By Marjorie Censer
The Washington Post
February 3, 2013
Top executives at several commercial satellite firms have banded together to push the Pentagon to do a better job of buying their services.
The letter, signed by Tip Osterthaler of McLean-based SES Government Solutions,Philip Harlow of Herndon-based XTAR and Kay Sears of Bethesda-based Intelsat General, among others, calls for the Defense Department to take a more analytical approach to comparing the costs of government-owned satellites with those operated by commercial providers.
Among its other recommendations are that the Pentagon figure out what level of commercial satellite communications infrastructure it needs and budget for it, and that the Defense Department use a single office to handle commercial and military satellite capabilities.
Osterthaler said the budget pressures should encourage officials to reconsider what they’re spending on government-owned satellites and whether they could save money with commercial versions.
“I think the timing is exactly right,” he said. It’s not every day rival firms speak as one. “We’re still very competitive,” Richard DalBello, vice president of legal and government affairs for Intelsat General, said during a group interview last week. “But we’ve seen the value in occasionally getting together.”