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Letter From The Editor

By | September 1, 2012

      The military satellite communications landscape is on the cusp of change as governments around the world look to embrace new technologies while keeping an eye on the costs involved in deploying new state-of-the-art technologies. These two issues seem to go hand-in-hand. It is a balancing act. The equation now is to deliver more with less, something that is never easy to achieve in a milsatcom context.

      While ground operations wind down in hotspots like Afghanistan and Iraq, new challenges and new hotspots will undoubtedly emerge and it remains to be seen where the United States may look to deploy a significant military presence next.

      The first article in this military supplement gives an update on the latest technical challenges facing Military Forces around the world such as deploying high-powered satellites in a shorter time frame and the ability to put smaller, flexible satellites into orbit at a much lower cost. It seems this era of austerity shows no sign of coming to an end, as the United States, like many other countries, grapples with debt issues.

      The second feature examines what it is next in terms of the United States’ next-generation milsatcom strategy. There is now consistent talk of closer collaboration with the commercial sector, but that talk has been going on for months. It still remains to be seen what the next stage of this collaboration will be. The topic of hosted payloads is never far from this debate nowadays. We will be holding our second Hosted Payload Summit in Washington, D.C., in October, and we hope for more clarity as to whether we might see some breakthrough deals in this area in the near future.

      During the next 12 months, the satellite industry may see some key developments in the U.S. military’s space strategy, as well as in new technologies that might see the light of day. The mantra of doing more with less, however, seems likely to remain.