Tuesday, August 16, 2005
e chi volo' fu libero
da 'Fotokniffe', di Otto Croy, Düsseldorf 1936
"E chi volo' fu libero!"
[dettosi tipicamente da chi, a marafona, esce con l'ultima briscola]
Space capabilities are a prominent element within the collection of global
advantages the United States enjoys today. Space is one of the “commons,”
along with the sea and cyberspace, that constitute the triad of capabilities
on which America’s global power rests. But several ominous trends now
compel a reassessment of the current business model for meeting the nation’s
needs for military space capabilities. While the existing model has served the
nation well, a new business model is at hand and can now be readily grasped
to propel us into the future.
Trends compelling this reassessment include: falling barriers to
competitive entry into the commons of space, an increasing dependency on
space capabilities, and emerging vulnerabilities in current space systems. (…).
The current business model for space is unable to support, by itself, the combined weight of these
Alfred Thayer Mahan, the prominent 19th-century naval historian
and strategist, described the oceans as a Great Common. Today, space and
cyberspace must be added to the list of commons that must be controlled. One
of the recognized prerequisites to becoming a hegemonic power is the ability to
operate in and control the commons. Therefore, it is expected that nations with
such aspirations will try to erode the United States’ ability to operate effectively
in the commons and attempt to control the commons for their own uses.
The context of space technology is also undergoing rapid change.
The barriers to competitive entry are eroding in several key elements
of military competition. The barriers to entry into space, which were so high
during the ColdWar, have eroded. No longer is space reserved for great-power
nations alone. Space use has become much more common, and today a nation
does not need to be a space player to employ space power. The commercial
space communication and remote-sensing industries that emerged in the 1990s
provide power derived from space, once reserved for the most powerful of nations,
to any nation, organization, or even to individuals who desire its use. Additionally,
the increasing capabilities of small, micro, and nano-class satellites
have moved them from a realm more suited for university-backed experiments
to an emerging niche with potentially significant military value. Today, nations
can contract with universities not only to build microsats, but also to transfer
the knowledge required to design, develop, and launch them.
The new business model is derived from new technology, lower costs, and a new set of outputoriented metrics. As we move toward the age of the small, the fast, and the
many, it’s time to start applying these precepts to space.
There also is an operational imperative underlying the rapid adoption
of this complementary and broader business model. Done correctly, this new
model, with its flexibility and responsiveness, will ensure America’s space superiority
well into the future. Second, the model can serve as a test bed for the
larger national military space program by allowing the Defense Department to
leverage targeted science and technology investments while enhancing the
professional development of military and industry space talent. So, national security
space capabilities can grow out of this new model, but without the current
problems and risks. Finally, by adopting this co-evolutionary process of
pairing concepts and technologies, change can be influenced immediately.
This model has at its core a generational development and acquisition strategy.
In short, it is within our grasp to create new options in space, a process which itself
can be a very powerful competitive advantage.
Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) is the term used to describe
this new, complementary business model. Rather than teasing operational capabilities
from systems designed and paced for larger national security capabilities,
the full spectrum of critical capabilities are created from the bottom up.
Finally, the model emphasizes short cycle times and accelerated learning,
providing high-speed iterative advancement in operational capabilities.
This new model is closely aligned with Harvard Business School
Professor Clayton Christensen’s Disruptive Innovation Model. The smaller
satellites create what Christensen calls a new value network, in which a firm
establishes a cost structure and operating processes to respond to the needs of
a new class of customers. In the ORS model, the new class of customers is the
operational and tactical commanders. According to Christensen, new-market
disruptions target lower performance in “traditional” attributes, but improved
performance in new areas, and target customers who historically
lacked access to the product (i.e. non-consumption).
The United States, clearly the world’s leader in the use of space, has
abdicated to other nations a role in exploiting these smaller segments of the
overall space industry. As the Department of Defense is at the threshold of
transforming to a network-centric force, using the coherent effects of distributed
military forces and systems to achieve the commander’s intent, the newer,
smaller elements of space capability are part of an emerging new toolset providing
virtually unlimited potential.
tartito da ---gallizio
all'epoca defotografica volitiva