Congressman Jim Bridenstine Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Streamline DOD SATCOM Acquisition
Last week, Congressman Jim Bridenstine introduced H.R. 1864, bipartisan legislation to streamline the Department of Defense and enhance the Pentagon’s use of commercial satellite communications (SATCOM) services. Our warfighters rely on persistent and reliable SATCOM to communicate information and share data. Without robust and dependable SATCOM, America’s military quickly becomes deaf, dumb, and blind. Given SATCOM’s essential importance to modern military operations, it’s no wonder that America’s adversaries are racing to deploy advanced countermeasures to jam, disrupt, and degrade SATCOM. H.R. 1864 is the first step at consolidating this vital resource at an enterprise-level.
Congressman Bridenstine: “DOD’s current method of buying SATCOM is disjointed, inefficient, and wasteful. One agency buys military SATCOM for DOD owned and operated satellites. A different agency buys SATCOM from the private sector using costly ‘spot market’ contracts. Instead of a ‘stove-piped’ approach, we need a single SATCOM purchasing agent to allocate requirements and resources between military and commercial SATCOM in a unified way. We need to start thinking about SATCOM as a unified global architecture. Consolidating SATCOM purchasing power in one office will help produce maximum impact for the warfighter at the lowest cost to the taxpayer.”
H.R. 1864 mandates that the Secretary of Defense assign a senior DOD official to perform the single SATCOM acquisition agent function by FY 2017. It provides flexibility to allow other DOD officials to procure SATCOM to meet urgent warfighter requirements. Finally, the bill requires DOD to submit a plan demonstrating how the Department will carry out the single acquisition agent responsibility.
H.R. 1864 is a bipartisan bill. It is co-sponsored by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) and Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, respectively.
Chairman Rogers: “This bill represents an important step in driving reform in organization and management of space within the DoD. This change will require a strategic approach to meeting the warfighter’s satellite communications needs, while saving taxpayer dollars. I strongly support this proposal and look forward to working with Mr. Bridenstine to make sure it passes the House and gets signed into law.”
Ranking Member Cooper: “We need clarity as the Pentagon confronts new and sophisticated threats. Congress must do everything it can to put our troops in a position to succeed.”