LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif --
A standing room only audience of South Bay industry leaders, decision makers, engineers, and buyers came out in full force Oct. 18-19 during the 2017 SMC Industry Day and Tech Expo at Los Angeles Air Force Base.
More than 450 pre-registered attendees were joined by over 100 additional walk-ins and nearly 50 exhibitors. Representing the well-established prime and sub-contractors, as well as up-and-coming space commerce startups, the gathering filled the Gordon Conference Center in the Schriever Space Complex to address the most pressing industry issues and latest developments in military space programs.
The event was the first large industry engagement hosted by Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center and Air Force program executive officer for space, since his arrival earlier this year.
Acknowledging that he is still acclimating to the space business, having previously served as a program executive officer in a wide-range of aircraft capacities for the Air Force, Thompson spoke bluntly of the challenges ahead for the future of military space.
“This is the first time in all of those key acquisition jobs I’ve had that I feel there are portions of my portfolio here where I am not at parity or better than the threat,” said Thompson. “We have some work to do in some segments of our portfolio, so I’m asking for all of your help and motivation in order to do that kind of catch-up work that we need to do as great Americans, one and all, in working within your enterprise in the space business.”
Under the theme of “New Opportunities in the Space Warfighting Construct,” the business-to-business event provided industry partners an opportunity to receive overviews and portfolio presentations from SMC senior leadership on current and emerging space acquisition requirements. Speakers from Air Force Space Command and SMC’s various Directorates presented topics associated with the future of space for the military over the next five years.
“I cannot tell you how much energy there is in the building, on the national level, across the river and up on Capitol Hill, concerning Space, and how important it is to our nation, to our national security, to our economic system,” said Maj. Gen. Catherine A. Chilton, mobilization assistant to Gen. John W. Raymond, commander of Air Force Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.
“That is because of the work you all are doing here at SMC. People understand how important space is, and you all are critical to this – and you’re part of the problem, to tell you the truth, because you all have delivered such incredible capabilities over the last 30 or 40 years that are so reliable and relied on, that we’ve kind of taken it for granted...and our potential adversaries have seen that,” said Chilton. “They have watched us execute our campaigns and have seen that space is critical to our success…which is why we need to stay ahead of our adversaries with the Space Warfighting Construct.”
Panel discussions covered both Space topics as well as the acquisition process.
“There is an aspect to the perfect proposal that is deeply rooted in ergonomics and human factors engineering,” said Thompson. “The easier you make it from an administration and ‘tracking your way through’ perspective, the more likely you are to be able to transmit the content that you want to transmit.”
The forum, coupled with a luncheon and after-hour reception at the co-located Air Force club and lounge known as “The Launch Pad,” provided an engaging environment for attendees to interact on the themed issues. The feedback generated from SMC Industry Day will be used by both the government and commercial sectors to plan for future AFSPC and SMC mission requirements.
In conjunction with the sessions, vendors were given the opportunity to demonstrate their latest innovative products and services during the Technology Expo, which was open to all SMC personnel.
Los Angeles Air Force Base, located in El Segundo, California, is charged with the development, production and sustainment of satellites, control systems, launch services, ranges, and satellite control networks. It is the only active-duty installation in Los Angeles County and the headquarters for Air Force Space Command’s Space and Missile Systems Center. SMC is tasked with the delivery of resilient and affordable space capabilities.