DOD

DoD space agency driving Pentagon contractors to rethink their price points

Space Development Agency constellations of cheaper mass-produced satellites create opportunities and risks for contractors

WASHINGTON — The Space Development Agency is buying 20 communications satellites for about $14 million apiece, and eight missile-warning satellites for about $43 million per unit.

These price points are unprecedented in Pentagon satellite programs and a sign that the military space market could be headed in a different direction, said Bill Gattle, president of space systems at L3Harris.

L3Harris and SpaceX each received contracts on Monday to build four missile warning satellites for the Space Development Agency. Lockheed Martin and York Space in August won contracts to each produce 10 data-relay satellites. All must be delivered two years from now. 

Military satellites typically are made in onesies and twosies, take decades to develop and cost hundreds of millions of dollars each. The SDA constellations of cheaper mass-produced satellites are a “fundamental transformation” in how DoD buys space technology, Gattle told SpaceNews Oct. 6.

With SDA planning to buy hundreds more satellites in the coming years, “we’re all trying to figure out how to change the price point,” Gattle said.

DoD wants to build large constellations that cost less and also are reliable and deployed quickly, he said. “So all of us have really taken a hard look at how do we build these things? What drives the cost? Why do DoD exquisite systems cost so much?”

Gattle said L3Harris, like other companies, were caught off guard by the speed of SDA contracting. The company had planned to compete for the Transport Layer satellites that were awarded to Lockheed Martin and York Space, but it didn’t move quickly enough. 

“I don’t think we were as ready as we needed to be. And therefore we didn’t win,” he said. When the Tracking Layer opportunity for missile-warning satellites

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Contractors Seek Clarity On DOD Cybersecurity Rule

Law360 (September 29, 2020, 10:28 PM EDT) — Defense contractors are grappling with a new rule requiring them to implement cybersecurity programs that leaves crucial questions unanswered, including the exact information companies will be required to safeguard and how the new obligations will be worked into contracts.

The interim rule, formally published by the U.S. Department of Defense on Tuesday, explains how contractors will be assessed for compliance with the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification framework, the DOD’s plan that will eventually attach minimum cybersecurity requirements to all of its contract solicitations.

Improving cybersecurity standards across the DOD’s supply chain is intended to help better protect “controlled unclassified information” and…

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DOD Rule Requires Contractors To Focus On Cybersecurity

Law360 (September 28, 2020, 10:25 PM EDT) — All defense contractors and subcontractors will be required to implement cybersecurity programs under a rule issued by the U.S. Department of Defense on Monday as part of a plan to attach minimum cybersecurity requirements to all Pentagon contracts.

The interim Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement rule broadly sets out the standards that contractors must meet to be certified under the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification framework, a pending overhaul to how the DOD handles cybersecurity across its procurements.

“CMMC is designed to provide increased assurance to the department that a [defense industrial base] contractor can adequately protect sensitive unclassified information such as…

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