No Status Quo for GPS

August 15, 2012  - By 0 Comments
Defense PNT Newsletter

By Don Jewell

The huge white charger galloped into the clearing. The destrier slid to a stop, steam snorting from his nostrils, as he pranced to a huge oak tree where the four-star Templar Knight astride the magnificent equine posted an urgent message for all to see in status quo voluntas non sufficit. Checking his GPS, the knight charged off into the surrounding woods.

Then I awoke, but remembered the quirky dream vividly. The Latin phrase, resurrected from torturous Latin courses more than 45 years ago, translates to, “The staus quo will no longer suffice,” a theme being pushed at Air Force Space Command and, indeed, throughout the space community and the entire DoD, for that matter.

Budget Control Act and Sequestration

And here’s why, just in case you have a bad case of Rip Van Winkle syndrome. Consider that all space programs, which have relatively huge budgets, are in jeopardy in 2012 and the decade beyond due to the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA). The BCA reduces DoD budget authority by approximately $500B over the next ten years. Now consider that number doubling due to a process incongruously labeled sequestration, a deficit- reduction consequence called out in the BCA triggering $500B more in Defense cuts unless Congress agrees to change the law. Oh, by the way, none of this would have occurred in the first place if Congress had only managed to agree on a budget-cutting process in 2011.

Consequently, General William “Willie” Shelton, Commander of Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) announced recently, in several forums, that the status quo for space acquisitions and operations would no longer apply in status quo voluntas non sufficit, although of course he said it in English and not Latin. He urged AFSPC and Space and Missile Systems Command (SMC) to find more cost efficient and innovative methods of conducting business, which is successfully acquiring, developing, launching, and accomplishing space missions. In the case of GPS it also means supporting more than 1 Billion users globally.

None of this activity can be officially designated “planning for sequestration,” however, because according to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), services, departments, and agencies are not allowed to plan for sequestration. Truly an insane edict that hopefully every organization is ignoring. Just imagine… BTW, DOD we plan to cut your budget by $1 trillion over the next 10 years, but you are not allowed to plan for it. Really?

Naturally, OMB edicts aside, this started me thinking about how the new paradigm General Shelton desires to implement applies to GPS operations, especially the ground control and operational support segments. Both these segments, in almost all space operations, are historically behind the power curve, especially when it comes to cutting-edge operational capabilities. In other words, the ground control segment and operational support missions are too often implemented as though they were an afterthought.

When it comes to a highly successful and visible system like GPS, which is the most ubiquitous and yet by far the most operationally critical satellite constellation in orbit today, the story is unfortunately no different. So the key question quickly becomes, how can an antiquated space acquisition system, that General Ellen Pawlikowski, the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) commander, is working hard to change, overcome that unfortunate legacy and find options and companies that offer General Shelton, AFSPC, and SMC something other than the status quo?

Fortunately, there are ongoing studies to determine how to infuse the support and operational segments of GPS with cutting-edge capabilities, and while that sounds great, even an old aviator knows that unless you change the acquisition and contracting process, very little progress is actually achieved. The words “smoke and mirrors” come to mind. Companies with great innovative ideas literally spin their wheels seemingly forever if governmental processes fail to change along with or fail to embrace new requirements and processes. The government has to be willing to totally support the cutting-edge model, or new paradigm, not just give it lip service.

CSC

So imagine my surprise when I learned the operational support contract for GPS, better known as Level 1 and Level 2 Operational Support, was up for re-competition. Boeing has functioned as the operational support contractor for about the last ten years. Now they are being challenged by several teams, one of which is a CSC-led team with several small companies as subcontractors that are looking to implement a totally new level of support, one that will virtually do away with legacy support as we know it today. As Martha says, this is a good thing.

Consequently, I sat down recently with retired Air Force Major General Irv Halter, who leads the CSC team efforts in Colorado Springs, to discuss new operational support options for the Global Positioning System.

First, a quick word about my experience concerning retired general officers of any service and how they typically function as managers and business professionals. I had the pleasure of working with two retired USAF three-stars at one of the largest government contractors in the world, and frankly, they were not initially very good businessmen. In some cases generals have less business sense when they initially come on board than a brand new MBA. However, they are certainly great leaders, know how to be an effective team member, have the highest integrity; those traits combined with their contacts and operational expertise is exactly why they are hired. It is up to the company to make it work. I have long said, mangers can be trained but leaders are born with an ability to lead that cannot be taught. So find a general officer who is a great leader and is humble enough to suck it up and learn the business and you most likely have an unbeatable combination. This is exactly my impression of General Irv Halter and his position at CSC. He is a leader and he now knows how the business works. I was impressed with his grasp of GPS and the current business climate, which is one of the reasons our scheduled thirty-minute conversation took over two hours.

Rules of Engagement  

Loyal readers know I rarely conduct formal interviews. I prefer to engage in a focused yet relaxed conversation and see what transpires. People like to hear about other people and what motivates them to be successful more than they like to hear about boring programs and policies. If we manage to combine all these aspects in an amiable, interesting conversation and still inform GPS World readers about subjects that matter and they care about, then we have all succeeded. I see it as a win/win for everyone, and hope you do as well.

My conversation with General Irv Halter from CSC came about initially because of General Shelton’s desire to conduct space business differently. He certainly has not spelled out exactly what that entails; however, he has let it be known, in no uncertain terms, that the status quo will no longer suffice, and presenting him with that option as a way ahead is a non-starter.

The space acquisition community at SMC, led by Lt Gen Ellen Pawlikowski, has taken General Shelton’s admonition to heart and are providing alternative pathways especially in the area of GPS operational support. Considering all the GPS specific programs that are looming on the horizon, it is proving to be a daunting task.

Key GPS Programs in Progress

OCX

For example, GPS OCX or the GPS Ground Command and Control contract is in its 30th month since being awarded to Raytheon (Aurora, Colorado) in February 2010. (Ed. Click here to see Don’s column on the OCX award from Feb 2010.) While the contract is progressing, it has not been a smooth ride for Raytheon or the government. Both the Raytheon and U.S. government OCX program managers were replaced in 2011, and many of the original OCX requirements have been restructured to help Raytheon meet looming deadlines and critical milestones. Raytheon says it has a plan in place and is pressing forward. Only time and pending reviews will tell. I wish them the best of luck, but schedules have slipped and the current OCX RTO (Ready To Operate) Phase One date now hovers around December 2016 — almost three years after the first GPS III satellite will be ready for launch. The dreaded gap does exist, but I am told both AFSPC and SMC have plans in place to address the issue.

GPSIII-sat

Artist’s rendition of a GPS III satellite on orbit.

GPS III

As for the space and satellite segment, the GPS III contract awarded to Lockheed Martin (LMCO) in May 2008 has excelled in all respects. Unlike any other major space program in recent memory, LMCO is set to deliver on time and within the scope of the original contract budget, an almost unheard of accomplishment for a major space program. The GPS III delivery date could still move to the left, and the first GPS III satellite should be ready for launch in early 2014, depending on the length of the checkout schedule — by anyone’s yardstick the GPS III program is a proving to be a phenomenal success.

I offer these predictions and congratulations armed with a plethora of supporting data. I recently had the opportunity, and pleasure, to tour the 5,400-acre LMCO GPS III Waterton Canyon manufacturing and assembly facility in Littleton, Colorado, with the LMCO VP for Navigation Mission Systems Keoki Jackson, and I was very impressed. But that is a success story for another time. Suffice it to say that GPS III is right on schedule thanks to Lockheed Martin and teammates Exelis, General Dynamics, Infinity Systems Engineering, Honeywell, ATK, and other subcontractors.

GPS User Equipment

The GPS user equipment segment is in turmoil due to the lack of a suitable stand-alone handheld GPS device that the troops will actually use. This is where we segue into the evolving Perfect Handheld GPS Transceiver, written about so many times in this column. PHGPST has become practically a perpetual topic, although I never intended for it to be one, and I promise more on that avenue as well at a later date.

Operations Support

For now, let’s concentrate on a less well-known aspect of the GPS — and that is what functional system operators and maintainers historically label as Level 1 and Level 2  operations support.

This is the contract now up for a major recompetition and is what I discuss with General Irv Halter from CSC, which is the prime for one of the teams competing with Boeing for the new support contract.

Before you say why do I care, allow me to explain exactly what Level support actually means and why it is critical to the GPS signal we all utilize and depend on everyday.

Level 1 and Level 2 Support

The current GPS operational control segment (OCS) program implements a traditional support model with Level 1 support providing basic day-to-day administration of the ground system and routinely handles rudimentary troubleshooting of basic system problems. Level 2 troubleshooting issues, however, frequently deal with advanced operational configurations, system capabilities, and possible product bugs or even failures.

The current GPS OCS Level 2 support team is off-site — in other words, not co-located with 2 SOPS (Second Space Operations Squadron) that flies and maintains the GPS satellites. Rather, the Level 2 support operators are called on as needed. Which unfortunately puts them out of the operational loop for day-to-day operations.

The current support model reflects a traditional and outdated legacy approach, concerning only the signal in space, that weighs the value of operational uptime and reliability against the cost of expert support. Such an approach may work well for a satellite system where downtime is not a big concern. However, that is certainly not the case for a system as universally critical as the Global Positioning System. Unfortunately, historically the cost of downtime, critical problems, and impacts to the mission were rarely considered in the trade analysis between cost and operations resiliency.

An excellent operational example of the realm of the possible and hopefully the future for operational support is the Cheyenne Mountain complex, which moved away from the traditional Level 1 and Level 2 based support model in 2004 in order to significantly improve operational resiliency, support response times, and mission success.

One of the critical downsides of the traditional Level-based support model is the time required to determine and solve problems. It takes considerably longer than the more modern and responsive support model implemented in 2004 by the Cheyenne Mountain complex.

Typically, using the GPS Level 1 and Level 2 operational support model in place today, when a mission operations team is in need of technical assistance, a Level 1 technician is notified and attempts to troubleshoot and solve the issue. Only when the Level 1 support team fails to remedy the technical issue is the Level 2 team called. The Level 2 support team, which is usually offsite, then starts the troubleshooting process from the very beginning.

This reminds me of the frustrating process we all go through when we call our local cable, satellite, television, Internet, or phone provider(s). Before the problem is finally solved, we typically explain it no less than three times and spend an inordinate amount of time talking to people who are not able to solve our problem. Eventually we are routed to the correct technician and the problem is solved. This is a perfect example of the failings of Level 1 and Level 2 based support. The model CSC and Braxton Technologies are proposing fixes these major shortcomings of the current process.

For GPS operational support, the circumstances are even more complicated and nonsensical. The GPS Level 2 operational support team is at a critical disadvantage from the beginning of the process, since they do not have the day-to-day context of the operational use of the system to assist them in the troubleshooting process. Again, precious time and money are wasted explaining the problem and its criticality in the context of day-to-day operations.

How do Air Force Space Command, SMC, and 2SOPS plan to fix the problem? Hopefully by searching for a better operational support system that does away with the frustration of two independent levels of support and brings the GPS OCS (Operational Control System) into the 21st century.

Mission and Delivery Assurance 

One solution could certainly be the proposed CSC team operational support concept, which builds on the foundation and solution established and sustained by Braxton Technology and CSC at Cheyenne Mountain several years ago, as in the example mentioned earlier. This new support paradigm revolves around two basic concepts: 1) Mission Assurance and 2) Delivery Assurance. The mission assurance concept centers on putting the smartest personnel on the operations floor with the operators, so that most problems are identified, triaged, and solved without calling in outside help. CSC and Braxton initiated this concept in Cheyenne Mountain in 2004 in an operations area that appropriately enough became known as the Cheyenne Mountain Mission Assurance Center (CMAC). Level 2 support personnel replaced Level 1 personnel in Cheyenne Mountain, and the talent pool was significantly upgraded in an effort to increase mission uptime by having the most knowledgeable personnel on the floor at all times, so problems could be remedied in seconds or minutes, not hours or days.

This concept proved so successful that the Integrated Space Command and Control (ISC2) Program Office supported expanding this single-level operational support concept to the primary Test and Development Facility (TMAC), the Alternate Missile Warning Center at Offutt AFB (OMAC), the Command Center at Peterson AFB (NMAC), and the Space Control Center at Vandenberg AFB (VMAC), just to name a few.

Hopefully, the operational success of the support model used in the Cheyenne Mountain complex teaches us that mission critical systems have unique requirements that weigh in favor of a more experienced operational support team with mission and operational knowledge/exposure. History has proven, time and time again, that the length of time to repair operational problems and outages impacts the overall cost of sustaining the system significantly and outweigh the marginal increase in cost of moving to a more experienced operational support team. Time is money and downtime for the GPS is an unacceptable compromise, especially in wartime and when lives are at stake.

The success story continues; shortly after the Mission Assurance Center concept was rolled out, it was expanded by adding an element known as Delivery Assurance. Personnel from the MACs were exported for short periods of time to participate in critical delivery milestones, to include software unit test, factory acceptance testing, hardware/software integration, and installation procedure testing. Many MAC personnel participated in the writing and testing of installation and integration procedures so that problems encountered prior to the installation of new hardware and software were familiar to those participating in installation, integration, and checkout, thereby reducing the probability of problems and significantly shortening the time to solve issues during delivery.

Remember the AEP GPS 5.5C upgrade fiasco? Consider that the problem might have been avoided entirely with the CSC approach that has proven so effective in the operations centers where it has been fully implemented.

These intuitive concepts, Mission Assurance and Delivery Assurance, increased operational uptime markedly in the Cheyenne Mountain Complex as well as throughout the Integrated Threat Warning/Attack Assessment (ITW/AA) network in general. In addition, scheduled downtime for testing and installation were reduced as problems were eliminated altogether, or lessened as many issues encountered during installation and integration at the operational site had been previously encountered and successfully solved by the same personnel responsible for the long-term success of the installation. Using the foundation of efficient and effective processes combined with an experienced support team to deliver software and system sustainment, the GPS program can deliver exactly what the GPS user community needs: dependable deliveries of new capabilities, at a lower cost, with shorter and reliable schedules, and without giving up dependability, quality, or the critical integrity of the GPS signals we all depend on everyday.

That is why the new AFSPC GPS support paradigm and the CSC approach are so critical to all users, and why I dropped by CSC to speak with General Halter.

The CSC Discussion

With the previous history as a background, I contacted Irving L. Halter Jr. (Maj Gen, USAF Ret), who is leading the CSC efforts in Colorado Springs. A few weeks ago, we sat down to discuss the issues. With 60 years of U.S. Air Force aviator experience between us, I was sanguine we would solve all the world’s problems in less than five minutes, with a couple left over for GPS issues.

This was a focused conversation among aviators, so we both spoke at length, using our hands a great deal, shot our watches and checked six continually.

I asked General Halter (GIH) if CSC was nervous about taking on an established prime like Boeing in the recompete, thinking that it was a key concern. However, he soon let me know that Boeing was not the issue. CSC’s primary consideration is focusing on bringing value to the U.S. government and SMC through a new contract proposal and the reality of a new paradigm.

GIH: Don (DJ), the very first issues we had to ascertain were do we have the requisite expertise, can we put a qualified team together, and is this a serious competition or is SMC merely re-competing the contract just because it is time? Are they (SMC and AFSPC) seriously looking for a new contractor, a new paradigm, and a new way of doing business? In this case, we have every reason to believe the acquisition community and AFSPC are looking for an agile, more compact team with a fresh new outlook, and new ideas to perform operational support for GPS.

We’ve had the sense for some time that SMC’s objectives are the same as General Shelton’s, and we determined that indeed they are; so we set out to achieve GPS operational support in the most effective way possible that relates to cost, schedule, risk and efficiencies. This is a serious competition that enables us to bring an extraordinary new way of doing business to Air Force Space Command and SMC in the Ground Segment sustainment domain.

Partners

GIH: Don, let’s start by discussing our partners because we can’t do this alone. One of our key partners is Braxton Technologies. Braxton is the current LADO (Launch, Anomaly, and Disposal Operations) contractor for the GPS. They do launch, on orbit checkout, anomaly detection and resolution, perform some normal housekeeping chores similar to or in place of AEP, and they maintain the current residual satellites, all while their current LADO software provides troubleshooting capabilities that fit well with our new approach to operational support. In fact, the Braxton LADO software is the only software capable of performing all these actions. We are very happy to have them as a partner. They are a small business that has a great reputation in the space community. They are an agile and highly respected small company, always leaning forward, their reaction time is phenomenal, they adjust quickly to changes, and frankly they are one of the most knowledgeable partners we have on the CSC team. We would not have bid this contract without them.

Now, just like you, I have been an operator my whole life and now I am in the support business, but that does not mean that I have lost sight of the operational impacts of support. I know first-hand our support operators benefit by understanding the operational mission and making things happen. For the military customer our job is to provide unparalleled rapid operational support that makes a significant difference to warfighters and theater commanders, and that is not reciting battery voltages and satellite ephemeris parameters. It is enabling the GPSOC, the JSpOC, and the operational commanders to make the best decisions that affect, number one the warfighters, but also support all global users.

By teaming with companies like Braxton Technologies, who already have an incredible GPS experience base, we make the CSC team stronger and more relevant.

And I agree with you, Don, and with General Shelton — GPS support and operations have to change, and I firmly believe the CSC team can make that happen, quickly and effectively, with the government a full partner in the process.

I mentioned that I have always been an operator (fighter pilot) but that also applies to space operations. I spent a significant amount of time in the National Reconnaissance Office or NRO — remember when we could not even say those three letters together? — my job there was to translate operational concepts into support for the warfighter and vice versa. I was the translator so to speak. Because often in the intelligence-gathering world and in the space world in general, the warfighters, first responders, and even everyday users are not aware of all the capabilities that exist or the abilities that GPS enables. So when any of those folks (the users) came to the NRO with a request, it was our job to hook them up with the right people who could provide what they needed. My team and I were very successful with that at the NRO, and I see this new challenge as very much the same scenario. Our task at the 2SOPS will be to support and enable the operational GPS mission so all the enabling capabilities are utilized and shared across the broad spectrum of users.

Government Participation

GIH: Don, along with this operational bent we need to work hand in glove with the government, support them to the best of our ability and at the same time be alert for new ideas and innovations that make a difference. We need to do that in such a way that the government — the customer — is excited to see our innovative approach and will help us implement proposed efficiencies. Not every new idea requires a contract modification or a new contract line item number (CLIN); many innovations simply involve a smarter way of doing business, and those that do require a change can many times be offset by dropping something that is not as productive. It requires cooperation from and probably a new attitude by the government, but I am convinced, partially by my experience at the NRO, that this support contract can and indeed needs to be accomplished in just that manner; it’s a new and better way of doing business.

DJ: Let’s hear about the rest of your team. We have certainly established the Braxton bona fides but there are several other members of your team as well.

GIH: That’s right, Don, we strategically selected our team, and the next partner is one that many teams forget and that is our new government partner in this endeavor, the professionals at the Ogden Air Logistics Center (ALC) in Odgen, Utah. This is a new line of business and support for them but I can tell you they are chomping at the bit to make this happen. They are excited about this contract and we are excited to be teamed with them in this new acquisition paradigm. In fact I would go so far as to say our success is directly related to their success in assuming this new line of business…we both have to succeed in a new way of doing business and break some rice bowls or this will not work. However, I am convinced that with perseverance and hard work we can make it work and work well for the benefit of the government and GPS users everywhere.

Now I don’t want to make it sound like our relationship with Ogden is totally new because we (CSC) have been working other efforts and contracts with them as well, as have some of our partners. So we understand the new AFSPC mandate, we know how Ogden ALC prefers to operate, and we are excited about pursuing that relationship and expanding our partnership.

Now on to other more traditional teammates:

Exelis is a former ITT company spun off in 2011. They are a leader in Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) related products, systems, information and technical services that supply military, government and commercial customers in the United States and abroad as well. They are a relatively new company with a rich heritage and a phenomenal legacy with significant bench strength because they can reach back to their original parent. They have a strong presence including a depot in Colorado Springs and are a key-player supporting GPS operations today. Exelis has Kalman Filter expertise, they build monitor station receivers, and they understand the GPS extremely well from a technical and support standpoint. We are proud to have them as a partner.

Apogee is another partner. They are a small business in Colorado Springs that fills a particular niche for us that I don’t want to go into here, as it gets too much into our acquisition strategy. But they are a great small business known for excellent execution.

Kratos Defense and Security Solutions is a fast growing company, that recently bought Integral Systems Inc., and has a great deal of experience supporting Command and Control solutions. We are currently working with them on a MILSATCOM contract and we know they are a great teammate.

We previously discussed Braxton Technologies, a key player in this effort and frankly we know what they are doing currently with GPS and they have demonstrated excellent results.  As the current LADO contractor, and member of the Raytheon OCX Team they are working future OCX efforts and other critical aspects of GPS; so their system knowledge nicely augments the expertise and experience the rest of the team brings to this new acquisition strategy with SMC, AFSPC and the Ogden ALC.

And, Don, the other important scenario for our partners is that we, CSC as the prime, look at this as a long-term relationship. This is a formidable team and we desire to do more with our partners in future endeavors and opportunities. We think both the team and the contract have considerable growth potential.

DJ: Now that we know about the team, tell us something about CSC.  To me CSC is like Northwestern Mutual Life who describe themselves as the ‘Quiet Company.’ Certainly those of us in the industry know CSC but you don’t exactly put yourselves out there in the public eye. You don’t advertise during the Super Bowl!

GIH: Don actually CSC is the ninth largest government contractor. We are primarily an IT, IA, crypto and services company. And talk about slogans — remember the old BASF slogan? I modified it slightly and unofficially for CSC “…’at CSC we don’t make many of the products you use, we make the products you use better’. We have significant contracts with the U.S. military, with NASA, the FAA and the IRS just to name a few. So we may be a bit on the quiet side but ‘still waters run deep’ and we are very good at what we do.

The CSC Team has some great new ideas about operationally supporting GPS and taking it to new levels. We strongly believe that the most effective way to successfully execute in a new paradigm, such as GPS GCS (Ground Control Segment) is for Team CSC to truly partner with AFSPC, SMC and the Ogden ALC.

The other issue I see here Don is that the world in general does not know what the USAF does with GPS and how critical it is to our national infrastructure. You quoted someone as saying, “Thank goodness the USAF runs GPS and not the French Air controllers.” While I could not agree more I unfortunately run into people all the time that just do not understand GPS. They see GPS as a tool that get’s them from Point A to Point B. They don’t understand that this country would quickly grind to a halt without the critical national infrastructure and services that GPS enables. I often tell people and mention in speeches that they could not cash a check or buy gas for their car if GPS failed. In fact they could use their credit cards as Frisbees without GPS timing. When I make statements like that people generally look at me dumbfounded because they just don’t get it. But we do understand that at CSC, and we understand it at a personal and professional level as well.  The bottom line is we look forward to the opportunity to deliver excellent results to GPS users worldwide.

DJ: Gen Halter I was around during the AEP transition and as transitions go it went well, but it can be a perilous process especially for a system considered a worldwide utility. Have you thought much about the transition process and how that will play out?

Technical Expertise and Transitions

GIH: Don, CSC has a Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) Level 3 certification and we have developed a tried and true transition process, we call ‘Sure Start’, to minimize risk and provide a seamless transition plan that will be invaluable to our partners and invisible to the GPS community, users included. Part of that process will be supported by our forensics process, which examines every level of a problem to insure we provide the best information assurance possible. If something doesn’t work, if it is broken or just not working efficiently, we examine it with our forensics tools and devise a real time plan to make it better and more bullet proof. We feel strongly this will prove to be a huge benefit to the government and to GPS users.

Information Assurance and Crypto

DJ: Gen Halter some of the most stringent regulations and requirements today exist around information assurance and cyber threats? How are you going to address what has to be a very dynamic process?

GIH: Information Assurance (IA) and Cyber are both a process but cyber is not IA and IA is not cyber even though they are at times closely related and often integrated. We understand this completely and since we are known as an IA and cyber company, we are going into this with our eyes wide open and are fully confident that we can respond as required. We know from experience at CSC that the IA and cyber process is not something you bolt onto the end of a program or another process but rather IA and cyber today are an integral part of operational support that must be infused from the very beginning to be effective.

Plus we are always looking at automation and for ways to work IA and cyber issues more efficiently. Certainly Braxton Technologies is a recognized expert in this area; all their processes are IA and cyber certified currently, so we feel we have a good handle on those issues.

We are also familiar with how automation can improve most any process. Our program manager, Tom Ocvirk, is very familiar with GPS and the issues involved.  Tom worked in the GPS Program Office and he supported the Boeing IIF satellite program as the sustainment manager. So he has considerable experience and is recognized for his innovative ideas. Certainly we will depend on him to keep us compliant with all the rules and regulations, which are considerable, but we feel strongly that compliance should never get in the way of innovation.

Bottom line we are excited about this opportunity, we have put together a phenomenal team and we look forward to the competition because frankly we have developed a better way of doing business, of supporting GPS operations and users globally will be the beneficiaries.

DJ: General Halter I appreciate your candor. I enjoyed our conversation immensely and I wish you the best of luck in the competition. We will certainly keep our readers informed as the competition progresses.

 

Until next time, happy navigating.

This article is tagged with and posted in Defense, Defense PNT Newsletter, Newsletter Editorials, Opinions
Don Jewell

About the Author:

Don Jewell served 30 years in the United States Air Force, as an aviator and a space subject-matter expert. Don’s involvement with GPS and other critical space systems began with their inception, either as a test system evaluator or user. He served two command assignments at Schriever AFB, the home of GPS, and retired as Deputy Chief Scientist for Air Force Space Command. Don also served as a Politico Military Affairs Officer during the Reagan administration, working with 32 foreign embassies and serving as a Foreign Disclosure Officer making critical export control decisions concerning sophisticated military hardware and software. After retiring from the USAF, Don served seven years as the senior space marketer and subject-matter expert for two of the largest government contractors dealing in space software and hardware. Don currently serves on two independent GPS review teams he helped found, and on three independent assessment teams at the Institute for Defense Analyses, dealing with critical issues for the U.S. government. Don has served on numerous Air Force and Defense Scientific Advisory Boards. He writes and speaks extensively on technical issues concerning the U.S. government. Don earned his Bachelor’s degree and MBA; the Ph.D. is in progress.

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