EASE-ing Congressional Budgetary Concerns

Air Force Undersecretary Erin Conaton made her first public pitch to Congress on the space-acquisition strategy that the service would like to implement in Fiscal 2012, if lawmakers go along. The aim of Evolutionary Acquisition for Space Efficiency, or EASE, is to purchase satellites in blocks, using fixed-price contracts and funding spread over multiple years in order to ease pressure on the service’s space budget and stabilize the space industrial base, she told the House Armed Services Committee’s strategic forces panel Tuesday. “We’re confident this approach will result in a better price to the taxpayer and provide greater stability and predictability for our country’s space industrial base,” she said. Senior service officials expect to save at least 10 percent off the hefty price tag of new satellites with EASE. “The Air Force’s intent is to put forward a request for full funding through advanced appropriations,” she explained. She continued, “The idea is to give you greater confidence on what [a satellite] will cost over time by locking in funding over the course of the future years defense program at the outset.” (Conaton prepared testimony) (See also Space Acquisition with EASE)