Deputy Commander, Space Defense Operations Center and Chief, Special Operations, U.S. Space Command, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Colo. 4. May 1994–June 1997, Chief Pacific Exercise Branch and Executive Officer, 14th Air Force, Vandenberg AFB, Calif. 5. July 1998–June 1998, Student, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala. 6. June 1998–April 2002, Chief Space Control Branch, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Space), the Pentagon, Arlington, Va. 7. April 2002–May 2003, Commander, 12th Space Warning Squadron, Thule Air Base, Greenland 8. July 2003–June 2004, Student, National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C. 9. July 2004–April 2007, Chief Space Policy, Joint Staff (J5), the Pentagon, Arlington, Va. 10. May 2007–May 2009, Chief, Space Situational Awareness and Command and Control Division, Air Force Space Command, Peterson AFB, Colo. 11. May 2009–June 2011, Commander, 595th Space Group, Schriever AFB, Colo. 12. July 2011–September 2013, Chief Space Superiority Division, Air Force (A8P), the Pentagon, Arlington, Va. 13. October 2013–November 2014, Director, Space Control, Falcon Research, Inc., Va. 14. November 2014–May 2016, Deputy Director, Air Force Planning, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va. 15. June 2016–August 2017, Deputy Director, Secretary of the Air Force Office of Legislative Liaison, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va. 16. August 2017–April 2018, Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff, Space Operations, Headquarters U. S. Air Force, Arlington, Va. 17. April 2018–September 2018, Assistant Vice Commander, Air Force Space Command, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va. 18. September 2018–December 2019, Deputy Principal Assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force for Space, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Arlington, Va. 19. December 2019–present, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Space Acquisition and Integration, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Arlington, Va. MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS Exceptional Civilian Service Medal Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster Defense Meritorious Service Medal Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters Joint Service Commendation Medal Air Force Commendation Medal Air Force Achievement Medal

  • Laura DeSimone
    Laura DeSimone - Panelist
    Executive Director (Acting), Missile Defense Agency (MDA)

    Ms. Laura M. DeSimone serves as the Executive Director for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), Office of the Secretary of Defense. She is the senior civilian advisor to the MDA Director on all issues relating to operational and management activities for MDA’s $9B+ per year portfolio. Ms. DeSimone provides oversight, leadership, direction and guidance to ensure the effective organization and integration of all programs and functions required to develop, test and sustain an effective Missile Defense program. She also serves as a key interface to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Services, and the Congress. Ms. DeSimone served from 2014 to October 2020 as the MDA Director for Acquisition, the senior advisor and leader for all aspects of acquisition and contract planning and management for the programs that are integrated into a single Missile Defense System to provide a layered missile defense capability. She held the position of Program Executive for Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) and was responsible for the planning, programming and execution of the design, development, integration, test, deployment, and sustainment of Aegis BMD Programs – a $2B+ per year portfolio, which includes all variants of the Standard Missile-3 and Aegis BMD Weapon System baselines. From 2011-2013, Ms. DeSimone served as Deputy Program Executive, Aegis BMD. Ms. DeSimone was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in 2008. From 2008-2011, Ms. DeSimone served as Executive Director, Naval Ordnance Safety and Security Activity and the Deputy for Weapons Safety, Naval Sea Systems Command. In this position, Ms. DeSimone was the Department of Navy (DON) senior authority on all technical, scientific, and engineering methodologies associated with weapon and explosives safety afloat and ashore. Additionally, Ms. DeSimone was the Chair of the DON Weapon Systems Explosives Safety Review Board, the Navy’s independent oversight for safety compliance of all Navy and Marine Corps military munitions, ordnance items, explosive systems, weapon systems, and combat systems. Previous assignments include Deputy Head, Engagement Systems Department, Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren, Virginia, where she provided leadership and technical direction for 600 scientists, engineers, and technical support personnel; and Head, Test and Evaluation Division, NSWC Dahlgren, where she provided technical direction and management oversight for all explosive test and evaluation operations performed on an extensive complex of land, air, and water test ranges. From 1990 to 2005 she held a variety of engineering and senior program management positions in development and acquisition of Navy and Marine Corps weapon systems. Ms. DeSimone holds a B.S. in physics from Ursinus College and a M.S. in mechanical engineering from Penn State University. Ms. DeSimone is a member of the DoD Acquisition Professional Community and a graduate of both the DoD Executive Leadership Development Program and the Federal Executive Institute’s Leadership in a Democratic Society Program. Ms. DeSimone has been recognized with the Presidential Rank Award (Meritorious), Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service Award, Navy Superior Civilian Service Award, and Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award (two awards).

  • David Ray
    David Ray - Keynote
    SVP, Space Business Unit, SAIC

    David Ray is senior vice president and lead for the Space Business Unit within the National Security & Space Sector for SAIC. In this role, he is responsible for leading the $1.3 billion Space Business Unit with customers spanning the intelligence, defense, and federal/civil agencies. Ray joined SAIC in 2021 with a wealth of experience in both managing and growing large technology businesses that serve government customers around the world. Prior to his current position, Ray served as president of the Government and Defense Business Unit at FLIR Systems, Inc. where was responsible for leading all aspects of the $900 million business unit, including strategy, research and development, operations, business development, and marketing. Ray has held several leadership roles in general management and business development at Raytheon Company from 2002 to 2017. His most recent role with the company was as vice president, Global Business Development and Strategy for the company's $6 billion Intelligence, Information, and Services Segment, serving intelligence, Department of Defense, federal/civilian agencies, and international customer markets. He also previously served in many leadership positions of increasing authority for Raytheon Missile Systems (RMS) and Space & Airborne Systems (SAS) businesses during his 16- year tenure with Raytheon. Prior to this, he began his career as a senior management consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton. Ray received a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from the U.S. Air Force Academy and served five years in the Air Force at Andrews Air Force Base and the Pentagon where he led teams responsible for communications-related projects designed to support senior members of the government and military. He also earned a Master of Science degree in systems management and strategy from Central Michigan University.

  • Michael Roberts
    Michael Roberts - Panelist
    Director and Program Executive Officer, Space Rapid Capabilities Office

    Michael W. Roberts, a member of the Senior Executive Service, is the Director and Program Executive Officer (PEO) for the Space Rapid Capabilities Office (Space RCO), Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. As Space RCO’s senior acquisition officer, Mr. Roberts is responsible for and oversees space-based research, development and acquisition activities for classified space acquisition programs assigned to the Space RCO. In this position, Mr. Roberts serves as the principal advisor to the Secretary of the Air Force and the Chief of Space Operations, United States Space Force for the rapid development and fielding of classified critical space capabilities. In his PEO capacity, he is responsible for a robust portfolio of major acquisition programs providing operationally dominant space capabilities that strategically enhance the Nation’s warfighting capabilities and dominance in the space domain. Mr. Roberts was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in 2017. In his previous position as the Director for Development and Integration, PEO Information Warfare System (IWS), Mr. Roberts managed the system requirements and resources for combat systems, associated elements, and facilitated the execution of effective systems engineering processes for development, integration, and delivery of Navy Surface Combat System capabilities. Mr. Roberts’ diverse and challenging career spans 25 years in support of the United States Navy, United States Air Force and United States Space Force as a veteran, engineer and acquisition professional. The past fifteen years, his career focus has been on acquisition, combat and weapon system engineering, design, testing, fielding and sustainment. He has held various senior Program Manager positions within the acquisition community.

  • Derek Tournear
    Dr. Derek Tournear - Panelist
    Director, Space Development Agency, U.S. Department of Defense (DOD)

    Dr. Derek Tournear is currently the Director of the Space Development Agency, within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering (OUSD(R&E)). SDA will 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, responsible for developing the research and engineering roadmap to address future gaps in the DoD space architecture. Dr. Tournear previously held leadership roles in industry, most recently the director for the Harris Space & Intelligence (SIS) research & development. SIS was a $2B business focused on providing advanced technical solutions addressing the top National Security threats from underwater to outer space. Prior to industry, Dr. Derek Tournear was a Senior Program Manager (SNIS-HQE) at the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). At IARPA, Dr. Tournear served as a senior scientist for space activities and space technologies in the Office of Smart Collection. Prior to IARPA, Dr. Tournear was a Program Manager for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Tactical Technology Office and Strategic Technology Office. At DARPA, he initiated and directed a large portfolio of program, with an emphasis on sensors and space. He has professional experience at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) managing intelligence and defense programs. During his time at LANL, he initiated a new field of study in gamma ray optics, and developed sensors for nuclear material detection. Dr. Tournear has a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University and a B.S. from Purdue University. In 2010 he received an “Outstanding Alumnus” award from Purdue University and a 2008 DARPA award for “Outstanding Accomplishments in a Systems Technology Area.” Dr. Tournear is a 2011 recipient of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service, and a 2012 recipient of the Office of Director of National Intelligence Award for Exceptional Public Service.

  • Coming soon.

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