Increased spending on the space program through the El
Segundo-based Los Angeles Air Force Base will mean
contracts for South Bay aerospace companies and
WASHINGTON -- The commander of the Air Force Space and
Missile Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base on
Tuesday predicted "significant growth" in spending on
space programs in the years ahead.
Some growth will
be necessary because of the demand for new space
systems and the requirement to replace current systems
that wear out, Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael A. Hamel
Hamel's command in El Segundo is responsible for
developing and procuring space and missile programs,
including satellites, ground stations, space-launch
capabilities and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Systems under his authority cost more than $10 billion
Many of those systems are managed or produced by
Boeing, Northrop Grumman or Lockheed Martin units in
Although Hamel could not provide specifics on the
fiscal year 2008 budget, which will be released in
February, he said, "We would expect there to be some
growth." He cited the number of large space programs
that are being developed or acquired.
In his first session with Washington-based defense
reporters since assuming command 18 months ago, Hamel
described the efforts he and Ronald Sega, the former
Air Force acquisition executive, have made to correct
an array of problems that have plagued space
Hamel attributed the technical failures, program
delays and cost overruns to a combination of budget
cuts and acquisition reforms that depleted Air Force
supervision of development details in the 1990s.
By putting "a lot more rigor back into the
engineering and program management" and establishing a
"much closer partnership with industry," he said, "we
made a lot of progress."
He specifically cited the Space-Based Infrared
satellite program, which was to be a key improvement
to the missile defense program but had fallen far
Now, he said, the program "is back on track and
Hamel also praised the recently completed project
to trade excess air base property to a real estate
developer to get a new office complex at his
headquarters near Los Angeles International Airport.
"We refer to 2006 as the year of rebirth of the Air
Force Space and Missile Center," he said.