Kay Sears, President of Intelsat General, was interviewed by Satellite Markets and Research during the recent Satellite 2014 conference in Washington DC. Kay discussed a “challenging” government market for satellite bandwidth but which also shows promising signs of change.
Kay highlighted promising steps on some long-standing procurement issues, such as those described in the new 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) bill. In spite of the positive dialogue, there is more work to be done in the areas of multi-year contracting and pre-commitments so that the satellite industry can afford to invest in new satellite capabilities to meet government specifications for future satcom bandwidth needs.
Kay has been talking for years about improving coordination between industry and the government when it comes to space, and increasingly the satellite industry is picking up her message. In a recent National Defense article Robert “Tip” Osterthaler, President and CEO of SES Government Solutions and a retired Air Force general, expressed concern about the lack of coordination between the government and commercial satellite companies. Here is a quote from the article:
“Osterhaler says U.S. firms could provide those services but they need time to build capacity for the military and satisfy specific requirements that commercial buyers do not have. If more capacity is needed in Africa or in Asia, executives say, the Defense Department could work with the private sector to ensure that demand is met. ‘Long-term needs don't match up with short-term buying practices,’ Osterhaler says. ‘The incentives for commercial industry to make the necessary investments are pretty weak, at best.’”
The Satellite Markets and Research interview with Kay is embedded below.