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Welcome to the official SECAF Podcast! For more than 20 years, the Small and Emerging Contractors Advisory Forum has been helping small and emerging government contracting businesses scale to their fullest potential. On this podcast, we'll be interviewing Key Government Leaders and Subject Matter Experts to get a better understanding on GovCon customers and trends in the industry. We at SECAF believe there's space for everyone to succeed.
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The DownLink Podcast

The Defense & Aerospace Report

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From the Defense & Aerospace Report... This is The DownLink Podcast, hosted by Laura Winter. From the intersection of space, business, and defense... Not just what's over the horizon, but what's happening above it. The DownLink Podcast was a finalist in the 2023 Aerospace Media Awards and the 2022 Defense Media Awards for best space coverage and digital storytelling.
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Space Money: The Long-Term Strategy Inside The Space Force Budget NumbersWhile the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee has sent its draft of the FY 2025 defense spending bill to the full Appropriations Committee without drama, a Trump campaign representative is reportedly urging Republican senators to block any spending package from passing u…
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Space Money: Risk of Second Boots vs First BaseChina’s Communist Party has notched another victory in its campaign to build by 2035 a manned International Lunar Research Station near the moon’s south pole with this Saturday’s successful landing of the Chang’e 6 spacecraft. This episode is about what is at risk if the United States fails to be first…
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Space Competition: The PLA May Not Be Ready To Fight In SpaceChina President Xi Jinping has instituted a major military reorganization to support joint warfighting, with space operations under the newly constituted Aerospace Forces. Laura Winter speaks with Namrata Goswami, an independent scholar on space policy and great power politics and co-auth…
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Space Power: What The U.S. Needs To Build “An Enduring Advantage In The Third Space Age”While Congress is holding hearings and pouring over federal budget minutiae, this episode is about how the United States could go about “Building an Enduring Advantage In The Third Space Age” - the title of a report authored by this week’s guest. Laura Winter sp…
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Space Power: Why States, National Guard Association Say “No!” To Defense Department Space Units PlanThere’s a Department of Defense legislative proposal to move Air National Guard space units into the U.S. Space Force that has unified all 55 state and territorial governors with the National Guard Association in opposition. This week’s episode is ab…
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Space Money: "For Those Who Can Execute, The Opportunity Is Massive"Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve Board Chair, said borrowing rates are going to stay right where they are. Most Department of Defense space budgets are shrinking in real terms due to inflation. So what will it take to get venture capitalists to invest in new space tech? Laura Win…
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Space Competition: AUKUS Nations - UK and Australia Aim to Plus Up Defense Is it “Old Wine In A New Bottle” or is this push to increase defense spending and investment in developing new capabilities, including space the mark of something new? While the United States has submitted a comparatively humble defense budget, its AUKUS partners, feeling th…
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Space Power: “The Biggest Enemy to National Security Are Continuing Resolutions”The latest edition of the “State of The Space Industrial Base Report”, a unique take on space and national security, has just been published jointly by the U.S. Space Force, the Defense Innovation Unit, and the Air Force Research Laboratory. Laura Winter speaks with one…
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Space Power: SECAF Says “Our Cushion Is Gone. We are out of time.” This week U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense that China’s space capabilities were essentially on par, or close to it, with the United States, yet confusingly, the Presidential Budget Request for FY’25 prescribes pumping the …
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Space Money: “Get Used To Crazyville”, “Moon Mania”, And A New Defense StrategyWelcome to the start of the space economy’s second financial quarter, or “Crazyville”! Plus there is a new Department of Defense “Commercial Space Integration Strategy”. What does this tin’s label really say? Laura Winter speaks with The DownLink Podcast’s space equity a…
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Space Competition: Why SpaceX’s “Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly” Is Redrawing The Map To SuccessThis week’s episode is coming from the annual Satellite in Washington, D.C. Instead of having a panel, Laura Winter is in the exhibition hall to ask commercial space leaders about risk, success and failure in the Age of SpaceX. Winter speaks with Frank Ba…
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Space Power: 2025 Space Force Budget Slashes Launches, Reduces Buying Power By 5%Congressional inaction coupled with core inflation, have resulted in the first reduction in budgetary buying power for the U.S. Space Force for FY 2025, placing research and development at risk. Effects could be far reaching, as the youngest military branch is the bigg…
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Space Power: Fines On Space Junk In The Pipeline And What’s Legal SalvageThis episode is coming to you from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., where the U.S. Space Command’s Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, and the Academy’s Law, Technology and Warfare Research Cell co-host the fourth annual USSPACECOM Legal Conference. Laura…
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Space Money: The Fortune 500 View From TE Connectivity’s Martin CullenIt was a “new space” company - Intuitive Machines - that embraced risk and landed on the moon, not a blue-chip aerospace company. In this episode Laura Winter speaks with Martin Cullen, T-E Connectivity’s Senior Manager for Business Development and Strategy about emerging space-p…
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Space Competition: Can The US Deter Its Adversaries From Launching Cyberattacks on Space Systems?This month, two years ago, Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine started with a cyber attack that changed everything and yet nothing for the U.S. commercial space sector. This is the fourth and final in a series of episodes examining cyber attacks and…
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Space Power: Securing Space Systems From Cyber Attack - “We Play Whack-A-Mole”This month, two years ago, Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine started with a cyber attack that changed everything and yet nothing for the U.S. commercial space sector. This is the third in a series of episodes examining cyber attacks and space systems. Laura Winter s…
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Space Tech: The Threat Landscape, A Cyber Vulnerability, And Ransoming A SatelliteThis month, two years ago, Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine started with a cyber attack that changed everything and yet nothing for the U.S. commercial space sector. This is the second in a series of episodes examining cyber attacks and space systems. Laura Win…
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Space Money: When Nation States Target The Commercial Space SectorThis month, two years ago, Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine started with a cyber attack that changed everything and yet nothing for the U.S. commercial space sector. This is the first in a series of episodes examining cyber attacks and space systems. Laura Winter speaks with N…
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Space Tech: A U.S. Space Force Bet That Could Truly Monetize Space Junk… For RealThis week’s episode is about a cunning plan the Space Force has invested in that aims to monetize space junk and large pieces of orbital debris by recycling it in space, for use as thruster fuel and structural beams. Laura Winter speaks with CisLunar Industries’ Co-fou…
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Space Power: What the Space Force Needs Now For Cislunar OperationsThis week, just after one failed commercial moon mission came back to earth and burned up in the atmosphere, Japan became the fifth nation to successfully reach the lunar surface. As launches to and landings on the Moon become more regular, it is expected that competition and possib…
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SPACE TECH: Is NASA Surrendering The Promise of Space-Based Solar Power to China, ESA, Britain And Japan? Jeers and scorn greeted NASA’s “Space-Based Solar Power” report, which if taken at face value, experts argue, could strategically disadvantage U.S. efforts to deliver cheap renewable energy, while competitors in the sector move forward. While t…
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Space Money: Has Investor Passion Left The Building?This episode on Space Money is the 2024 year opener. It examines just what business and investment trends and events from 2023 are carrying over into the new year, and what to expect for space business and the space economy in 2024. Laura Winter speaks with Chris Quilty, founder of Quilty Space; G…
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"It's been Quite A Banner Year For China Militarily, Commercially, Scientifically In Space" This episode looks at China’s effective year in space, in the civil, commercial, and military space sectors. Laura Winter covers the most important technology and policy developments and what to look out for in 2024 with Namrata Goswami, an independent schol…
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Chief Master Sergeant Bentivegna: “Why The Identity Portion Is So Important To Us.”This episode is coming from Orlando, Florida, from the sold-out Space Power Conference, the first solely dedicated to United States Space Force Guardians. To understand why this is a Space Force milestone Laura Winter speaks with Chief Master Sgt. John “B-9” Bentiveg…
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U.S. Space Force Commercial Space Office: Bankruptcies And Consolidation Are ExpectedOur coverage of the chilly space investment climate continues, but from the perspective of the U.S. Space Force’s Commercial Space Office, which has the responsibility to find and foster some of the new commercial space technologies the Department of Defense needs.…
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Accenture's Anti-Trend Space Investment Strategy It’s chilly and not just outside. Investment in space companies is down by almost a third compared to this time last year, with investor sentiment for space applications companies being downright icy. But Accenture, the publicly traded international technology consulting company is not just saying it…
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Starship's Second Flight Test and China's ReactionHappy Thanksgiving! SpaceX just attempted a second flight test of its 28-stories-tall Starship space launch system. If Starship, an American-made rocket and spaceship, becomes operational, experts believe it will open up the space domain to travel and commerce, much like the railroad did for the Ame…
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A Rogue Plan: The Right Tool For The Right Job On OrbitWhile all eyes are on SpaceX’s Starship Flight Test 2, one of the space transportation companies newest customers, Rogue Space Systems, is breaking the mold with technical iteration, science, and a fistful of Department of Defense contracts. To understand how and why, Laura Winter speaks with R…
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Space Force Maj. Gen. Olson: ISAM Technology "A Core Part of Our Vision For The Future"NASA wants the development and deployment of In Space Manufacturing and Assembly, or ISAM, technologies to be a whole of nation effort that includes the civil, commercial, defense space sectors and academia. This would mean the routine use of robots to provide li…
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New Agreement with the U.S. Lights Rocket Under Australia’s Minister of Industry and ScienceThe United States and Australia just signed, what is in effect, a treaty that softens U.S. sovereign technology regulations and opens up Australia’s economy to the U.S. commercial space industry. The agreement could also force Australia’s Minister of Industr…
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South Korea, Space Security, And The Plan To Become A “Space Economy” PowerThis week’s episode is about the Republic of Korea’s push to get a seat at the same table as other major space-faring nations, to secure its people from North Korean missiles and the nation’s economic future. South Korea is the seventh nation to use its own natively develope…
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Critical Challenges to Protecting Human Habitats on Orbit, on The Moon, and BeyondThis week’s episode is coming from the Space Information and Sharing Analysis Center’s Value of Space Summit in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It explores the future threats commercial and government actors need to prepare for when the at least half-dozen human-rated com…
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A Permanent Off-World Economy Starts In A Garage With A Gas CapThis week’s episode features Orbit Fab. Don’t let the cute name fool you. Starting with the space-equivalent of a gas cap, this company has caught the attention of the U.S. Space Force, the Defense Innovation Unit, and the National Reconnaissance Office, in the form of multi-million-dol…
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Has The Space Economy Slowdown Hit Bottom?In Q3 inflation looked to be coming under control, but economic indicators pointing to another Fed interest rate hike and a recession persist. In this episode of The DownLink Podcast, Laura Winter discusses the latest economic trends and events impacting space business, investing, and the space economy with…
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China’s Grand Strategy for the Solar SystemThis week’s episode covers China’s Solar System plan, the U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Slatzman’s meeting with the Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s one-on-one with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. Laura Winter is joined by Chris Ston…
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The Future of In-Space Security: Views From the C-SuiteIn this episode of The DownLink Podcast, Laura Winter discusses satellites, modern warfare, and future defense needs for protecting commercial interests in the Cis-Lunar region with Robert Geckle, CEO, Airbus U.S. Space & Defense; Patrick Zeitouni, Chief Strategy Officer, HawkEye 360; and Tom “…
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New Space Force Mission Statement…Is It A Brownwater or Bluewater Future?This week’s episode is about U.S. Space Force doctrine, the Secretary of the Air Force’s email signaling big changes ahead, and the new nine-word-long mission statement: “secure our Nation’s interests in, from, and to space.” Laura Winter discusses these developments and what …
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Building A Secure Cis-Lunar Economy - What’s It Going To Take?India just sent its Chandrayaan-3 mission to the Moon for a mere $75m and DARPA is asking for ideas on how to build the cis-lunar infrastructure to establish an off-world economy. To understand what’s at stake and what’s needed for a secure cis-lunar economy worth betting on, Laura Winte…
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SECAF’s Podcast interview with Jerry McGinn, the George Mason University Executive Director of the Baroni Center for Government Contracting. Learn about the George Mason School of Business Baroni Center for Government Contracting’s mission and Jerry role, insights into the Small Business Summit Agenda and Keynote Speaker, and future events the Baro…
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SECAF’s Podcast interview with Richard Beutel, the Principal Researcher and Fellow at the George Mason University Baroni Center for Government Contracting. Learn about the Panel Richard is moderating during the upcoming Small Business Summit on 7 September on the Challenges Small Businesses face in competing for contracts under category management …
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SECAF’s Podcast interview with Emily Murphy, the former GSA Administrator and Senior Fellow at the George Mason University Baroni Center for Government Contracting. Learn about the Panel Emily is moderating during the upcoming Small Business Summit on 7 September on the Challenges Small Businesses face under the policies of current Small Business G…
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That Touted DoD Budget Plus-Up Cuts Into Space Force and Seeding Future Military Space InnovationThe U.S. Senate returns on September 5, followed by the House of Representatives on September 12, to negotiate the FY’24 federal budget. While both houses want to cut down the president’s request for the Space Force and military space programs by more t…
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India And Russia Are About To Attempt Separate Lunar Landings, Revealing A Fracturing Relationship Starting as early as Monday, August 21, Russia and India will make attempts to land their separate lunar lander missions on the moon’s south pole, where water-ice - space’s version of gold - has been found. Traditionally, Russia and India have been fa…
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This Space Experiment Will Underpin Off-World Ambition, Commerce, and ColonizationThis week’s episode examines an experiment that will underpin the development of a crucial environmental technology that almost every spacecraft - crewed or not - and every off-world human habitat will employ. Laura Winter speaks with Purdue University’s Issam Mudawar…
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SECAF’s podcast interview with Shannon Jackson, Executive Director Office Small Business and Disadvantage Business Utilization U.S Dept. of Health and Human Services. Learn about the OSDBU at the HHS, Mr. Jackson's priorities, a few personal insights about the Director, and how small business GovCons can engage with his office. If you wish to engag…
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Comtech’s CEO and “Imagineer” Ken Peterman: Hybrid Space Technologies Are Driving Value NowOn this week’s episode of The DownLink Podcast, Laura Winter speaks with Comtech Chairman, President, and CEO Ken Peterman, about hybrid space technologies and what value it will deliver to the end-user; why he reorganized the company; the latest contract wit…
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China: More Weird Reports of Disappearances And Departures Weird reports of “disappearances and departures” from China’s People’s Liberation Army’s Rocket Forces, Venezuela signs up to the China-led Moon station, and more out China on space and defense in this week’s episode. Laura Winter speaks with Chris Stone, Senior Fellow for Space Deterrence-…
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Space Force: “Begin With A Clean Sheet Of Paper” - Part 2The U.S. Space Force asked the Rand Corporation to come up with a new officer workforce framework, “conceived independently of the existing [U.S. Air Force] structure.” This episode is the second in a two-part series examining the Rand Corporation’s novel proposal, which aims to balance space…
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Kimberly Crider: Cyber, Data, Defense, and SpaceThis week’s episode serves up an in-depth interview with Maj. Gen. (ret.) Kimberly Crider, who was the first Chief Technology and Innovation Officer for the United States Space Force and is now a founding partner of a new space business, Elara Nova. Laura Winter also speaks with Jim Townsend, former U…
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Welcome To The Second Half Of 2023!It is time to take a look back at the first six months to see how the space market, space capital, and the space economy have fared. This episode also ferrets out the top space finance events from Q1 and Q2 that are shaping spending, investment, and business strategies for the next two quarters and beyond. Laura W…
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