‘Hacking the 5000’ – SMC/SY Space C2 wins the ‘Tailored 5000’ Award

  • Published
  • By Lina Satele, SMC Public Affairs

Air Force Space and Missile System Center’s Space Superiority Systems Directorate (SY) was recently recognized by Dr. Will Roper, the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics with the Tailored “5000” Award that recognizes a program office or team who excel at using different processes to increase the speed of acquisition.

The SY’s Space Command and Control (Space C2) team was presented the award in a ceremony held in Washington D.C., March 4, 2019. 

The team was evaluated on how much they took advantage of modifying options in specific ways to enhance the flow of a program strategy from start to finish. Air Force leadership also assessed the team on how these changes would specifically affect production and systems improvement. 

Through the team’s efforts, the program now operates under more streamlined guidelines and reporting requirements. 

Dr. Roper stated in his remarks during the award ceremony that he is very proud of the workforce who are taking the risks in revamping the way things are done, which cuts through the bureaucracy of the past.

“I wanted to have an award for our 5000 programs that are going back through, challenging their acquisition strategy and stealing time for our warfighters. The fear of failure was not greater than the need to go fast and try things. For those of you who have ‘Tailored 5000’ your programs, thank you and keep doing it,” said Roper.


The team received a certificate and a small plaque that has a spent .50 caliber round canister mounted on its front to signify the importance of “taking the shot.” The award is granted to teams that exemplified the meaning and spirit of rapid acquisition – a model in which SMC has adopted as the new and improved framework for space acquisitions. 

The SY Space C2 team’s accomplishments is an example of how SMC’s transformation to the new “SMC 2.0” approach has enhanced collaboration and decision making by optimizing resource allocation and alignment, developing a more innovative workforce under a new enterprise focus. 

“SMC has embarked on a bold transformation to improve how we deliver resilient, war-winning space capabilities faster,” said Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, SMC commander and Air Force Program Executive Officer for Space. “With the re-architecting effort, SMC began implementing rapid acquisition tools and embodying the aspirations of Enterprise, Partnership, Innovation, Culture, and Speed (EPIC Speed). We will enhance existing partnerships and seek new opportunities with DoD agencies, other national space entities and our industry partners, to drive and deliver war-winning capabilities to our warfighters.”

To help win the award, the SY Space C2 team proposed a novel strategy to radically tailor the DoD Acquisition System with a new acquisition process specifically geared for major agile software programs.

This new proposed process outlines how the DoD should oversee software programs utilizing industry-proven Development Operations (DevOps) approach versus the DoD’s traditional “waterfall” method, which largely has proved unsuccessful for managing large, complex software programs. Under this DevOps approach, all major parties, to include developers, testers and operators, work together continuously, on frequent deliveries of new capability increments, communally assessing system status and way ahead. 

DevOps enables faster development, improved operational support, and improved customer experience capabilities.  Their model also reduces reporting to a single, quarterly document, eliminating traditional milestones and reviews, shifting focus on delivering capability in short program increments.  Their goal is to develop a DevOps pipeline to synchronize, develop and rapidly deploy operationally viable capabilities to the warfighters with game changing Space C2 tools and applications. 

“The new Space C2 software factory, dubbed ‘Kobayashi Maru,’ already delivered capabilities to the warfighter through two 90-day Program Increments, and is working on a third increment to help ‘protect and defend’ U.S. space missions. This is exactly what EPIC Speed is all about,” said Col. Stephen Purdy, Director of the Space Superiority Systems Directorate. “Congratulations to the Space C2 team for this awesome achievement and for showing us how to ‘Hack the 5000’!”

“The most important thing that we can do as leaders is to equip people to go even faster, to give them more authority than they have today, and let them do their jobs better and trust that they will find new levels of excellence,” said Roper.


Located at Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, SMC is the U.S. Air Force's center of excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems.  Its portfolio includes space launch, global positioning, military space vehicle communications, defense meteorological space vehicles, range systems, space vehicle control networks, space-based infrared systems and space situational awareness capabilities.

For more information on the Space C2 and the Space Superiority Systems Directorate, submit questions by sending an e-mail to smcpa.media@us.af.mil.