A brand new way of doing business and a contract estimated to be worth more than $5 billion over 10 years is bound to cause some discussion. And that is exactly what is happening in vociferous debate and hushed tones between government agencies and the companies that supply the satellite communications lifeline to today’s warfighters. At issue is the wisdom of moving from buying time on commercial satellites from a limited number of providers to the ability to purchase megabits per month the same way agencies buy office supplies.
The genesis of this new line of reasoning began in 2008. The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), Arlington, Virginia, and the General Services Administration (GSA), Washington, D.C., launched their initial discussions about commercial satellite communications (COMSATCOM) services. The Future COMSATCOM Services Acquisition (FCSA) program is the result of two years of cost analysis, requirements reckoning and acquisition strategy meetings that resulted in an announcement last August that the two organizations were creating a common marketplace for COMSATCOM.