Frank Kendall, Deborah Lee James Propose New Business Model for Space Launch Services Acquisition

Frank Kendall
Frank Kendall

Frank Kendall, defense undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, has proposed an acquisition strategy for satellite launch services that he believes could help the Defense Department reduce costs and dependence on Russian-built RD-180 rocket engines, DoD News reported Wednesday.

“The basic business deal we have in mind is that the department will, through competition, provide at least two launch service providers with some of the capital they need to develop, test and certify the launch systems they will use to provide us with launch services in the future, including any unique DoD requirements,” Kendall said.

Jim Garamone writes Kendall made the remarks in his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee Wednesday.

The acquisition chief said he believes such a form of business arrangement could help DoD in the future acquire the right to buy space launch services at competitive prices.

Deborah Lee James
Deborah Lee James

Kendall told the Senate panel DoD hopes to issue a final request for proposals by year’s end following a draft RFP and then award contracts by fiscal 2017.

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James has said a public-private partnership could help DoD transition to a complete launch system for national security payloads and gain access to at least two local launch service providers, Garamone reports.

“This business model I want to say again is a better deal for the taxpayer because it uses to a degree other people’s money to help eliminate our dependency on the RD-180,” James told the Senate committee.

“And our [fiscal year] 2017 budget requests will reflect this approach.”

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