Home >> May 2012 Edition >> COMMAND CENTER: General Thomas S. Moorman Jr., U.S.A.F. (Retired)
COMMAND CENTER: General Thomas S. Moorman Jr., U.S.A.F. (Retired)
Vice Chairman, Board of Trustees, The Aerospace Corporation

Thomas S. Moorman Jr. retired as a partner with the international management and technology consulting firm, Booz Allen Hamilton, on 1 March 2008. During his nearly ten year career with Booz Allen, he was responsible for the Firm’s Air Force and National Aeronautics and Space Administration business. He also established and led the Space Campaign which coordinated the Firm’s business activities across all of the Nation’s space sectors (military, intelligence, civil and commercial).

MoormanFig1 In October 1987, General Moorman became Director of Space and Strategic Defense Initiative Programs in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition at the Pentagon. There he provided program management direction for the development and procurement of Air Force surveillance, communications, navigation and weather satellites, space launch vehicles, anti-satellite weapons, ground-based and airborne strategic radars, communications and space command centers.

Prior to joining Booz Allen, General Moorman served as the Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force. In this capacity, he oversaw and managed the day to day activities of the Air Staff in the Pentagon, chaired the Air Force’s top management group, the Air Force Council and was the Air Force representative to a number of joint and interagency organizations including the Joint Resources Oversight Committee (JROC) and the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). General Moorman also chaired the Air Force Board of Directors charged with developing the Air Force’s strategic vision for the 21st century.

From March 1990 to July 1994, General Moorman served as Commander and Vice Commander of Air Force Space Command. In these positions, General Moorman was responsible for the operation of the Air Force space systems: ground base radar and missile warning satellites; the Nation’s military space launch centers; the worldwide network of space surveillance radars and the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) force. As Commander, General Moorman provided space support to coalition forces during Desert Shield/Desert Storm.

Other assignments during General Moorman’s career include service as the Director of the National Reconnaissance Office staff, positions in aircraft reconnaissance and intelligence units, and at Air Force Space Command where he was deeply involved in the planning for the creation and initial standup of the Command.

General Moorman’s military awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster and the Legion of Merit with one oak leaf cluster. He has also been recognized by the Intelligence Community with the award of the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Director’s Award and two awards of the National Reconnaissance Office Gold Medal.

General Moorman has received numerous awards for contributions to the Nation’s and Air Force space programs including the Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy, the General Thomas D. White Space Trophy, the American Astronautical Society’s Astronautics Award and the United States Space Foundation Space Achievement Award. In 2004, he was selected by Space News as one of the top ten contributors to the Nation’s space program over the past fifteen years.

MoormanFig2 He has served on numerous Government advisory boards and studies to include the Congressionally- directed Space Commission to examine the organization and management of national security space activities. Additionally, he has served on a number of space related studies and task forces on behalf of the Defense Department, the Intelligence Community and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

General Moorman is Director Emeritus of the Board of the Space Foundation, a Trustee of the Falcon Foundation, a member of the Air Force Association’s Forces Capability Committee, a member of the U.S. Strategic Command, Strategic Advisory Group, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Cosmos Club. He is also the Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Aerospace Corporation, is an Outside Director of the Board of Smith’s Detection and Smith’s Interconnect, an Outside Director of Elbit Systems of America, a former Director of the Board of Directors of Integral Systems, Incorporated and a Senior Executive Advisor to Booz Allen Hamilton.

General Moorman received a Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College, a Masters in Business Administration from Western New England College and a Masters in Political Science from Auburn University. He has also been awarded two honorary degrees—a Doctorate in Management from Colorado Tech and a Doctor of Laws from Clemson University.

MilsatMagazine (MSM)
General Moorman, given your outstanding career in both the military and civilian worlds, how do you see the USAF dealing with the severe budget cuts that are being proposed in the new budget? How will these reductions affect command and control functions of crucial structures of Air Force Space Command?

MoormanFig3 Thomas Moorman, Jr.
As you pointed out, these are difficult budgetary times requiring tough decisions and tradeoffs. In response to the Nation’s ever increasing debt, the Congress passed the Budget Control Act which directed a reduction of $487B in defense spending over the next 10 years. Accordingly, the Air Force’s budget submission for FY 13 is $110 B which represents a decrease of 4.4 percent over FY 12.

From what I have read in official Air Force statements and from following the USAF leadership’s testimony on the Hill to date, the FY 13 budget submission is aligned with the President’s new Strategic Defense Guidance and with cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act. As always, the Air Force seeks to balance force structure, readiness and modernization. I understand the approach for FY 13 is to trade size for quality. Thus, the Air Force will continue to modernize and grow more capable. Modernization like the long range bomber, the tanker, and new/upgraded space capabilities is protected. The Air Force will continue to buy the F-35 fighter in FY 13, but in fewer numbers.

Going into any more details on the background of the budget submission runs the risk of taking all the time you have for this interview. Suffice to say, aircraft numbers are cut, about 10,000 people from across the force are reduced and the USAF identified several billion in efficiencies.

MoormanFig4 As for space, there is a reduction from last year’s space budget. This cut is enabled by several factors. The Air Force’s unprecedented space modernization has largely transitioned from development to production; the budget does not include a buy of Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite in FY 13; the Congress terminated the Defense Weather Satellite System (DWSS) and there were some hard decisions made such as the cancellation of the Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) program.

Let me say a few more words about the on-going and unprecedented Air Force space modernization program. Over the last 15 years or so, the Air Force has modernized virtually the entire inventory of satellite and launch systems. The result is a tremendous increase in quality and quantity. For example, the Air Force is now flying a new warning satellite (the Space Based Infrared System); two new communications satellites (the Advanced EHF satellite and the WGS) and have significantly upgraded GPS-with the GPS II F. Incidentally, to give you an example of increased capability inherent in these new satellites is the fact that one WGS satellite provides as much bandwidth as the entire Defense Communications Satellite System (DCSS) constellation. The only space mission area that is not being modernized is weather and environmental monitoring. As mentioned, the DWSS was cancelled by the Congress.

You asked about space command and control. Of course, the Air Force’s space modernization includes upgrades to satellite ground stations. However, I want to highlight a space C2 program. The Joint Space Operations Center (JSPOC), at Vandenberg AFB is the military’s command and control center for space. It is also the place where the status of space systems are monitored. Additionally, the JSPOC maintains the space catalogue (all objects in space). While the JSPOC has been operational since the early 1990s, to a great extent, it has been a manpower-intensive operation. The JSPOC Modernization System (JMS) is the replacement program. Last year, the program was restructured to lower costs and to incrementally deliver upgrades. The IOC for the first increment is later this year. JMS is sorely needed to better deal with challenges of a more crowded space environment, a greater variety of threats and the compressed decision timelines. From my perspective, this program is one of the most crucial modernization efforts in the Air Force budget.

Could you tell us how satellites and MILSATCOM aided our forces during Desert Shield and Desert Storm?

comtech_ad_MSM0512 Thomas Moorman, Jr.
As many of your readers know, Desert Shield/Desert Storm were a watershed events in the evolution of space in support of military operations. Although space systems have supported our warfighters in conflicts dating back to the Vietnam war — where first generation MILSATCOM and weather data from early DMSP satellites were used—Desert Storm was the first time that the full range of national security space systems were brought to bear in support of our warfighters.

For example, the Defense Support Program, missile warning system, provided warning of Scud missile launches to our troops in the field to include Patriot batteries. The DMSP weather satellites provided synoptic weather coverage of the theater for air, ground and naval operations. These satellites also provided accurate data regarding the moisture content of the soil to our mechanized ground forces to enable trafficability analysis. GPS really came into its own during Desert Storm. Despite the fact that the GPS on-orbit operational constellation was not fully populated, the system supported the initial strikes against Iraqi early warning radars that kicked off the war. With regard to supporting ground forces, GPS was one of the enablers of the “left hook” offensive over the barren terrain of western Iraq which totally caught the Iraqi forces off guard.

Your question specifically asked about COMSATs. Military and commercial satellites did yeoman’s work in Desert Shield in providing warning of Scud launches. The raw DSP data traveled over communications satellites to ground sites and command centers and then the warning data was sent back to the theater over COMSATs in time to alert our forces and specifically to give Patriot batteries critical azimuthal and timing data to engage the Scuds. The overwhelming majority of intra-theater communications traveled over COMSATS. We were heavily dependent on commercial COMSATs- in fact it is estimated that 80 percent of the war’s communications traveled on commercial COMSATs.

To a very real extent, our warfighters discovered space in the course of Desert Storm. They saw the force multiplying and enabling effects of space in support of modern warfare. A very real and longer term consequence of Desert Storm was that subsequently the warfighter began to demand a greater say in the requirements process for evolving and new space capabilities.

In many respects, Desert Shield/Storm was a time of learning on the fly. This learning has continued at an accelerated pace due, in no small part, to the fact that the Nation’s military has been at war for most of the last twenty years and, as such, our forces today understand space, and as a consequence, our space capabilities are integrated into all military operations. We still have a ways to go in the integration of data and in responding to ever diminishing timelines, but the progress since Desert Storm has been dramatic.

MoormanFig5 MSM
Your thoughts, please, on how the military can take advantage of hosted payloads to save both time and costs. With your experience in space launch vehicles, while you were director of Space and Strategic Defense Initiative Programs in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, how do you see such working out for both sides of the equation, and what hurdles need to be overcome for such to succeed?

Thomas Moorman, Jr.
I am very bullish on hosted payloads as I think it is a concept and capability whose time has come. When I was growing up in the space business, hosted payloads (with some exceptions) were generally not in favor because of real estate, power, weight and interference issues. Those that did fly were niche capabilities. However, with the march of technology, potential hosted payloads are now smaller, fairly capable, and generally can be made to be more easily integratable with a host satellite.

I think that the launch of CHIRP (which stands for Commercially Hosted Infrared Payload) on a commercial COMSAT SES 2, was a breakthrough. It is currently on orbit providing useful infrared data. I hasten to add that is a pathfinder or proof of concept, but it is providing a lot of lessons learned. Today the mindset on hosting payloads is changing. The Government is now looking at “hostability technologies” which will allow hosted payloads to be more agile and compatible. These payloads can be designed to be integrated more smoothly thus, taking advantage of available rides without disrupting the launch schedule of the host.

Turning to space launch. On the operational side, the Air Force’s stewardship of this mission has been outstanding. At this writing, I think the Air Force has had 75 successful launches and 24 have been the new generation, evolved expendable launch vehicles. This is a really extraordinary record—knock on wood.

Having said that, launching satellites continues to be a very expensive proposition. Accordingly, the Air Force is seeking to draw down the cost by a variety of ways. The objective is to achieve a balance of achieving a less expensive launch while at the same time not jeopardizing mission success. One of ways the Air Force is reducing cost is buying launches in blocks at a fixed cost. This has the advantage of introducing predictability and stability to the launch process. It also allows the Government to achieve economies of scale. The Air Force also is trying to stimulate competition in the launch market. There are several new entrants (such as Space X, Orbital Systems, and ATK) seeking to break into the government launch business. These new players are proposing less expensive launch systems based upon commercial acquisition launch practices. This last Fall, the Air Force, NASA and the NRO collaborated to develop a New Entrants Strategy and a New Entrants Certification Guide. These two documents provide guidance to the new entrants on how to get into the Government launch business and define how the Government will certify these new systems. In essence, the documents provide a roadmap on how these new entrants can compete in the Government market. Because this is a “one strike and you’re out” business, the Government is very risk adverse. Hence, initially the opportunity for the entrants at first will be to compete for lower risk payloads. I think the cost reduction steps through fixed price block buys and the outreach to new entrants are very positive steps towards achieving lower cost rides to space while at the same time not taking our eyes off of mission assurance and success.

MoormanFig6 MSM
Will we see the military becoming more and more involved in the use of small satellites to assist in ISR and other intelligence functions?

Thomas Moorman, Jr.
As many of your readers undoubtedly know, the Defense Department has been looking at the utility of small satellites to help address a number of very real issues. These issues range from improving the responsiveness of space systems, to lowering cost of satellites and launches to increasing space system’s resiliency, and, thus enhancing survivability.

There are a number of small satellite programs of all sizes—let me highlight one program. A few years ago, the Congress directed the Air Force to establish an Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) office, which they did. Last June, ORS-1 was launched from Wallops Island, a NASA facility, aboard a Minotaur rocket. U.S. Central Command, the sponsor of ORS-1, began using the imagery in a month or so after launch. As mentioned, I understand that the Air Force FY 13 budget submission cancels the ORS program. While on the surface that might imply that the Air Force is walking away from small satellites, frankly, I don’t see it quite that way.

I think the Air Force learned a great deal about how to achieve responsiveness from the ORS program and also did some fine work on essential technologies such common interfaces for satellites and satellite buses. This knowledge won’t be lost as I think the people and technologies are intended to transferred to the development planning shop at the Space and Missiles Systems Center in LA.

Earlier, we discussed hosted payloads. To my way of thinking, hosted payloads are small satellites, only they are not free flyers. Hosted payloads are another way of dealing with responsiveness, cost and resilience issues.

MoormanFig7 MSM
With various foreign entities developing weapons designed for satellite destruction are we moving into better technologies to both prevent our satellites from being attacked?

Thomas Moorman, Jr.
Last year, the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence signed a National Security Space Strategy. The purpose of this document was to provide the strategic guidance to the Defense Department and Intelligence Community in implementing the President’s National Space Policy. The new strategy describes a space environment that is congested, contested and competitive.

There are about 22,000 objects in space most of which are debris. Of that number, about 1,100 are active systems. So space is clearly increasingly congested.

China launched a direct ascent ASAT in 2007 and Iran has demonstrated the capability to jam satellites. These are two examples which underscore that space is increasingly contested.

Space is also competitive, as there are more than 60 nations and consortia operating satellites. Moreover, the US share of the space market has declined markedly over the last 10-15 years.

Dealing with the first two Cs—congested and competitive—begins with a need to understand what’s in space and what’s going on in space. Those tasks basically describe what has come to be known as Space Situational Awareness (SSA). SSA is the foundation for space operations. The United States has long operated and maintained space surveillance capabilities, but there is no doubt that we need to improve our SSA. This need has been recognized for some time. In fact, because of our country’s dependency on space and our vulnerability, the Space Commission, in 2000, identified SSA as a top priority for space modernization.

MoormanFig8 Accordingly, the Air Force is funding a number of SSA modernization programs which will dramatically improve SSA. One of which is the Space Based Surveillance System (SBSS) which is designed to provide high accuracy surveillance of the geosynchronous belt as well as surveilling objects in lower orbits. The first SBSS has been launched and is undergoing check out. When operational, it will provide enormous increases in volume and accuracy.

The Ground-based Electro Optical Deep Space Surveillance System (GEODSS) that has been deployed for around 30+ years is being upgraded. The Air Force budget submission also includes funds for the development and deployment of a Space Fence which initially will consist of one site with an expectation of another in the Pacific in the out years. Using S-band radars, the Fence will be used primarily to detect, track and measure objects, primarily in low orbit.

Another capability which will contribute to SSA are the upgraded early warning radars that provide missile warning and missile defense against ballistic missile threats, but will also provide improvements in space object tracking.

As pointed out in an earlier question, all these system improvements will result in tremendous increases in data which has profound implications for the design of the joint space C2 capability. The design of the JMS program ultimately has to be able to fuse and correlate these disparate and high capacity data sources.

All the above examples deal basically with technology/equipment upgrades. There is also a need to work the resiliency of our space systems. Fortunately, there is a lot of work underway regarding more distributed architectures. The hosted payload initiatives are an important component of achieving resiliency through proliferated architectures.

Noting your successes in the commercial world with Booz Allen Hamilton and their Air Force and National Aeronautics and Space Administration business, how did you manage your transition from being a general officer and directing military operations and staffs to that of becoming an important Partner in the business world? What were the most challenging changes for you?

Thomas Moorman, Jr.

Let me lead into the question on challenges by saying a few words on transitioning from the public to the private sector. After I retired from the Air Force in the summer of 1997, I spent several months in deciding what I wanted to do for my second career, and in developing an idea of the attributes of a company that would match my goals. Incidentally, I also sought counsel from those who I thought had managed the transition from the Government to industry well. Ultimately, I chose Booz Allen and it turned out to be a good choice for me as I had an enjoyable and rewarding time there.

MoormanFig8 As for challenges on making the transition to industry, let me highlight three.

I guess first was learning how to handle the frustration that comes with going from being highly knowledgeable in an organization, the Air Force, to being the new guy. As I grew up in an Air Force family and then spent 35 years on active duty, over time, I felt I instinctively understood the culture, values, and organizational dynamics of the Air Force. I think I had a good feel for why things happened and how things got done. This allowed me the comfort of being able to anticipate things. Over the course of the first year at Booz Allen, a great many things were new and I was impatient with my learning curve. Fortunately, I had superb mentors and bosses who were tolerant of my incessant questioning about the business processes and relationships.

The second challenge was getting used to all the implications of profit and loss and managing the bottom line. You see, in my view, and this is probably a gross oversimplification, but the military operates to a budget while industry is cost oriented. The military, by and large, and understandably, is effectiveness oriented while the industry is efficiency oriented. I don’t mean to imply that the military is not concerned with efficiencies or that industry is not concerned with effectiveness. Rather, I am talking about organizational orientation and to be sure the metrics are different. I managed a P/L center—the Firm’s Air Force and NASA business—and learning the ins-and-outs of the consulting world took some time. Having said that, building a business and developing people to sustain that business was extremely satisfying.

Finally, coming out of the Air Force, one could say that I was administratively challenged. Over the years, I had grown used to the support of fairly large staffs and hence I had grown lazy especially in developing computer skills. At Booz Allen, I had a direct staff of one—that is one person who was dedicated to working my problem—my Administrative Assistant. All others were expected to be on a consulting assignment, or training or developing business. While I was not unaccustomed to long hours, initially I spent more time on certain tasks than necessary. The nature of this challenge probably is generational and certainly is not as big of an issue for those individuals transitioning today.

Looking back over your successful career, what projects truly bring a sense of accomplishment to you?

Thomas Moorman, Jr.
That is a multi-faceted answer as I have had a long career— coming up on 50 years. If I may, let me begin this answer with some general comments.

First of all, I was privileged to have been part of three very fine organizations­—the Air Force, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and Booz Allen Hamilton. With respect to my military career, I feel privileged to have been involved in the evolution of both the military and intelligence space programs and as such, have seen the tremendous progress in terms of technical capabilities as well as the dramatic growth in both the utility of these marvelous systems. Further, I have also seen an extraordinary increase in our Nation’s and especially our military’s dependency on the data from satellites. It has also been a real pleasure to see the evolution in maturity of the Air Force and the NRO space organizations.

MoormanFig9 I must also say that I am enormously proud of the people that I worked with in the Air Force and the NRO. Getting a chance to work with such a talented, dedicated and smart workforce has been one of the real highlights of my career. Also I must admit that I am especially proud to see the people that I knew as young officers and civilians ascend to leadership roles in the Air Force and the NRO.

More specifically, I guess one of the highlights of my career would have to be being intimately involved in the early stages of the planning for the establishment of Air Force Space Command in the late 70s and early 80s. Then about a decade later, I returned to command that organization during a formative and eventful period, which included such an historical event as Desert Shield /Desert Storm. That was an exciting and fulfilling time and also a very real learning experience. In some ways, the Air force Space Command’s focused support to this war underscored the value proposition of why the command was created.

I also spent about 11 years in the space reconnaissance business, and my time in the NRO was very satisfying. Being a part of that elite organization with an absolutely vital mission was an honor and privilege. The intelligence that the NRO collected was critical to our understanding of the threat, to the maintenance of treaties and was a crucial component of our deterrence posture during the Cold War.

As for my time in Booz Allen, here I would like to get away from using the first person singular. We built a team of high performing professionals who helped our clients deal with tough problems such as strategic planning, high profile programmatic trades, the health of space industrial base, growing a systems engineering and integration capability and developing methodologies and tools to understand why certain acquisition programs falter to name a few.

MoormanFig11 * * * * * * * * *

Space Foundation’s Most Prestigious Award Presented to General Moorman at the 28th National Space Symposium

Gen. Thomas S. Moorman, Jr., USAF, Ret., former vice chief of staff of the Air Force was presented with the Space Foundation’s highest honor, the General James E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award, at a special luncheon that was sponsored by Raytheon on April 18, 2012, at the 28th National Space Symposium at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Named for the Space Foundation’s former, long-time chairman, the General James E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award is one of the global space community’s highest honors; past recipients have included Norman Augustine, Gen. Bernard Schriever, Buzz Aldrin, Peter Teets, Dr. Hans Mark and E.C. “Pete” Aldridge, among others.

The annual Space Foundation National Space Symposium brings together all sectors of space to highlight accomplishments and address opportunities and issues facing the global space community today.