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Generation Space: SMC 2.0

July 26, 2019



this is generation space the official podcast of Air Force Space Command hey what's going on everybody on my sis aren't Dave Sally tree and welcome to another episode of generation space we're coming to you out of Los Angeles Air Force Base yes there is a base here a lot of people don't realize that but there is and some of space and missile systems come in as you can see here excuse me Center as you can see here from the Sun because it's not an Air Force installation without a sign that tells you exactly where you are sent with me are two awesome folks all we're not gonna hold against them that they're both from Alabama or that area you know we have one Jersey to Alabama here so it's like War Eagle yeah what can go wrong here a little bit so yeah you know New Jersey wants to Syracuse a lot good stuff so now we have my first Air Force assignment you know they thought Air Force was thought it was funny to send this Jersey guy to Biloxi Mississippi and that was a quite a culture shock to say to Lisa believe it yep yeah there's other things a thing they're called sweet tea it's a classic it's a classic from the South you got to try it yeah yeah I did it bought you know it was like yeah it was like we got to the point where anything that wasn't like a gallon of sugar in it tasted bitter and not sweet tends to be what happened you move out west coast they take all the sugar out I've really missed it I have to come out here you know I've tried and I can't seem to replicate a good Arnold Palmer when you mix a little lemonade in it kind of substitutes for the sugar there you go okay that helps South for you there Jersey I like sweet tea I like shrimp po-boys and all that good stuff so I embraced that life and crawfish boils excellent yeah yeah the first time I went home on leave after living in Mississippi is instead of staying like you guys said y'all know my friends looked at me like you you know Benedict Arnold trader so like we're here to talk to point O at some c 2.0 guess there's some stuff going on there so uh man why don't you kind of introduce yourself a little bit and what's your I know you have a new role yes so I have just transitioned from the SMC CAG chief to the SMC 2.0 integration team lead and what that means is I get to see the center go through its transformation from the old way of doing business to the new way of doing business we are on track to do that and be fully operational by this December so it's pretty exciting and we expect to see a lot of movements here soon okay that's exciting and so what what's your what's your yeah you know captain Stuart Everson why am I here well I came to space missile system Center out of a fit the Air Force Institute of Technology and was matched to an advanced academic degree program slot for the GPS program so I had the opportunity and the fortune to be on the space vehicle development team for the next block of GPS satellites I've been there for three years and I'm just now transitioning over to the commander's action group of the CAG as the incoming speechwriter for general Thompson so a great opportunity but I've really loved my time working in GP and the GPS program office so yeah it's been fascinating I guess in order to write a good speech you need to know how to deliver one so this is a good like little practicin can hear it and give me some honest feedback in a speech like nor know War Eagle you know I until that hard rule is set I may have to keep writing it in I like it yeah you just kind of plan so I know like with 2.0 there's a lot going on um usually if there is a 2.0 that means there's an update there was a 1.0 when my iPhone software updates and goes from iOS you know 9:00 to 10:00 I know something some big changes are coming what are the big changes what it what's the vision here well the vision is to help us respond more quickly to the threat that's coming out so as we all know there's known threats in the space domain and it's been declare that space is a war fighting domain at this time we've been delivering capabilities to the warfighter at the speed of acquisitions which the answer for anything acquisitions related is it depends right so now space has become a each priority in our government so there is a need for us to increase the tempo for which we are delivering warfighter capabilities we've already been doing some things quickly but at this point you know with new advances in technology the enemy is actually fielding things much quicker than we've been in the past so little scary it is kind of scary yeah our our Center has been primarily focused on following the processes that the acquisition community has required us to do which is fine it's it's a way to prevent certain things from happening and making sure that every everything is fair and competitive which we're still going to be doing but we have a lot of processes regarding safety and and contracting and we're trying to get at what are some better ways of doing things based on our risk posture so smaller systems that we want to try to field we can actually have more risk to that and we can try to feel those things quicker try some new experimental things putting some interesting new innovations on orbit and seeing if those types of assets will actually hold and be value to our warfighter so traditionally in the past we have been structured to deliver capabilities by mission area so we've had remote sensing mission area GPS mission area milsat commission area among others and we found that those communities were very stove-piped so they would only act within their one mission area and then everything bubbled up to the SMC commander who's also dual had it as the PE over space and now one person it's very difficult to make decisions in a timely manner general Thompson's calendar is just crazy full all the time and it it puts a lot of burden on him too and there's a lot of programs that are out there that are of lower dollar value that can be delegated we can assign authorities to other people so he he wanted to challenge us to seek those ways of doing that so we are doing what we call flattening the organization and we are kind of taking those stovepipes and turning them around so they're a little more horizontal we are adding more program executive officers to our structure which allows them to make some of the decisions that general Thompson was having to make what's what's up is that like that another general or is no well it's it's the lead acquisition officer for a number of programs so they are required to have a portfolio of a certain dollar value and at the time general Thompson had the largest PEO folder in the airforce so in a sense by breaking it up a little bit it places some of the other wants a burden but level of programs on other people so he's not the sole person making all these huge programs yeah it corollary to that as you know in the aircraft world there's a PEO fighter-bomber and POS for the other like I saw and imagine all of that being under just one person and now we're kind of going away from that one person structure and I remember when I first got here in 2016 general Greaves was still here and and when the turnover to general Thompson happened one of the first things he said was this is not general Thompson the decision maker and 4999 action officers giving me status right he wants to take advantage of some of the senior officers on base and some of the more junior officers but I mean there are people on this base with 20 plus years of acquisition experience you know working with industry and with our you know support contractors to deliver capability to the warfighter and you know from where he sat those got those senior leaders should be empowered to make decisions and their programs in their portfolios and their subject matter experts you know yeah yeah John Thomas I'm sure any like General has a thousand things going on they need their scope their apertures like this I'm sure when you can actually delegate you know you're saying you trust people too it empowers them and seldom does empowerment lead you astray so that's some leadership 101 right exactly that's good so we definitely are trying to get even folks at the lowest level to take ownership of their programs and their processes and what they're working on and and this new contract innocence does that and so we've we broken out basically all the programs we've been them based on where they are in the acquisition lifecycle so some are in the development phase where they're working on prototypes and innovation we've got more that are definitely much more production like so some systems that have been around longer that are essentially coming off the assembly line they're in production we have another core that we're setting up called the enterprise core and those are the services that everybody uses so for instance the launch enterprise everybody has to use launch enterprise to get just that light on orbit taxi the FedEx we're working out don't tell them we said that you know they already know that is there a hierarchy within space almost like our within here like almost like hey there's fighter pilots and there's heavy pilots you know I haven't seen it too much but I think you'd probably find that the there is and it looks different for everybody the launch guys probably thinking you know launch is the most important I've got a lot of launch buddies of mine say launch is the most exciting that's like the fireworks and then all the satellite guys are no know that when the satellite turns on and you got a good connection you know that you spent billions of dollars and it's getting very capability arica moment yeah so it just depends on where you sit I think well you want to have pride in what you do so you know your system that's awesome yeah and then we're looking at starting a new kind of cross mission ground Directorate so any kind of a ground system so that it's all fused together we can ensure that the operator is not only just operating the satellite but they're able to glean the data and make it usable for battlespace awareness purposes so so we've got a number of different ground systems that are kind of merging together to work together and and then we have our logistics arm also within the enterprise core and then we have a whole host of services across base that help support those so our contracting shop our finance shop our talent management our personnel shop training those are in what we call the Atlas core you know they hold everything on their shoulders they're kind of a the key linchpins to make sure that this organization is running fluidly absolutely absolutely now um we talked about empowering folks and some junior folks well on this base a captain's a junior person you know it's like the Pentagon yeah talk talk to me little bit about what you've seen here because you've been here you said I've been here since 2016 it's real rough having to be in LA for you know for some people but you know I'll carry the bird and I think yeah it's yeah so it was really interesting when my family and I moved out here I was stationed at Eglin Air Force Base as my first assignment would be to and there yeah but I was doing something completely different in terms of trying to support the delivery of advanced munitions at the armament Directorate and and in particular working on b61 which is part of the nuclear arsenal so I went from working small tactical nuclear acquisitions to space acquisitions and it's really great how this base takes on you know young talent and starts to mature them so that they can be great space acquisition professionals because that talent management piece is certainly critical but since I've gotten here I've seen you know tangible results and tangible changes to the way we do business here at SMC and in particular I started on a new program which was the GPS three follow-on program which was the competition to essentially procure 22 space vehicles and basically ensuring GPS out through 2050 right that's a pretty big ask for of you know yeah six-year-old 28 year old ripe old age of 32 I've got two kids so that helps me age quicker I know but when I got here and we were starting this new program this new you know adventure and acquisitions kind of it was oK we've got to go all the way up to the office of the Secretary of Defense get approval well it's that sound simple but there are layers and layers of pre-approval that you have to get at the meeting before the meeting with me before the meeting and in in in the course of us trying to get this new program started by the way one of the largest acquisitions in the history of the Air Force not here at SMC we were fortunate enough that OSD and the Air Force were able to work out hey we should probably delegate this program away from OSD back to the Air Force and that literally changed the game for us we were able to award this six billion dollar contract in half the time it usually takes really and we did it so fast that we essentially caught almost everybody off guard yeah our industry partners our aerospace and support contractors but it's just a testament to the changes that are being made here at SMC so so these changes um they've already been implemented even before the official 2.0 yeah absolutely kind of following what's working and you're seeing what's working and yeah you're kind of is that what's going on I think so when I came into GPS we already had a lot of initiatives that we're looking at streamlining and empowering people and I had the opportunity to work for at the time Colonel Whitney now general Whitney who was certainly about developing the next generation of acquisition professionals and he empowered his material leaders the program office leaders to let us you know the captain's make relatively large decisions and it wasn't a second-guessed show it wasn't bringing the status and I'll make the decision it was no you are the space vehicle lead so you're gonna sit there across from your industry counterpart and you're gonna tell me why it's okay that we can fuel this satellite and then launch it right so it's a lot of responsibility we're really fortunate that we have leadership support all the way at the top and I think that that that mentality carries through the center and it is certainly a shift in the way we're going to approach acquisitions going forward as 2.0 finalizes so with 2.0 finalizing and I've coming online and a lot good stuff what are you most excited about what what should you know what what should we be seeing what are coming up well I would say that um you know in the advanced development Directorate which is now part of the development core they're running a program called our acquisition contract called spec ATI's space Enterprise consortium and it's really reaching non-traditional vendors at this point so people who are organizations contractors that have not typically wanted to work for the government or work in space with us we're trying to reach out to those smaller vendors get them interested in working on government contracts and so the spec OD is really working to increase the membership of that there's up to three hundred members now I can't remember it's like two hundred and two hundred and forty two million dollars so so we're really looking at innovating the way we do contracting the way we bring in new business and new ideas and new innovations and that's one of the vehicles for which we're doing it another thing that's really exciting coming up is the portfolio architect team they're kind of our our main integrators across the center they are sponsoring pitch day space pitch day for dr. Roper so dr. Roper did a pitch day in New York last fall it was very successful he offered up a number of million dollars for contractors to come in and he swiped a GPC card and said here you go we're giving you this contract literally start to deliver this bring me the good idea fairy and if it's good enough I'll swipe my credit card so we're gonna do this thang same thing for space programs we're still working out the dates and location but we'll be announcing that here really soon and we've got a great team Lieutenant Colonel ROC McMillan from the portfolio tech team is doing a great job advocating across various contractors saying hey this events coming up please bring your good ideas to the table if it's something that we think we can use at SMC we'll swipe a GPC card and put you on contract okay so that is one of our really key events that we're really stoked about coming up in the future so it's awesome so we're seeing that we're seeing we're gonna actually start moving people around here soon too so that they're sitting amongst each other within their quarters right there's gonna be that shuffle and you know I I'm looking forward to that I think what I'm looking forward to the most is when you know this may sound a little corny right but is it's when the space operators you know can can look back at us and say man you guys are really delivering this capability faster I've upgrades to my ground control system you know every month and it's just getting better and better and I think that those are some of the improvements you're gonna see I think that there's a lot of initiatives trying to align the way we you know even just procure satellite systems and find a way to drive commonality so that you can if you have an issue inside your production build you can just swap that component out from another production line and be confident that it's going to meet your mission requirements that's a large part of what's gonna make space go faster so I think as we can drive towards more of those common solutions we'll be able to deliver capability faster and I think once the warfighter starts to see it I think that they're gonna be just as excited as we are to start you know implementing that technology you know when they don't have to wait you know so yeah that what they need and it sounds like you're you're thinking about things they need before they even maybe realize they need they need it yeah it's shorting that that feedback loop is certainly key and I think that we're seeing some of that already with some of the enterprise common ground solutions that were pursuing it's great too because I think things like space pitch day and spec 'ti those commercial companies are coming to the table with things that they've already developed and things that they can leverage for the commercial industry that maybe we can capitalize on as well so things that we didn't even know we could create that were out there we can now deliver to the warfighter that sounds exciting interested to see how this will go to I know your space specific one that you're talking about just a moment ago I feel like that that's the way of the future right there that's a new way of doing business you guys should come to the pitch day and interview some of the industry guys and see what they think about you know how the Air Force is changing the way they do business don't threaten me with a good time pretty close to the coast so there we go I mean anytime I have to leave Colorado Springs I'm a little upset but that's one place I'd be ok with yeah so all we're kind of starting to wind down a little bit on but beforehand I wanna know um asteroid thing we haven't talked about that you maybe you want to mention or it's gonna be have talked about that you maybe just want to foot stop a little bit well we didn't really talk too much about portfolio architect I think that's really a key linchpin to ensuring the success of SMC 2.0 there they're the visionaries of where we're going in the future and they work hand in hand with the folks at headquarters Air Force Space Command to ensure that we are in total lockstep in alignment with what the operator needs and what they're they're wanting to see in the future so they're helping define our architectures seeing how we can leverage capabilities from a GPS satellite onto a Sybaris satellite things of that nature and then you know reinventing our platforms how we're doing business so I think that's the real key new piece to SMC 2.0 thats that's really going to be what we keep our eye on in the future let me ask you this and three sentences at 10 seconds or less what would you say victory looks like what does the gold medal look like here where we can slash timelines consistent speed you know produce what we can produce in a much more production like manner do things quicker do things smartly and and deliver some really interesting innovations across the board yeah I think to your original question on something to highlight I think it's an important note that just because there's some change in the way we're structured that doesn't mean that we've lost sight of the systems that we're currently delivering and I think it's worth a foot stomp that you know GPS is still going to be delivered at the end of the day right and just because we're changing the way we deliver it faster and with more capability doesn't mean that the programs that already have a lot of momentum that are absolutely critical to meeting capability needs today and also meeting needs for the public right for the world those programs are still going to deliver and not lose momentum throughout the change so nothing we should be wearing yeah you can still plug in how to get to the pitch day in your GPS you'll focus the call uplift and all that you can still use uber and use the ATM and the Graham good so while we're winding down so there's one quit so I've been doing something on during these by asking one question it's completely random and off-topic I'll leave with you ma'am give you second thanks for spending a junior he gave me he slipped me a 24 what do you live your life by what's your theme song your your your guiding your your North Star what's you know what would I see under Twitter you know that kind of deal what do you have a tattoo off no just get the bumper sticker um I'll say family is my guiding force you know I really hope to deliver to my family a world that's better than than what it was when I started right and and I firmly believe in space and what we can do in the future and where it's going it's really exciting time to be part of the the space community and but in the end we all do it for our families right because we want to protect them and make sure that they're going to be safe and so I would say that's what what guides me the most that's good that's a good answer I'll follow with there's a really great song called I was born for this and I think that's part of kind of the mantra that I approach my life buys I feel like I was born to be a part of this awesome Air Force team and provide you know my small part to protect our way of life and deliver capabilities and be a part of the warfighting community you know a space and SMC are really closely related obviously and I feel like every time I step foot on the base or you know get caught by retreat and or get the opportunity to salute the flag at the end of the day I feel like I was born for this and I think it's really a core part of how I approach the day when you when you like what you do when you feel like you're in the right place life's good that's awesome I'm gonna actually follow up with one more question I'm gonna put you on the spot here so our audio engineer really would want me to bring this up we hear you are avid guitar player I won't say avid play guitar just like one day you just decide to learn like two years ago something like that and boom you bucket list you know you have that midlife crisis and you decide okay I need to do something so I just say you can teach an old dog new tricks I really enjoy playing it's been kind of my lifeline since I've gotten here great stress reliever and when I'm you know sitting around at home watching TV and I feel like I'm wasting my life watching Game of Thrones then I pick up my guitar and I play some songs and learn something new and it just is really fulfilling yeah cool well thank you all for your time hope this wasn't too bad and you know thanks for taking a couple minutes to speak with us anytime see you pitch day all right well hey that's another episode of generation space coming to you out of SMC here in lovely Los Angeles thanks for tuning in and we look forward to having you on the show for next time take care generation space is a production of Air Force Space command's public affairs the generation space theme is by first lieutenant Tyler whiting and Jacob Moses Ulf is our audio engineer don't forget to like subscribe leave a comment 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