From Steve Skotte, DAU Professor of Space Acquisition

USD(AT&L) Talks Space Acquisition at Washington Space Business Roundtable (Feb. 26, 2016)
The Pentagon’s top acquisition official, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall, spoke to the Washington Space Business Roundtable on Feb. 23, 2016. He offered insight into how the U.S. Defense Department is approaching some of the military space community’s long-standing concerns. The video is at

GAO Report on Defense Weather Satellites (March 10, 2016)

DoD has been working on defining a replacement for the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) for several years. GAO’s report addresses the Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) that DoD conducted and found it to be useful for certain capabilities, but ineffective coordination limited assessment of two critical capabilities. The report can be found at

New PM’s Desk Guide on Agile and Earned Value Management (March 14, 2016)

What is a Program Manager to do when encountering a program on which Agile philosophies and Earned Value Management are applied? Performance Assessments and Root Cause Analyses (PARCA) Earned Value Management (EVM) published Agile and Earned Value Management: A Program Manager’s Desk Guide, on March 3, 2016. The desk guide is the output of a collaborative effort between experts in government and industry. Check out the new desk guide at

GAO Says DoD is at a Crossroads for Space

According to GAO, “Fiscal constraints and increasing threats—both environmental and adversarial—to space systems have led DoD to consider alternatives for acquiring and launching space-based capabilities, such as: disaggregating large satellites into multiple, smaller satellites or payloads; relying on commercial satellites to host government payloads; and procuring certain capabilities, such as bandwidth and ground control as services instead of developing and deploying government-owned networks or spacecraft.

“This year, GAO’s work on space acquisition continued to show that DoD faces several major challenges as it undertakes efforts to change its approaches to space acquisition. Our work assessed a range of issues including DoD’s analysis supporting its decisions on future weather satellites, space leadership, and the introduction of competition into space launch acquisition. These and other studies surfaced several challenges:

  • First, though DoD is conducting analyses of alternatives to support decisions about the future of space programs, there are gaps in cost and other data needed to weigh the pros and cons of changes to space systems.
  • Second, most changes being considered today will impact ground systems and user equipment, but these systems continue to be troubled by management and development issues.
  • Third, leadership for space acquisitions is still fragmented, which will likely hamper the implementation of new acquisition approaches, especially those that stretch across satellites, ground systems, and user equipment.”

Review the GAO report in its entirety at
Read more of Skotte’s Blog entries at