Easing the Burden: Reducing the cost of national security space capabilities

For more than five decades, our national security space assets have grown tremendously more capable and essential to our nation’s armed forces and national security decision makers. They are invaluable for keeping our military second to none. Unfortunately, the space sector – as the Pentagon noted in the 2011 National Security Space Strategy – is increasingly becoming congested, competitive and contested.

Current American space capabilities will be increasingly difficult to sustain in the face of declining defense budgets. As a result, reducing the cost of space systems is not just prudent – it is crucial. Any additional resources devoted to space systems would put pressure on other important programs in a very tight federal budget environment. At the same time, due to their force-multiplying benefits, space systems enable substantial savings elsewhere.

Industry and government organizations are responding to these challenges and successfully reducing the cost of national security space systems, devising innovative ways of doing business, from “right sizing” to match changing market demand to increasing exports of space systems and components.

In May 2013, AIA’s National Security Space Committee held a Cost Reduction Workshop that identified successful initiatives providing the best capabilities in this challenging environment. These include:

  • A focus on contractors’ internal management and product portfolios,
  • Support for acquisition and procurement innovation, and
  • Strategic investments to advance new paradigms of hardware development.

Throughout the workshop, a consistent theme emerged: Our nation’s aerospace industry is committed to its ongoing partnership with government in support of national security.

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