Empowering the Warfighter Part I: A better way to keep pace with technology

How Viasat’s innovative business model delivers urgently needed technology for our warfighters  

soldier with laptop and radio
Viasat collaborates closely with warfighters deployed around the globe to clearly understand the “problem to be solved” in customer terms, such as improved mission effectiveness and warfighter safety.

Year over year, Viasat’s Government Systems business continues to grow at a remarkable rate. Our secret to achieving truly differentiated growth in such a complex and challenging defense market environment is no surprise.

We listen, we act proactively, and we empower our warfighter customers with technology-enabled operational capabilities. We then continuously evolve these capabilities over time to ensure they keep pace with the rapidly accelerating technology trajectories in the commercial market.

Perhaps it sounds simple, but it’s really quite an innovative and entrepreneurial approach to defense contracting that recognizes current defense market trends and builds business strategies that leverage them. For example, one defense acquisition trend is the fact that acquisition and fielding timelines are not keeping pace with technology trajectories that evolve a new generation every 18-24 months. A recent Institute for Defense Analyses report on Acquisition Timelines noted that the expected development cycle for a new technology on average is “8-14 years – even if you do everything right” and that it takes an average of 8 years from a stated operational requirement to achieve Initial Operational Capability (IOC), while Full Operational Capability (FOC) can take decades.

Viasat is realizing its great success by exploiting this trend of slow acquisition timelines that fail to get current and emergent technologies to the warfighter fast enough. We leverage our unique culture of innovation and employee empowerment, coupled with entrepreneurial business strategies, agile technology development processes and non-traditional business models to accelerate delivery of turnkey warfighter capabilities.

We start by collaborating closely with warfighters deployed around the globe to clearly understand the “problem to be solved” in customer terms, such as improved mission effectiveness and warfighter safety. We then develop and deploy new operational capabilities that leverage cutting-edge technologies in innovative ways. We often use unconventional U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) procurement processes to develop and deliver these turnkey operational capabilities that address the real-world problems warfighters face on the ground, in the air, and at sea. In short, we help warfighters find a better way to perform critical missions, and we answer their needs quickly and effectively.

Oftentimes we employ innovative business models such as “Satcom-as-a-Service” that bundles traditional satellite communications (SATCOM) services with valuable companion capabilities like automated network management, terminal prioritization and active cyber defense. This is important, as it enables the warfighter to acquire an integrated SATCOM service that assures capacity, performance and quality of service in benign — as well as contested — environments.

It’s an axiom of business that listening to your customers is the best way to truly understand what they really need. Clarity on the customer “problem to be solved” allows forward-thinking businesses to deliver focused and innovative capabilities that empower the end-user with genuine solutions to their hardest problems.

While our year-over-year revenue growth is both gratifying and very rewarding, what we’re most proud of is being part of a team that’s rapidly innovating, pushing traditional boundaries and delivering constantly improving operational capabilities and cutting edge technology solutions to our customers in uniform.

Next: Empowering the Warfighter Part 2: The value of customer intimacy

Ken Peterman
About Ken Peterman 3 Articles
Ken Peterman is president of Government Systems at Viasat.