Space Acquisition Forum
Watch Recording

Space Acquisition Forum

Recorded on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 9:00am-11:00am EST   ON24

During the past decade, low-earth-orbit and outer space has transformed from a primarily scientific domain into a critical defense and commercial one with tremendous national security implications. 

The Department of Defense (DOD) has recognized the military necessity to dominate the space domain and has committed significant resources into space technology acquisition to preserve our nation’s space preeminence. 

During GovConWire’s Space Acquisition Forum, distinguished federal and industry leaders will discuss aligning space acquisition goals along with acquisition reform and modernization.

Featuring Brig. Gen. Steve Whitney, Assistant Secretary (Acting), Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition and Integration [SAF/SQ], as keynote speaker. He will address the value of an integrated space architecture and the importance of synchronization and integration for space capabilities. 

Join our event to learn more about how commercial industry can assist the DOD in securing the nation’s future in outer space and beyond.




  • Jason Boitnott
    Jason Boitnott -
    Director, Business Transformation Office, Lockheed Martin Space

    Jason Boitnott is the Director of Business Transformation within the Business, Innovation, Transformation and Enterprise Excellence organization at Lockheed Martin Space. Jason oversees a number of digital initiatives including Enterprise Solutions Architecture, Digital Process Re-Engineering, Model Based Engineering and Intelligent Factory Framework implementation. Prior to this role, Jason was the Space Protection Programs “Go-Fast” portfolio director within the Military Space line of business where he oversaw a number of critical programs in the Space Security Mission Area. An accomplished Program Management executive, Jason has supported Air Force, Navy, Missile Defense Agency, Civil and Commercial domains. Jason is a continuous learner and is fascinated with the intersection of people and technology and its ability to transform our future. Originally from New Philadelphia, OH, Jason served in the US Navy and received his bachelor's degree in Finance from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2001. He also received a master's degree in Systems Engineering from Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in 2007. In 2021, Jason earned a Graduate Certificate in Corporate Innovation through the Stanford University Graduate School of Business Lead, Engage, Accelerate, Disrupt (LEAD) Program. Outside of work Jason enjoys spending time with his family and exploring the mountains of Colorado. He's an avid mountain biker although his list of injuries might suggest he find a new hobby. Jason lives with his wife Becky and daughter Reese in Boulder, CO.

  • Johnathon Caldwell
    Johnathon Caldwell - Panelist
    VP of Business Innovation, Transformation, and Enterprise Excellence, Lockheed Martin Space

    Johnathon Caldwell is the Vice President of Business Innovation Transformation & Enterprise Excellence for Lockheed Martin Space. Mr. Caldwell ensures the business is effectively governing and utilizing information as an asset, guides data analytics and artificial intelligence capabilities, and drives data- related business direction with speed and agility. He is the lead voice for coordinating and communicating data and analytics strategy with senior executives, as well as embedding cultural transformation initiatives across the Space enterprise. He is responsible for creating value and shaping enterprise strategy by applying innovation capabilities to continuously understand, track and predict what our customers value as market trends and competitive landscapes change. Mr. Caldwell serves on the Space Executive Leadership Team and reports directly to Rick Ambrose, Executive Vice President of Space. The Space CIO position is matrixed into Mr. Caldwell and includes value-added affordability, program resiliency for classified and unclassified processes and infrastructure. Previously, Mr. Caldwell served as Vice President of the Navigation Systems mission area within Lockheed Martin’s Military Space line of business. In this role, he was responsible for the company’s advanced Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) mission solutions, including the Global Positioning System III (GPS III) and GPS III Follow On (GPS IIIF) satellites, as well as the GPS Operational Control Segment (OCS) upgrade and GPS Sustainment programs. These evolutionary systems are improving PNT services for civilian and military users, and delivering advanced anti-jam capabilities, yielding superior system security, accuracy and reliability, to our warfighters. Mr. Caldwell’s career includes a series of progressive leadership roles within the Navigation Systems and Overhead Persistent InfraRed (OPIR) mission areas including Program Management, Space Segment Director, and Chief Engineer responsible for the overall GPS III Space Vehicle, as well as roles in Program Management, Payloads, Systems Engineering, and Supply Chain, developing and delivering space and ground systems for the Space Based InfraRed Systems (SBIRS) missile warning missions. As a Guidance Navigation and Controls (GN&C) and Avionics engineer, he supported production and flight operations of Commercial Communications satellites as well as MILSTAR and DSCS protected communications systems and led Independent Research and Development (IRAD) for guidance sensors. Mr. Caldwell holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Colorado (1996). He is a graduate of Lockheed Martin’s Leadership Excellence & Development Program, Program Management Development Program and Executive Development & Growth Enhancement Program, as well as a two-time recipient of the Lockheed Martin Corporate NOVA Award, which recognizes individuals and teams for their exceptional contribution to the company’s mission and business objectives.

  • Laura DeSimone
    Laura DeSimone -
    Executive Director, Missile Defense Agency (MDA)

    Ms. Laura M. DeSimone serves as the Executive Director for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), Office of the Secretary of Defense. She is the senior civilian advisor to the MDA Director on all issues relating to operational and management activities for MDA’s $9B+ per year portfolio. Ms. DeSimone provides oversight, leadership, direction and guidance to ensure the effective organization and integration of all programs and functions required to develop, test and sustain an effective Missile Defense program. She also serves as a key interface to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Services, and the Congress. Ms. DeSimone served from 2014 to October 2020 as the MDA Director for Acquisition, the senior advisor and leader for all aspects of acquisition and contract planning and management for the programs that are integrated into a single Missile Defense System to provide a layered missile defense capability. She held the position of Program Executive for Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) and was responsible for the planning, programming and execution of the design, development, integration, test, deployment, and sustainment of Aegis BMD Programs – a $2B+ per year portfolio, which includes all variants of the Standard Missile-3 and Aegis BMD Weapon System baselines. From 2011-2013, Ms. DeSimone served as Deputy Program Executive, Aegis BMD. Ms. DeSimone was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in 2008. From 2008-2011, Ms. DeSimone served as Executive Director, Naval Ordnance Safety and Security Activity and the Deputy for Weapons Safety, Naval Sea Systems Command. In this position, Ms. DeSimone was the Department of Navy (DON) senior authority on all technical, scientific, and engineering methodologies associated with weapon and explosives safety afloat and ashore. Additionally, Ms. DeSimone was the Chair of the DON Weapon Systems Explosives Safety Review Board, the Navy’s independent oversight for safety compliance of all Navy and Marine Corps military munitions, ordnance items, explosive systems, weapon systems, and combat systems. Previous assignments include Deputy Head, Engagement Systems Department, Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren, Virginia, where she provided leadership and technical direction for 600 scientists, engineers, and technical support personnel; and Head, Test and Evaluation Division, NSWC Dahlgren, where she provided technical direction and management oversight for all explosive test and evaluation operations performed on an extensive complex of land, air, and water test ranges. From 1990 to 2005 she held a variety of engineering and senior program management positions in development and acquisition of Navy and Marine Corps weapon systems. Ms. DeSimone holds a B.S. in physics from Ursinus College and a M.S. in mechanical engineering from Penn State University. Ms. DeSimone is a member of the DoD Acquisition Professional Community and a graduate of both the DoD Executive Leadership Development Program and the Federal Executive Institute’s Leadership in a Democratic Society Program. Ms. DeSimone has been recognized with the Presidential Rank Award (Meritorious), Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service Award, Navy Superior Civilian Service Award, and Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award (two awards).

  • Michael Guetlein
    Lt Gen Michael Guetlein -
    Vice Chief of Space Operations, U.S. Space Force

    Lt. Gen. Michael A. Guetlein is Commander, Space Systems Command, headquartered at Los Angeles Air Force Base, California. He is responsible for approximately 15,000 employees nationwide and an annual budget of $11 billion, managing the research, design, development, acquisition, launch and sustainment of satellites and their associated command and control systems across 20+ geographically dispersed units. His extensive portfolio includes military satellite communication, missile warning, navigation and timing, space-based weather, space launch and test ranges, space superiority, responsive space and other emerging domestic and international evolutionary space programs Lt. Gen. Guetlein was commissioned through the ROTC program at Oklahoma State University in 1991. His acquisition experience spans air and space capabilities and systems across special operations, global power projection, missile warning and detection, and counterspace mission areas. The general has commanded and led at the flight, squadron, division, directorate, Program Executive Officer, and field command levels. Notable assignments include serving as the Director, Remote Sensing Systems; Commander, Rapid Reaction Squadron; the Military Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition; a Secretary of Defense Corporate Fellow; and the Program Executive for Programs and Integration at the Missile Defense Agency. Prior to his current position, Lt. Gen. Guetlein was the Deputy Director, National Reconnaissance Office, Chantilly, Virginia, where he acted as the Senior Advisor to the Director on all military matters, and in managing strategic and tactical operations of the NRO. In this position, he was dual-hatted as the Commander of the Space Force Element, responsible for managing all Air Force personnel and resources assigned to the NRO. EDUCATION 1991 Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Aerospace Engineering, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater 1995 Master of Business Administration, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio 1999 Master of Organizational Management, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. 2002 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala. by correspondence 2004 Marine Command and Staff College, Quantico, Va. by correspondence 2005 Master of National Security & Strategic Studies, Naval War College, Newport Naval Station, R.I. 2006 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala. by correspondence 2011 Secretary of Defense Corporate Fellowship Program, SpaceX, Hawthorne, Calif. ASSIGNMENTS 1. September 1991–September 1993, AC-130U Gunship Support Manager, Special Operations Program Office, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio 2. October 1993–August 1994, Chief, B-2 Bomber Propulsion, B-2 Program Office, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio 3. August 1994–January 1996, Executive Officer, Engineering Directorate, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio 4. January 1996–July 1996, AC-130U Gunship Sortie Generation Flight Commander, 4th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, Hurlburt Field, Fla. 5. July 1996–July 1997, AC-130H Gunship Flight Commander, 16th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, Hurlburt Field, Fla. 6. July 1997–June 1999, Air Force Intern, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va. 7. June 1999–March 2002, Deputy Program Manager, Space-Based Infrared System Ground Segment, Los Angeles AFB, Calif. 8. March 2002–March 2003, Director, Missile Warning Systems, Los Angeles AFB, Calif. 9. March 2003–June 2004, Executive Officer, Los Angeles AFB, Calif. 10. June 2004–June 2005, Student, Naval War College, Newport Naval Station, R.I. 11. June 2005–December 2006, Counterspace Program Element Monitor, HAF, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va. 12. December 2006–June 2008, Military Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, HAF, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va. 13. June 2008–July 2010, Commander, Rapid Reaction Squadron, Peterson AFB, Colo. 14. July 2010–June 2011, Secretary of Defense Corporate Fellow, Space Exploration Enterprises, Los Angeles, Calif. 15. June 2011–August 2014, Senior Materiel Leader, Space-Based Infrared System Production Division, Los Angeles AFB, Calif. 16. September 2014–April 2017, Program Director, Remote Sensing Systems Directorate, Los Angeles AFB, Calif. 17. April 2017–June 2019, Program Executive for Programs and Integration, Missile Defense Agency, Redstone Arsenal, Ala. 18. July 2019–July 2021, Deputy Director and Air Force Element Commander, National Reconnaissance Office, Chantilly, Va. 19. August 2021–present, Commander, Space Systems Command, Los Angeles AFB, Calif. SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS 1. April 2017–June 2019, Program Executive for Programs and Integration, Missile Defense Agency, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., as a brigadier general MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS Defense Distinguished Service Medal Defense Superior Service Medal Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster Meritorious Service Medal with silver oak leaf cluster Air and Space Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters Air and Space Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION Second Lieutenant May 11, 1991 First Lieutenant July 20, 1993 Captain July 20, 1995 Major June 1, 2002 Lieutenant Colonel March 1, 2006 Colonel Oct. 1, 2010 Brigadier General July 22, 2016 Major General Sept. 24, 2019 Lieutenant General Aug. 13, 2021

  • Jeremy Raley
    COL Jeremy Raley -
    Director, Strategic Capabilities Group, Space Rapid Capabilities Office

    Colonel Jeremy Raley is the Director of the Strategic Capabilities Group within the Space Rapid Capabilities Office at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. He oversees space- based research, development and acquisition activities for classified space acquisition programs assigned to the Space RCO and executed by the Strategic Capabilities Group. He is responsible for a robust portfolio of major acquisition programs providing critical space capabilities that strategically enhance the Nation’s warfighting capabilities and dominance in the space domain. He leads military, civilian, and contractor personnel managing multiple space acquisition programs. These programs answer high-priority needs validated by United States Space Command and assigned to the Space Rapid Capabilities Office by their Board of Directors. His focus is to hasten the acquisition process in order to field first-generation operational systems in a way that allows transition to traditional system program offices for enduring capabilities. Colonel Raley received his commission in 1997 from the United States Air Force Academy. He started his career as a communications officer and transitioned into the developmental engineering career field after his graduate education. He has held a variety of positions in research and development as well as program management. Prior to his current position, Colonel Raley was a division chief within the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate. While there, he was mission director for three spacecraft and led research enabling the next generation of space domain awareness, military satellite communication, missile warning, and position, navigation, and timing.

  • David Ray
    David Ray -
    EVP, Space and Intelligence, SAIC

    David Ray is senior vice president and lead for the Space Business Unit within the National Security & Space Sector for SAIC. In this role, he is responsible for leading the $1.3 billion Space Business Unit with customers spanning the intelligence, defense, and federal/civil agencies. Ray joined SAIC in 2021 with a wealth of experience in both managing and growing large technology businesses that serve government customers around the world. Prior to his current position, Ray served as president of the Government and Defense Business Unit at FLIR Systems, Inc. where was responsible for leading all aspects of the $900 million business unit, including strategy, research and development, operations, business development, and marketing. Ray has held several leadership roles in general management and business development at Raytheon Company from 2002 to 2017. His most recent role with the company was as vice president, Global Business Development and Strategy for the company's $6 billion Intelligence, Information, and Services Segment, serving intelligence, Department of Defense, federal/civilian agencies, and international customer markets. He also previously served in many leadership positions of increasing authority for Raytheon Missile Systems (RMS) and Space & Airborne Systems (SAS) businesses during his 16- year tenure with Raytheon. Prior to this, he began his career as a senior management consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton. Ray received a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from the U.S. Air Force Academy and served five years in the Air Force at Andrews Air Force Base and the Pentagon where he led teams responsible for communications-related projects designed to support senior members of the government and military. He also earned a Master of Science degree in systems management and strategy from Central Michigan University.

  • Derek Tournear
    Dr. Derek Tournear -
    Director, Space Development Agency (SDA)

    Dr. Derek Tournear is the Director of the Space Development Agency (SDA). Established in March 2019, SDA is recognized as the Department of Defense's constructive disruptor for space acquisition. SDA will quickly deliver much needed space-based capabilities to the joint warfighter to support terrestrial missions through development, fielding, and operation of the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture. Before leading SDA, Dr. Tournear most recently served as Assistant Director of Research and Development for Space within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering where he was responsible for coordinating all DoD efforts in space and initiating programs to address critical gaps. Dr. Tournear previously held leadership roles in industry, most recently the director for Harris Corporation Space & Intelligence research & development. Prior to industry, Dr. Tournear held program management positions at the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). He has professional experience at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) managing intelligence and defense programs. Dr. Tournear has a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University and a B.S. from Purdue University. In 2010 he received an Outstanding Alumnus award from Purdue University and a 2008 DARPA award for Outstanding Accomplishments in a Systems Technology Area. Dr. Tournear is a 2011, and 2020 recipient of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service, and a 2012 recipient of the Office of Director of National Intelligence Award for Exceptional Public Service. Additionally, Dr. Tournear is the recipient of a 2021 Space News award, 2021 Theodore Roosevelt Government Leadership award, 2021 Wash 100 award, as well as the 2022 Aviation Week Laureate. He was selected for the Senior Executive Service in 2019.

  • Brig. Gen. Steve Whitney
    Brig. Gen. Steve Whitney -
    Military Deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition and Integration (SAF/SQ), U.S. Air Force

    Brig. Gen. Steve Whitney is the Military Deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition and Integration, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, the Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia. He is responsible for research and development, test, production, product support and modernization of Space Force programs worth more than $15 billion annually. His responsibilities include crafting program strategies and options for representing Department of the Air Force positions to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Congress and the White House. Brig. Gen. Whitney graduated in 1992 from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and completed the university’s Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program as a distinguished graduate. Through the years, he has served in a wide variety of space system acquisition and operations leadership positions within the Air Force, Joint Staff, Office of the Secretary of Defense, and National Reconnaissance Office. Prior to his current position, Brig. Gen. Whitney’s assignments included serving as a Crew Commander, Spacecraft Engineer, Senior Flight Commander, Program Element Monitor, Director of Engineering, Squadron Commander, Senior Materiel Leader, Program Director and Program Executive Officer.

  • 9:00am - 9:05am EST

    Opening Remarks

  • 9:05am - 9:40am EST

    Opening Keynote

  • 9:40am - 10:40am EST

    Panel Discussion

  • 10:40am - 11:10am EST


  • 11:10am - 11:15am EST

    Closing Comments

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