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Third Generation Infrared Program Team Wins Af Space Command’s Agile Acquisition Transformation Leadership Award

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE -- The Space and Missile System Center's Alternative Infrared Space Systems (AIRSS)/Third Generation Infrared Surveillance (3GIRS) team has won the Air Force Space Command's Agile Acquisition Transformation Leadership Award for 2007. The Agile Acquisition Transformation Leadership Award recognizes the application of the "Back to Basics" approach in an effort to mature and integrate technologies and acknowledges skill in acquisition program management and leadership bringing about acquisition process transformation.

"Key to our program's success is remembering lessons of yesteryear." said Col. Scott Larrimore, 3GIRS System Program Director. "We incubate technology outside of a traditional Program Office in a competitive developmental environment. With these matured technologies, risk to formal acquisitions should be greatly reduced."

The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD)/Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technologies and Logistics (AT&L) directed Alternative Infrared Space System (AIRSS) program be replanned from acting as insurance against further difficulties with the Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) GEO satellites to becoming a low risk and affordable follow-on to SBIRS. The program was renamed the Third Generation Infrared Surveillance (3GIRS) to reflect this replan in August of 2007.

Within the year, the AIRSS/3GIRS team executed a landmark 180-day study with comprehensive collaboration across 11 government organizations and 9 industry partners. This team established requirements for the SBIRS follow-on next generation system, developed conceptual space and ground designs, and provided a roadmap for system architecture.

The team also implemented an innovative acquisition strategy for risk reduction and focused on key technology maturation efforts to shorten the development time. The Integrated Test Bed (ITB) program was implemented to help stimulate industry Internal Research and Development (IRAD) activities by identifying key enabling technologies which increase performance of the system.

"The real test of success is whether you can place an effort on contract quickly and deliver hardware within cost and on schedule," said Col. Richard White, Director of Development Plans. "And the AIRSS team has delivered!"

The Space and Missile Systems Center, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the U.S. Air Force's center of acquisition excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems including six wings and three groups responsible for GPS, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control network, space based infrared systems, intercontinental ballistic missile systems and space situational awareness capabilities. SMC manages more than $60 billion in contracts, executes annual budgets of $10 billion and employs more than 6,800 people worldwide.