Press Release

The Elara Edge: Expert Insights on Space Security 

Episode 11: National Defense Industrial Strategy to Lay Foundation for ‘Integrated Deterrence’ 

Host: Scott King 

Subject Matter Expert: Elara Nova Senior Principal Advisor, Gen John E. Hyten 

00:02 – 01:38 

The strength of America’s defense industrial base propelled the United States and its Allies to victory through much of the 20th century. Then after the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the U.S. became the sole world power and made changes to the acquisition process that favored perceived efficiency, over military effectiveness. 

In the decades since, the U.S. defense industrial base experienced offshoring and atrophy that has enabled potential adversaries to develop their own space-based capabilities, while simultaneously capturing key elements of the Department of Defense (DOD) supply chain. In response, the DOD has set out its new National Defense Industrial Strategy (NDIS) to rejuvenate the defense industrial base and maintain its strategic military advantage.  

Welcome to “The Elara Edge: Expert Insights on Space Security.” I’m your host Scott King. Today’s episode is the second of three installments of the Special Edition Series marking the first anniversary of Elara Nova as an emerging leader in national security space. 

Today’s guest is retired General John E. Hyten, senior principal advisor at Elara Nova: The Space Consultancy. General Hyten previously served as the former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where as the second-highest ranking military officer – he was responsible for supporting and overseeing joint military requirements for nearly 1.5 million service members and their families across the U.S. Armed Forces. 

General Hyten also served as Commander of U.S. Strategic Command, and Air Force Space Command, respectively. 

General Hyten, welcome to the show! 

01:39 – 01:41 

Thanks very much. It’s good to be here.

01:42 – 01:48 

It’s good to have you here, Sir. So as we begin – can you describe the historical relationship between the military and the defense industrial base? 

01:49 – 04:47 

So I think our greatest advantage in the military is that we have the best people in the world serving in the military and they can do awesome things. But they can only do awesome things if we could give them awesome things to do them with, and that’s the job of the defense industrial base. And one of the reasons that we’ve been so remarkable, across our military and across military space is because the defense industrial base has delivered for us the most remarkable, amazing capabilities that nobody else in the world had. 

And it gave us a giant, asymmetric advantage on the battlefield. The first time it showed up where people saw it was the first Gulf War  – that kind of changed everything, because all of a sudden space was out in the open world, not just in the classified world, but it was out in the open.You saw the huge difference that it made, and it stayed that way for decades. The problem was, is that our potential adversaries, Russia and China in particular, but all our potential adversaries saw that advantage, and they’ve been working for decades to counter it.  

So now we’re in a position where this is a contest where somebody moves – the other person has to move back, and the defense industrial base has got to be able to move fast enough to stay ahead of the threats that are posed against us by our peer adversaries. My concern is the defense industrial base, because we’ve had basically three decades of no peer adversary. We’ve forgotten how to go fast and we have to get that back again. 

I think it’s still the greatest industrial base in the world. But, while I was there in the Pentagon in 2000, for the Quadrennial Defense Review, it’s where we went through and looked at where we’ve been, where we are, where we’re going, and in 2000, we actually made the statement in the QDR, the Quadrennial Defense Review, that because the United States no longer faces any peer adversary, we no longer will have a threat-based approach to our development of our weapon systems. 

We’ll have a capabilities-based approach. Defined as, we will take our time, we’ll define very carefully what we need, and then we’ll very deliberately walk through that process and we’ll deliver the capability at the time, because the time didn’t really matter, because we were so far ahead of the rest of the world. 

There are two problems with that. Number one is we actually did face threats. The year 2000, Vladimir Putin was elected president of Russia. In the Nuclear Posture Review in 2010, we actually stated that even though we still have our differences with Russia, Russia is no longer a threat to the United States. That’s not what Vladimir Putin was saying, but that’s what we said. 

China has been going after their strategy since 1995 at least. As leadership changed, as Xi came in and got a little more aggressive. But we had made the statement that we no longer face the threat. That caused the industrial base to respond to what we asked for in the Department of Defense, which is a very deliberate, risk-averse approach to development because we could take the time and we could afford to make sure that we never made mistakes.  

It was a mistake. Since 2000, we have created the culture in the defense industrial base of not taking risks and switching back quickly is a very difficult thing to do. That’s the position we find ourselves in. 

04:48 – 04:56 

And Sir, how does the National Defense Industrial Strategy demonstrate this shift back to a more proactive, threat-based development approach that we’ve had in the past? 

04:57 – 06:12 

So I think the senior leadership of the Department understood that we’re in a bad place because we’re in a threat-based world. We now face significant threats to this nation and we have to respond to them, and the industrial base is not postured to do that. So the National Defense Industrial Strategy is written to move us back that way. The problem is, that’s not the business environment of the United States, right now.  

You can write down all the policy that you want – fundamentally, change has to happen in behavior, not in policy. Policy has to lead it and the policy is now leading it, but now change has to be made. It’s similar to the recent publication of a new classification policy for space. Lowering the classification of a lot of our significant capability so we can work effectively across the Joint Force and across our Allies to do that. The policy is great and I support it. 

But right now, it’s just a policy. You actually have to go do it, and we have to do it on the industrial side, which means the Department of Defense, Congress, the White House, the industrial base, the military leadership down to the youngest person all have to enable that strategy. And if one of those elements refuses to change, then the entire problem will not be solved. So it’s everybody together, all at once. It’s a good strategy. But, it’s not going to happen overnight and it needs to happen overnight.

06:13 – 06:20 

Thank you, Sir. And can you expand on how the immediate threat environment requires faster capability development from our defense industrial base?

06:21 – 08:13 

For example, Russia is at war in Ukraine. We need to be figuring out how to support them as much as we can because if Ukraine falls, then Eastern Europe opens up again – that can’t be allowed to happen. Russia’s expending enormous amounts of their conventional capability in a war that is not going well for them. 

So when you look at their overall strategy, the advantages that we have in space and cyberspace are putting them in a risk position that they don’t like. Therefore, we recognize the problem with our on-orbit architecture where everything was, you know, I’ve called it a ‘fat, juicy target’ before, so I’ll call it ‘fat and juicy targets,’ now. What did the Russians do? What did the adversaries do? Russia and China both built direct ascent anti-satellite weapons to take out our satellites. And then we move to proliferated low-Earth orbit constellations, which basically obviates the effectiveness of a direct ascent ASAT weapon. 

Because if you’re going after one satellite, it’s easy. If you’re going after a hundred satellites, it’s impossible. And so, boom, there’s a move. What’s the counter move? It was reported in the paper Russia is looking at a nuclear ASAT capability. And that nuclear ASAT capability would basically decimate low-Earth orbit for everybody. But if you’re Russia and you don’t have the ability to counter that American advantage, what do you do? You come up with an asymmetric response to that.  

Now we have to figure out how to change the game back. So this is going to happen over and over and over again over the coming years and our job in the military should be to deter conflict with Russia and China. The last thing we should want as a nation is war with Russia and China. That’s the worst thing that could possibly happen to the world and to our country. And therefore, in order to do that, we have to effectively deter them. So every time they make a move, we have to make a move back, and we have to do it quickly to keep the advantage on our side. If they move fast and we move slow, by the time we deploy the counter, they’re already into the counter-counter. 

This is the world that we lived in for the better part of the 20th century. It’s the world we live in now. We actually know how to do that. But we have to move the industrial base to allow them to go fast enough to produce counters to every move that is made by Russia and China.  

08:14 – 08:33 

And turning to the National Defense Industrial Strategy document, itself. The NDIS lays out four strategic priorities to facilitate the faster capability development from the defense industrial base that we’ve been discussing.  

The first strategic priority is a resilient supply chain. From your perspective, Sir, what does the strategy say about supply chains?

08:34 – 10:43 

So when you talk about supply chain resilience, it really talks about two things: 

Number one is the fact that we have off-shored critical elements of our supply chain because Russia and China were no longer adversaries. So a significant amount of our supply chain went into China, and some of it went even to Russia in critical materials and resources. It’s not a good idea to have your supply chain in your potential adversary. That creates the ultimate vulnerability. So the first part of that strategy is to remove those elements of the supply chain and create elements onshore, or create elements in our Allies. It doesn’t necessarily limit to the United States only, but it can’t be in our adversaries. 

And then the second piece of the puzzle is the resilient piece – you need more than one supplier for critical elements. In much of our supply chain, we’ve skinnied down to a single supplier. That single supplier is weak, in terms of a strategy. So when they talk about resilience, the way I read it is they’re talking about creating those two things: 

Number one, removing the vulnerability from having a supply chain in our adversaries. And number two, creating multiple suppliers so that we’re no longer dependent on a single one, that if they went out of business or they were taken over, it could go away in a heartbeat. 

One of the things we’ve got to take advantage of in the supply chain world is artificial intelligence to basically tell us two things: Number one, make sure we know where our supply chain really is that’ll come from all the data that’s in there. But number two, once you have all the data in the supply chain, you can figure out how to maximize the efficiency of the supply chain and figure out where the weaknesses are and we have to figure out how to do that with the industry that we have. That’s going to be difficult because it takes a workforce that in many cases has gone away, too. We have a serious shortage of metal workers, electricians, plumbers, welders. Those are the critical capabilities that we need and critical elements of the supply chain to build the unique capabilities that we have. 

Then you have the resource problem, like rare minerals that come from, you know, locations around the world that aren’t necessarily favorable in the United States. So we have to find alternate sources for those rare minerals and if we don’t have them in the United States, ideally we’d have them in an Ally. So we’ve got to create those structures as well, which creates international partnerships, which overall is good because we want to be dependent on our Allies, and the Allies want to be dependent on us. That creates a very significant problem for our potential adversaries. 

10:44 – 11:01 

 And I’d like to take that one step further in that the commercial space industry in particular, has really been growing exponentially over the past several years. 

But, it is still a budding and emerging industry – so what are some ways the commercial space industry and the commercial space market in general, can continue to grow with this need for resiliency in mind?

11:02 – 14:08 

When you talk about the commercial space industry, you have to define the terms right up front, because otherwise you’ll miss: a commercial company, by definition, makes money from the commercial market. A commercial company is not created solely for the defense business.  

So a commercial company that exists and succeeds in America has to compete against the other competitors in order to achieve a market share that makes them profitable. Now, how would the government do business with the commercial company? You should be able to go out and buy a commercial product that meets your need. 

What we’ve been doing, which makes no sense at all, is going to a commercial company and say, ‘We like your stuff. We would like to create a competition where you compete with others and we’ll bring others up, so we have a competition because we could get a better price.’ 

If it really is a commercial company, they have already done the competition, won the competition, achieved that competitive advantage, and they’re not going to want to give their intellectual property to anybody else just to create a competition. But that’s the way the government does things. We think competition in the government is more than one source competing for a contract.  

In the commercial market, you’ve already won the competition and the government needs to be able to go buy that capability. That will happen in most of space.

But the other piece that’s happening is that you have a significant commercial business now that’s very mature in the launch business. What is a commercial company in launch? A commercial company in launch is a company that has the majority of their business in the commercial sector.  

Therefore, the government has to figure out how to buy launches from commercial businesses, which means you’ve got to figure out how to buy launches from commercial businesses in a different way than you’ve been doing because the national security sector is now a minority part of that business.  

Not the only part of the business, not even the largest part of the business, a small minority part of the business in some cases. If that’s the case, then you have to buy things differently. And we’re not, in the government, we’re not buying things differently. 

And the second piece of the puzzle is, you talked about resiliency earlier in the supply chain – launch is a supply. You don’t want singular launch providers, you want multiple launch providers, because as soon as one failure goes down, you’re shut down for a while and the launch cadence has got to continue and now if you have a problem, you’re completely down.

That’s the world we’re in, so we’ve got to figure out how to do business where we buy from commercial launch companies. We buy capabilities in the most efficient way we can, and that’s the commercial sector. That’s going to cause huge changes in the national security sector because now we have to figure out how our satellites can be vertically integrated as well as horizontally integrated, because each rocket’s going to be different. 

And we’ve got to fit the interface to wherever the commercial sector is because if you’re doing 70 percent of your business and most of your profit from a commercial customer, the fact that you have a low margin national security customer – at some point, you’re not going to stop launching the commercial sector because you’re going to go out of business by doing that. 

So you’ve got to fit in if you’re the national security buyer. You can’t lock down a pad like we’ve had with the Delta IV for the last couple of months. If you’re not on the pad, you’re gone and the next guy’s going and the next rocket may not be the same rocket. So this is going to be a fundamental change in all our business. But commercial – that word – is different in how you use it so I try to define it in as many ways as I could, but it’s even more complicated than that. 

14:09 – 14:18 

I appreciate that additional context, Sir.  

The second strategic priority is workforce readiness. What are the challenges to workforce readiness and how does it relate to our national security space needs? 

14:19 – 15:59 

So the way I look at the NDIS and workforce readiness is that it’s kind of step one of the 12 step process. 

We have a problem and we have to address the problem. So we understand that the workforce is going to be critical. The White House has some great initiatives for the space workforce as we look into the future more broadly, a STEM workforce where we have a big focus on engineering and math to make sure we have the engineers we need for the future. 

STEM education is a big piece of that puzzle, because it’s embarrassing that, in the 81 industrial countries of the world – China not included in that because they don’t provide the data – the United States is 26th in science. We used to be number one. That’s an embarrassment and it’s also hugely damaging to the future of our space business.

That’s why Elara Nova is wanting to start a new foundation where we start building the national security leaders of the future. That’s our lifeblood. If we don’t do that, if we don’t have that capability in the future, we cannot be the leading space-faring nation in the world. We want to do that with our Allies and partners. Actually, we want to do that across the entire world. 

We want space to be a place that everybody can look up and dream. But in order to do that, you have to have a robust, science, technology, math, program. And right now we are very weak, in the overall scheme of the world and that has to change.  

But at the same time, it’s clear we also need what I talked about before: electricians, plumbers, metal workers, all of those trades that and again, because we off-shored a lot of that capability, has kind of been a disappearing environment.  

If you walk into a rocket plant, the engineers are a minority population, the trades are the majority and they’re hard to find in this country. So the White House announced five pilots to kind of work with the community colleges and the trade schools to develop new capabilities for those specialized skills that we have to have in the space workforce. 

16:00 – 16:10 

And sir, how can the Space Force develop and acquire STEM-focused talent for both its service and its industry partners, in conjunction with the need for trades that you’ve been discussing? 

16:11 – 17:34 

There’s good news and bad news answers to that. The good news is the Space Force is a very small service and the demand signal coming from our country of people that want to join the Space Force is huge. So we get to be very selective and really pick the best of the best. 

It’s the one service that has no trouble meeting their recruiting goals. So that’s actually not one of the big concerns in the military. But, you asked about the defense industrial base before. We have the best people in the military, right? But without the capabilities that allow them to do the work they need to, they’re less than fully effective.  

Therefore, we have to make sure that the rest of the enterprise has the same demand signal coming. Where the Lockheeds, the Northrops, the Boeings have hundreds, maybe even a thousand job openings and they’re having a tough time acquiring those. The Space Force is not, but Lockheed is and if Lockheed fails, the Space Force fails.  

So we have to reach out and do a full court press involving industry, government, NASA, because it’s all the same industry. So we have to work together with them to jointly build. And I tell you, one of the things that we do is if you talk to a young person and you get them excited about space. I don’t care if they go to work for NASA or they go to work for Lockheed or they go to work for Boeing. 

But if they’re excited and they’re in that career field, that raises everybody. That’s what we have to do and space creates that imagination. Now we have to leverage that excitement and get people to realize, well, if you want to do that, you’ve got to be good at science and math. 

17:35 – 17:42 

Thank you, Sir, and so I’d like to shift to the third strategic priority: flexible acquisition. Can you describe for me what the challenges are there? 

17:43 – 19:50 

So I really like that about the strategy because, you know, when I did space acquisition as a one-star going to two-stars, I hadn’t done acquisition in 20 years. 

But I go back into it. So the first thing I do in any military job is I read my orders. Doesn’t matter where you are. You have orders. The orders for an acquisition person are the 3170 [series] regulations from the Joint Staff to talk about how to do requirements. 

There are the [DOD series] 5000 regulations on how the DOD says to do acquisition and the Federal Acquisition Regulations [FAR], which is that stack of documents, it’s just huge. But I read them all. And what was amazing to me is the flexibility that’s actually in the FAR. But then I went to the Defense Acquisition University and the way we taught our acquisition professionals is there’s only one way through the process.  

There’s almost infinite ways through the FAR. You just have to get the right person to waive things and you can go as fast as you want. But sometimes it’s got to be your service secretary, sometimes it’s the Secretary of Defense, sometimes it’s Congress. 

It can be any number of people that allow you to go fast, they’re all there. But we only teach one way through. So all flexible acquisition means is all these other ways you want to go through it. Those are all available, too, but they got to be the right match of the acquisition strategy for the kind of program that it is, the amount of risk you want to take and then you’ve got to empower the people to go to do it. That’s all that’s meant by flexible strategy.  

And that’s probably the most important piece of the puzzle, because we actually have to enable that to go fast. That will be hard to do because we’ve only been teaching our workforce one way through, and there’s actually dozens and dozens of dozens. 

But it goes back to the same thing we were talking about earlier. Now you actually have to go do it. Now you have a policy that enables it. Now you have to go do it. 

Somebody has to say, ‘Okay, I’m going to do it this way.’ And then the Department has to say, ‘Fine, you can do it that way.’ If the Department says, ‘Well, I understood what the policy says, but there’s still only one way through the process.’ You have to go through the service acquisition process and then you go through a Defense Acquisition Board, and then you got to come back to the Defense Acquisition Board at every milestone. 

Well, every time you come to a milestone decision in the Pentagon, it’s a six-month delay to a program. What flexible acquisition means is sometimes you have to do that, but other times just keep it in the service and go fast. 

19:51 – 20:01 

And, Sir, can you speak to why flexible acquisition procedures are so critical for the Space Force, in light of both the immediate threat environment, and especially as the DOD stands up this new military service? 

20:02 – 22:10 

So I’ve listened to General Stephen Whiting talk a couple times now with General Saltzman and they both said that, ‘I’m really worried about [calendar years] ’26 and ’27 but basically we’ll have no different capabilities in ’27 than we do today in ’24.’  

If this was a commercial problem and you had resources available, you would solve that problem in the next three years. But because it’s the government, everybody has just said, ‘Eh, can’t do it.’ 

Heck, there’s commercial capabilities out there right now that we could employ and we could go buy that would fundamentally change the game. But we don’t because we have to go through this laborious, one-way-through acquisition process. We really don’t have to do that. But we have to be very careful about when we allow people to buy commercial, when we go fast, how do we go fast and then hold people accountable? 

But all the acquisition people I’ve worked with in my life would prefer more accountability – which means if they fail, they get fired. When you have an acquisition process where the program managers and the program directors and the program executive officers are not responsible, then there’s no incentive to go fast. There’s no incentive to take risks. 

They’re just going to do the job that they’ve been told to the best of their ability and they’re good people and they know that business. But you’re not empowering them to fundamentally do anything different. We have to empower them to do things differently, as we go forward, which means taking some risk. 

One of my favorite paintings in the Pentagon is a picture of a rocket at night and it’s my favorite because the caption is ‘Discoverer 13.’ Discoverer 13 was the first, successful Corona spy satellite. The reason I love that picture is because what happened to Discoverer 1 through 12? They were all failures. 

But they were 12 failures in 18 months. When you’re paying a marching army to build a capability, and you can deliver in 18 months with 12 failures, that’s a whole lot better than never making a mistake and shutting down for two years every time you have a failure. It’ll save the country a fortune, it allows us to go fast. 

But that means Congress, the Pentagon, the services, the White House. They all have to allow that failure to happen. But that means if that program director, she or he, continues to fail, they’re going to be fired. That’s okay. Everybody I talked to said, give me the authority, and if I fail, then you can fire me. But they want that authority. 

22:11 – 22:18 

Thank you, Sir, and how about the fourth and final strategic priority: economic deterrence? What is the DOD intending to achieve here? 

22:19- 23:30 

So just so you know, I don’t like the term ‘economic deterrence.’ There’s only deterrence. ‘Strategic deterrence,’ is a valid term. The reason that the Secretary of Defense used the term ‘integrated deterrence’ is because he was trying to make the point for everybody to understand that deterrence is only achieved when all elements of the country come together to provide an overall deterrent. 

So economic deterrence by itself is worthless, unless you have a strategic military deterrent. Economic deterrence means you have the ability to employ economic cost or deny an economic benefit to that adversary and they understand that completely through your messaging. That’s what economic deterrence is and that’s powerful.  

And especially with both Russia and China, that can be very useful. But if it’s not accompanied by all the other elements of our nation to create an integrated deterrence, it’s not fully effective. And so, I defined what economic deterrence is, and that’s a useful piece. But you have to do all the other elements at the same time for it to work.  

That’s why Secretary Austin in his first year in office in 2021, in April, in the Pacific, talked about the need for integrated deterrence, because all those elements have to come together to be effective against a peer adversary. 

23:31 – 23:40 

That’s some important context to consider there, Sir. Thank you. Now, can you elaborate on how the Space Force and its partners can support the objective for achieving this ‘integrated deterrence?’ 

23:41 – 25:13 

The Space Force doesn’t perform deterrence. The Space Force is a military service. They organize, train and equip forces for Combatant Commanders. Combatant Commanders actually execute the deterrent mission. 

So in space, the Combatant Commander responsible for that is General Stephen Whiting, the Commander of U.S. Space Command. His job is to take the forces that he’s provided by the Space Force and the other services and create a powerful structure that can defend our on-orbit capabilities and challenge adversary capabilities so that they are deterred enough not to act in the space domain. 

But if he did that only by himself, it is worthless. It is like economic deterrence by itself. It is worthless. He has got to work with PACOM, with China. He’s got to work with EUCOM, with Russia. He’s got to work with Strategic Command on the nuclear side. He’s got to work with the Department of Commerce. He’s got to work with the Department of the Treasury. He’s got to work with the White House to create this integrated deterrence structure.  

But the Space Force is responsible for delivering the Guardians and the capabilities that will enable Space Command to create a deterrent environment in space that when integrated with all the other domains and all the other Commands, creates the environment where, everyday, China and Russia and North Korea and Iran wake up and say, ‘Not today, because the United States is ready across the board.’ 

And therefore, they’re deterred. Peace exists and the world is a better place. That’s how deterrence works. And to me, it’s very simple. But for some reason, everybody likes to divide it up into space deterrence, economic deterrence, nuclear deterrence. No, the only way it works is if it’s integrated deterrence. 

25:14 – 25:24 

Thank you, Sir. 

Now, when considering the current defense industrial base – why is it important to consider expanding it to include not only legacy companies, but new and emerging companies as well?

25:25 – 26:34 

Number one, we have to expand the industrial base because we have to expand the supply chain. The other element of the strategy is, again, to develop a resilient supply chain. You can’t do that with the current industrial base. You have to expand the industrial base in order to do that. So when I talk about expanding the industrial base, that’s part of it.  

The second piece is expanding the industrial base into the very innovative, emerging technologies in this country, that tends to be in IT, AI, data. The traditional companies, that’s not their forte. The innovative areas in this country are Seattle, Silicon Valley, Cambridge, Austin, even Washington, DC. And they are are amazing companies that do very interesting things that can have huge national security impacts. We’ve got to reach out to those.

The academic world is going to do amazing research into quantum. We need to be partnered with them not to impact their basic research or tie their hands in any way. But when they do have breakthroughs in the basic research, we need to be working with the academic community to turn that quickly into applied research, to take the technology that’s there and make it applicable to the United States military. So those are just two examples of how you have to expand the industrial base and I’ll just leave it at that because, we could go forever. 

26:35 – 26:54 

In the beginning of the NDIS, the document asks – and I quote – “How do we prioritize and optimize defense needs in a competitive landscape undergirded by geopolitical, economic, and technological tensions?” End quote. 

From your point of view, Sir, how does the document answer that question?

26:55 – 28:24 

Well, it doesn’t answer it. It’s not meant to. What it does is enable an answer to the question. The answer to the question comes from doing. When you think about how much money we spend on old antennas, for example, Roger Teague and I just published an op-ed that talked about the Air Force Satellite Control Network.  

But fundamentally, what it says is, ‘Did you know, the Satellite Control Network was built in the 60s? We ought to take advantage of current technology and come up with a better Satellite Control Network. That’s basically what it says. When you do that, people say, ‘Well, that’s going to cost a lot of money.’ 

It only costs a lot of money if you try to rebuild what we built in the 60s. If you take advantage of the current technology, there’s antennas out there that are sub-million dollar antennas that can do satellite command and control. For less than $1 million.  

You do need some high-powered antennas for certain capabilities in certain emergencies. But for the most part, it’s just a commercial antenna that’s out there everywhere today. But no, we think about – ‘Well, we’ve got to replace every one of those big antennas with more big antennas.’  

You actually don’t. You’ve got to come up with a new CONOPS for how you do business in the 21st century that allows you to take advantage of the commercial sector, that allows you to take advantage of the power that’s in industry and it saves money, and it actually enables us to go faster. We’ve got to get out of the trap of thinking that everything that we do in the future has got to be replacing what we did in the past.  

No, this is the 21st century now. There’s new industry, there’s new capabilities and a new structure. Gosh, there’s new inventions. We don’t even like to take advantage of new inventions. So, we have got to figure out a way to enable that entire ecosystem and again, hold each other accountable. 

28:25 – 28:31 

Thank you, sir, and so what does the NDIS signal about the military leadership’s vision in preparing for a future fight? 

28:32 – 29:23 

Again, policy is supposed to enable solutions to problems. That’s the reason we do policy. Policy tells us where we have to go, what we have to do. But now we have to go do it.  

And then when you do it, if the policy is good, you’ll adjust the policy every year as you go on, as you learn things, as you’re implementing the strategy. But if we implement the strategy, just think about the elements that we talked about earlier. 

If you implement strategy, you have an effective supply chain, a flexible acquisition policy. You have the ability to go fast, the ability to take advantage of new capabilities, the ability to take advantage of innovative commercial.  

All of those things are now part of our normal way of doing business. When that happens, then our military capabilities can stay ahead of the adversary. That’s why the policy was written to enable that. But if we don’t do anything, if we don’t change anything, nothing changes. So the policy itself does not allow us to do anything unless it is implemented. 

29:24 – 29:36 

I want to thank you again, Sir, for taking the time to join us today. So in closing, can you speak to your role with Elara Nova and how the space consultancy can directly support implementing the strategic priorities listed in the NDIS? 

29:37 – 30:54 

Yeah, so Elara Nova is called ‘The Space Consultancy,’ right? It is a group of people, most of whom I’ve known my entire adult life that know more about space than I do. And I know a lot about space. But you put us all in a room, and again, I’m just an advisor. 

But as an advisor, my job is to make sure that we keep our eye on the vision and the goal is not to advantage any single entity over any other single entity, but it’s to advantage everybody. That’s what Elara Nova is trying to do is to improve the ability of our country to once again be successful in leading the space business of the world. 

We’re expanding into NASA, because we want NASA to continue to lead. We want the Department of Defense to continue to lead. We want the commercial sector to continue, where they have been, because what’s maybe our biggest singular advantage in the world today is the commercial sector. So it’s not advantaging any one over the other. But it’s to make sure that we can provide very unique expertise to allow the customers that we have to be successful in this enterprise. 

And in being successful, they will go faster. They’ll deliver the capabilities and the Guardians of the Space Force and the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines that depend on everything that they do will be better postured to deter conflict in the future. And if deterrence fails, to win that conflict that happens.  

30:55 – 31:49 

This has been the second installment of a Special Edition Series of “The Elara Edge: Expert Insights on Space Security,” featuring guest appearances from Elara Nova’s senior principal advisors. This series comes as the space industry’s emerging and leading consultancy celebrates its first anniversary of elevating military and industry partnerships to meet national security space imperatives. 

As a global consultancy and professional services firm focused on helping businesses and government agencies maximize the strategic advantages of the space domain, Elara Nova is your source for expertise and guidance in space security. 

If you liked what you heard today, please subscribe to our channel and leave us a rating. Music for this podcast was created by Patrick Watkins of PW Audio. This episode was edited and produced by Regia Multimedia Services. I’m your host, Scott King, and join us next time at the Elara Edge.