Command Center: Andy Beegan
CTO + Sr. V.P., Segovia, Inc.
In his current role, Mr. Beegan is responsible for Segovia Core Engineering, Network Operations, and Solutions Delivery. He has commercial and government experience in engineering management, strategy, business development, satellite RF and IP network design, and program management. Mr. Beegan joined Segovia in its infancy and has played an integral role in the companys network design, product development, and government contracting activities.
Mr. Beegan returned to the Segovia team from Booz Allen Hamilton where he supported satellite-related projects for multiple U.S. government agencies. Prior to Segovia, Mr. Beegan served as a Senior Satellite Applications Engineer for PanAmSat (now Intelsat).
Mr. Beegan has a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Science degree, also in electrical engineering, from Virginia Tech. In addition, Mr. Beegan has an MBA from the University of Maryland Smith School of Business.
Good day, Mr. Beegan. You have been professionally involved in our industry for many years. What do you see as among the most significant advances for our industry over the past couple of years in the commercial and military/government segments?
Historically, government acquisition was focused on the space segment of the solution. Segovias customers understand that satellite, terrestrial, and other managed components should be purchased as a bundle. They get a greater level of service from the providers, and delivery of service is much more cost-effective.
Over the past few years, what we have seen is government changing its approach to contracting to match with the right solution. They understand that increasingly the right solution for their needs is a managed service. Their acquisition approach is beginning to align with that. We see that in particular with the Future COMSATCOM Services Acquisition (FCSA).
Segovia is front and center with whats described under FCSA, and in a position to deliver the same types of services with the government having an easier path to get these services than it has had in the past.
What is Segovias charter and what military and government organizations/agencies do you work with?
Segovias charter is to deliver network solutions on a global basis for government customers, primarily. That includes a combination of satellite space segment, teleport services, terrestrial connectivity, network operations support, and all other lifecycle managed services associated with such a solution.
We work with all U.S. government and allied nations users. While we do some work with commercial clients, ultimately our main customer is government. Within the U.S. government, one of the primary users is the Department of Defense, and we operate DoDs largest VSAT network by terminal count.
Please explain Segovias core businesses and how such are implemented across the globe.
Segovia seamlessly bridges the satellite-to-fiber divide in the global terrestrial communications market. We leverage our satellite and terrestrial communication network expertise to solve our clients end-to-end global telecommunication needs, delivering flexible, interoperable, custom-fit communication solutions that meet their objectives. Our private Multi-Protocol Label Switched (MPLS) network, and our close working relationships with every major satellite system operator, allow us to deliver solutions with greater speed and reliability.
Given your work with governmental agencies, how do you ensure your firm, given its commercial roots, can address the issues of importance to various government entities? As you worked on many projects while at Booz Allen Hamilton, did this give you the impetus to know how to address government business?
I started my career as a Senior Satellite Applications Engineer for PanAmSat (now Intelsat). I actually joined Segovia in its infancy, helping in the companys network design, product development, and government contracting activities. For a short time I worked with Booz Allen Hamilton, supporting satellite-related projects for multiple U.S. government agencies.
The government is realizing that in the satellite space set, commercial industry has the capability to deliver services faster and more cost-effectively than the government can on its own. Over the last 10 years or so, Segovia has seen that the U.S. government is relying on commercial industry to deliver these services.
Booz Allen has a very disciplined and structured approach to how they support a government customer. Within Segovia, from a service perspective, a similar disciplined approach applies. We make sure we are very detail-oriented in how we respond to the government customer. Every inquiry from a Segovia customer takes priority over any other internal projects we may be handling. Ours is a real-time network service environment, and we deal directly with users who are in remote locations, calling into our network operations center. It demands a sense of urgency that is different than you might see in most other companies.
How did you become interested in the satellite industry and how do you see the industry evolving, given the stagnant global financial climate? Exactly what is your background?
I studied electrical engineering in college at the University of Notre Dame. Directly after, I went into the full-time program at Virginia Tech for Masters degree in electrical engineering. Coming out of Virginia Tech, I knew I wanted to be in a technical field, but also in a field where I had exposure to the business side. The satellite industry was a place where I felt I could exercise my engineering discipline, but would have the opportunity to be involved in the business component as well.
The satellite industry is unique, because it is very difficult to separate the engineer from business. When the engineer is doing his work, he or she has to be very aware of the ramifications on the business side. A very small change to a design can translate into very significant dollars; I think that is something that is very unique to our industry.
Given the economic climate, one of the things that the satellite industry has to do is to provide service as cost-effectively as possible. This goes to the root of how Segovia delivers service. Weve often said that when the government procures space segment only, the contractor is incentivized to sell as much space segment as possible. When purchased as a managed service, the provider is incentivized by nothing else but delivering excellent service. The onus is on us to be as efficient with the satellite spectrum as we possibly can.
That goes to the heart of how the industry is evolving. That is why the government is changing the way it is buying such services.
Given your expertise in the more technical side of this business, many involved in uplinking and downlinking data are genuinely concerned about network security. What concerns have been imparted to you, and what are your solutions to such challenges? What advice do you have for users of combo networks and what products and/or services can assist in addressing such needs?
With our U.S. government clients, the main network security concern is meeting the established network certification and accreditation (C&A) guidelines for compliance with government standards.
The primary process is called the Defense Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process (DIACAP). Within DIACAP, there are three different mission assurance category (MAC) levels from the most secure at Level 1 to the least secure at Level 3. There is an established process in which government auditors visit Segovias facilities to make sure they live up to the standards that DIACAP lays out.
Segovias track record of achieving C&A through numerous engagements has allowed us to streamline the experience for our clients. When a customer comes to Segovia, we work with their approval authorities in the leadership team, to enable them to achieve the appropriate certifications quickly to operate on Segovias network.
Providing specific advice openly on how to secure a network offers insight into how to defeat that security. In general, however, its important to remember that you are passing traffic from a remote location to a secure location. At every layer of the networkfrom the space segment to the teleport to the terrestrial backbonecertain measures must be put in place to ensure security.
All devices in the networkfrom modems at the teleport, to routers and switchers at the backbone, to the servers managing those componentshave different security measures associated with them. DIACAP sets standards for configuration of the devices based on the MAC level of the user agency.
Encryption on the network, operational security, personnel security, and personnel and physical security measures all come together to meet the standards as dictated by DIACAP, and each element should be given equal weight in securing the network.
Segovia simplifies the certification and accreditation process for its users by ensuring that those security measures are in place for all devices at every segment of the network.
With governments aching for additional capacity, how do you see the hosted payload business as a solution, or as a wishful thought? Hybrid networks seem to be a workable solution for many applications. Can you reveal some of the examples of Segovia successes in this regard? And, given the mixed nature of hybrid networks, does such increase security concerns?
Hosted payload is a solution to arrive at volume discounts for space segment with a long-term commitment. Segovia finds more compelling the notion of a hosted networkincluding hosted satellite spectrum, with flexibility to procure capacity with assured access over the 15-year life of the satellite. This is coupled with ground infrastructure that is delivered as part of our services today. It provides an end-to-end solution within the hosted concept and gives users additional cost efficiencies, because of their up-front commitment to that type of solution.
In fact, hybrid solutions are the solution for any application. No application runs with just satellite space segmentyou also need a place to land that space segment, and some terrestrial connectivity for that application to traverse end to end. Segovia has been in a position to deliver those types of services since its inception.
When procuring space segment alone, ultimately there is very little that the provider can do to ensure security. The provider is offering frequency assignments, and their hands are off from there. When procuring a hybrid terrestrial/satellite solution with all the associated components, virtually every provision of DIACAP comes into play, because DIACAP is much more focused on the other pieces outside of the space segment than it is on the space segment itself.
Segovias track record of success in providing hybrid satellite/terrestrial networks has grown to the point that our managed services include all of the provisions that our customers require to meet their C&A requirements. When users buy service from Segovia, our network architecture, facilities, personnel standards, and security are all designed to move rapidly through the C&A process.
How difficult was it to obtain GSA Schedule 70 approval under the FCSA program? Can you describe to our readers what this award means and how it differs from previous regulations?
In general, the satellite industry hasnt leveraged the GSA contracts very often in the past. Segovia and the other early players were able to get through the process relatively quickly because we had demonstrated past performance and we understood the requirements of the process to activate the schedule.
Once the schedule is in place, customers can very quickly procure services from the industry. We all have line items on our schedule that can be used in combination to deliver the managed services our customers require. It streamlines the procurement process for customers and gives access to the industry in a way government has not had before.
Segovia was one of the very first companies to go through the FCSA/Schedule 70 award process. In Segovias case, it took a few months to get through the process. There was a learning curve on both sides to ensure that expectations were met in terms of what was required and what could be provided.
One area where more and more industry involvement is becoming necessary is for first responders and NGOs and their need for crucial communications when confronting disasters, whether natural or manmade. How does Segovia address their communications challenges?
Segovia has been delivering services to first responder users since the very beginning. Those users are at the core of our business. We meet those challenges in several wayswith pre-positioned, always-on networks and with quick-turn activation of private networks with customer design features. Segovia has an always-on network in place globally; when a disaster happens, users can access the network with their existing remote satellite terminals already in place.
We have other customers with the larger charter to support disaster recovery, domestically or internationally. Those users typically leverage private network services from Segovia, dedicated to that customers requirements. They use that network for exercise support and real-time disaster recovery missions when they need it.
The growth of companies within our various industries truly depends upon the ability to call upon an educated workforce to develop product. Is Segovia involved in any STEM projects to help drive interest among todays students to enter the satellite communications industry? How important do you see STEM being for the growth of your company?
From Segovias earliest, most entrepreneurial days, weve had an intern program every summer for high school and college students. They take on real tasks at the company. We work with the local high schools and universities to provide those opportunities and by doing so, we are constantly bringing new ideas into the company, rather than just resting on the ideas that have made us successful to date. University students get exposure to developing technology before it becomes commercialized, and Segovia benefits by bringing new ideas into the organization.
Given the technical nature of Segovia product, QoS is important, as is customer training how is such accomplished by your Company?
Segovia is only successful if the customer is content with the quality of service they receive. We accomplish quality of service through careful design at space segment, teleport, and terrestrial layers, making sure that our users applications run optimally from end-to-end. From an application perspective, quality of service cant be guaranteed from space segment alone.
Our service is successful provided weve done all we can to teach the customer how to use it. We do what we can to make it as intuitive as possible. Once they are on board, we provide instruction on how to use the remote satellite terminal, and how to interface with Segovia. Calling into the network operations center, getting information on open tickets, understanding network performance reports all those things are critical to ensuring that their experience is as positive as it can be.
What is the future for satellite-based content delivery for government and military applications, especially in the latter regard, where timeliness and efficacy offset loss of life?
Military satellite and commercial satellite architectures are beginning to merge, which is a benefit to government users. Video, voice, and data applications are becoming more sophisticated, and the bandwidth requirements for those same applications today continue to increase. Demand for that bandwidth will not be able to be accommodated on the Ku-band available today. Those needs can be met easily on the Ka-band, delivering an order of magnitude bandwidth increase to very small terminals.
Going forward based on our success in the Ku- and C-band world, Segovia will be taking a leadership position in the Ka-band through the Inmarsat Global Xpress offering. We are making certain that our network is architected from the ground up with the same security measures in mind.
In particular, the efficiency of video delivery to airborne users is an application in which Global Xpress will be able to differentiate itself. High-quality video to and from airborne users, at multi-megabit speeds, is something thats impossible on other platforms today.
The cross-pollination between commercial and military satellite will allow organizations to use their remote networks for traffic directly into Department of Defense and commercial facilities alike. Were seeing those discussions taking place right now. Global Xpress is the catalyst for many of those discussions with most of the service elements and Department of Defense leadership community. Segovia is making sure that the Global Xpress architecture meets their requirements, both as they exist now and as they are forecasted to be for the next 15 to 20 years.
Looking over your professional career, what products or projects bring a smile to your face and a true sense of satisfaction?
In the government market, we are only successful if we are able to effectively match our customers requirements with a viable contract vehicle and a repeatable execution plan. Given this dynamic, an extraordinary amount of effort is spent on the proposal process. Its the one place where each side gets an idea of exactly whats needed, and exactly what can be provided to meet those needs.
The proposal process brings a lot of satisfaction in the end. When Segovia executes effective capture management and proposal generation, and we receive an award at the other end, it could be the result of years of work. And when we start activating terminals after contract award, thats very satisfying. This is what makes Segovia successful.