August 19, 2019.

Part of the United States Air Force Space Command, the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) in Los Angeles provides principal development and acquisition for military space capabilities. The SMC is in the process of implementing a restructure of the organization to reinvigorate its workforce and shift its overall focus to an enterprise approach. Announced last year by the Secretary of the Air Force, the stated central goal is to “take down the walls that keep programs in stovepipes and create a more unified enterprise that looks at systems horizontally from design to production.”

“SMC acquires and develops military space systems. Its portfolio includes the Global Positioning System, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control networks, space based infrared systems and space situational awareness capabilities.” Credit: USAF

As part of our key support to all phases of space system development and operations across numerous sectors, Stellar Solutions already embraces many of the elements of SMC 2.0 and we’ve seen significant evidence of their effectiveness and success.

The central concept used to describe the transformation of this organization, SMC 2.0, is “EPIC Speed”. This means: evaluating capabilities at the Enterprise level; using Partnerships wherever possible to build on Innovation of others as well as sharing technologies internal to the Air Force; and changing the Culture to move quickly and accept measured risk.  These approaches are being combined to increase the speed of acquisition.

Stellar Enterprise: our employee-driven strategic perspective is designed to continue fulfilling our vision to realize employee dream jobs while meeting critical customer needs. Although our activities and organization are defined by customer-focused business sectors, all employees are encouraged and enabled to cross boundaries to achieve the best possible enterprise solution (“buy 2, get 200”).

Stellar Partnerships: our boundary-crossing activities enable cooperation across our sectors and ultimately our customer bases. An example is the collaboration between the Overhead Persistent Infrared community within our Defense and Intelligence Sectors and the weather communities (terrestrial/climate and space weather including solar events) within our Defense and Civil Sectors.  We are working together on sensor development, data processing and products, and end-user application—in addition to our overall systems engineering support to sensor and spacecraft integration in both areas. Our Defense Support and Cyber sector also brings a partnership to the warfighter community using exercises to ensure that the capabilities being developed will integrate well into the theater of operations.

Stellar Innovation: our “built to last” business processes adapt internally to support changes in our environment. Stellar Solution’s initiatives with new space entrants in all technology areas ensure our familiarity with the latest innovations and our readiness to deliver related solutions to our customers in all sectors, informing the way ahead.

Stellar Culture: our culture of collaboration and answering questions at the speed of need bring together solutions that meet our customers’ critical requirements. Our corporate focus on engaging employees and customers is a vital part of Stellar’s Baldrige journey of performance excellence and sustainability.

The SMC Commander, Lt. General John F. Thompson, recently testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Strategic Forces that our space forces face an environment that is increasingly competitive. He indicated that while America enjoys superiority in other mission areas, “our adversaries have recognized the extent to which our space capabilities provide a strategic advantage and are working to deny the use of our capabilities with asymmetric advantages of their own; the space acquisition enterprise must adapt to deliver capabilities to outpace the threat.”

I am personally excited for this opportunity to help the Air Force and the broader community rise to the challenge. EPIC Speed is not possible without continued focus on each of these key elements: enterprise, partnerships, innovation and culture. The application of these concepts within our Stellar culture is consistent with the goals of SMC 2.0, and focusing on that alignment in each mission area will embody a future enterprise with the resiliency needed to meet our nation’s needs.

About the author: Betsy Pimentel is Vice President for Defense Programs at Stellar Solutions, leading robust technology, management, and expert solutions for Department of Defense customers related to space and missile systems for national protection and security.