Trusted commercial and government partnership leads to MILSATCOM augmentation

11 October 2017: Inmarsat’s U.S. Government Business Unit President, Peter Hadinger, participated on the “Government as Innovators: Incubators, Investors and Customers” panel of this year’s Satellite Innovation Symposium.

In the session, moderated by Tom Stroup, Satellite Industry Association (SIA) President, Hadinger elaborated on the leading role of commercial industry in innovation. He recognised the uncertainty surrounding aspirational proposals related to new lower orbit companies, as well as the commitment both government and commercial leadership must take, together, in order to ensure resilient military satellite communications (MILSATCOM). Partnership is about seeing commercial as a complement/augmentation to MILSATCOM, not a replacement for it, he said.

Hadinger emphasised that strong commercial owner operators committed to serving the government understand the requirements, and invest ahead of time to deliver needed capabilities. Based on extensive market research and long-term relationships with end-users and government leaders, those companies make organic, internal, on-going investments for networks that are fully interoperable with military satellite systems.

Long-term commitment

He also pointed out that the U.S. government is not ready to replace its trusted COMSATCOM GEO suppliers with what new space start-ups plan to offer. Success will not come before launches, testing, regulatory, investments – which is a long path forward when the COMSATCOM capacity is needed today. He noted that while the government is a great customer, it takes real long-term commitment to become a trusted U.S. Department of Defense partner.

It was also pointed out during the panel discussion that government is global and that technology implemented must support this critical aspect. This also includes buying satellite capacity in the form of Mbps rather than in the traditional MHz model, which is not a matrix of quality and is not relevant in a mobile, global environment. In a world where events emerge swiftly and unpredictably, government and military users must stand by ready to deploy anytime, anywhere and reliable satellite connectivity must follow them wherever they go.