August 29th, 2023 7:00am-10:00am EST 2941 Restaurant, 2941 Fairview Park Dr, Falls Church, VA 22042
As the newest and fastest growing warfighting domain, space is rising to the forefront of our nation’s priorities as we work to maintain technological superiority on the global stage. Among the most critical capabilities being targeted in this domain today is real-time, continuous connectivity, especially as adversarial activity and threats increase. This timely event focuses on the cutting-edge technologies behind rapid progress in space, the race to build the internet for space and the innovation in store for the future.
Join the ExecutiveBiz Space Technologies Forum to hear insights from thought leaders, industry experts and government officials across the space domain as they discuss what lies ahead for space technology.
Steve Bennett is the President of Kepler Communications’ US business, leading the company to establish an Internet-in-space infrastructure for US Civil and DoD markets. He motivates the Kepler US teams to transform vision into reality with over 30 years of executive leadership experience in aerospace engineering. Formerly the SVP of the New Shepard program at Blue Origin, Steve addressed the challenges that held the space vehicle back from human space flight certification and led the mission to a successful first launch. He is a published technology expert with multiple patents and has delivered successes at Honeywell, Raytheon, BAE Systems, and L3. Holding a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Arizona, Steve remains an engineer at heart and enjoys solving problems of the highest complexity.
Robert J. Conrad is the Vice President of Business Development and Strategy for Kepler Communications’ US business. Robert is a strategic leader and team builder who has been responsible for more than $1 billion in sales supporting ground and space systems for the U.S. Government and commercial space industry. Over the course of his career, he has demonstrated commitment to responsible leadership, governance, and strategy, and the ability to engage a broad range of stakeholders and drive strategic initiatives. Robert earned his Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University with a concentration in RF & Satellite Communications and a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Capitol College. He holds a U.S. Patent on a wide band continuously tunable satellite QPSK transceiver.
Dr. Linda M. Thomas is the Chief Engineer for multi-domain free space optical communications systems from the surface to space at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC. Dr. Thomas leads advanced development and prototyping efforts to promote interoperability and access to diverse spectrum in next-generation command, control and communications architectures. She advises Navy and Marine Corps on adoption and transition of new wireless communication and position, navigation, and timing technologies. Dr. Thomas has 18 years of service with US Naval Research Laboratory. Upon joining NRL in 2004, Dr. Thomas led research projects in laser propagation through the maritime atmosphere, satellite laser ranging, and avalanche photodetectors. Beginning in 2007, Dr. Thomas facilitated a partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, and US Space Force (formerly US Air Force Space Systems Center), leading to the hosting of NRL-designed, built and tested Laser Retroreflector Arrays on Global Positioning System (GPS) IIIF satellites. Prior to joining the US Naval Research Laboratory, Dr. Thomas earned a Ph.D. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park in the topic of laser propagation through the turbulent atmosphere. She received a B.S.E. from Duke University, also in Electrical Engineering. Dr. Thomas the recipient of the Department of the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award in 2022, and the 2017 Department of the Navy Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Engineer Individual Award for her achievements in developing military relevant free space optical communications technology. Additionally, Dr. Thomas is recipient of the 2018 Arthur E. Bisson award for Naval Technology Achievement, the 2014 Department of the Navy Information Excellence Team Award for Free Space Optical communications, and a 2014 Institute of Navigation special recognition for the GPS III Implementation Team for development of the hosted GPS III Laser Retroreflector Array. Dr. Thomas currently serves as an Associate Editor for the journal Optical Engineering, and is a member of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Science & Technology Roundtable. She also serves on the Program Committee for multiple technical conferences in free space optical communication. She is a member of the International Society for Optical Engineering, and has authored or co authored over 40 published manuscripts.
Dr. Frank Turner is the Technical Director for the Space Development Agency. He has extensive public and private sector experience in the management and direction of advanced technology research, development, test and evaluation of current and emerging military systems. Dr. Turner began his career as an officer in the United States Air Force, served as a Government Program Manager and certified acquisition professional, a senior leader in industry for both large and small companies, and as a senior analyst for both the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. His expertise spans space systems, directed energy, nuclear weapons effects, systems engineering, architectures, and operational evaluation and employment. Has successfully led some of the nation’s most difficult and challenging RDT&E programs, creating technical advantage for America's warfighters. Dr. Turner has academic degrees in physics, biology, business and engineering and has completed military education with the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps.
Mr. Younes is presently the Deputy Associate Administrator and Program Manager for Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN). He is responsible for NASA’s space communications and navigation infrastructure and services, as well as data standards and spectrum. Mr. Younes manages the SCaN Program Office at NASA Headquarters and oversees all NASA telecommunications and navigation projects and networks, including NASA’s Near Space Network (NSN) and Deep Space Network (DSN). Mr. Younes is also responsible for the development of enabling technologies critical to meeting the Agency’s vision for an integrated, interoperable SCaN architecture aligned with NASA’s future space exploration needs. With nearly four decades of applied, research, and leadership experience in microwave and RF systems engineering, Mr. Younes brings a unique combination of both strategic vision and technical expertise to his oversight and management of SCaN, positioning the organization to meet current and future technological needs, and providing pragmatic and practical management practices to maintain and improve SCaN’s capabilities. He has successfully leveraged his experience within the Department of Defense (DoD) spectrum management organization to proactively spearhead a paradigm shift within NASA SCaN to develop networks that are fully interoperable across government and commercial assets, to address current and future RF and spectrum issues. Through Mr. Younes’s direction, SCaN provides leadership and input to groups that shape US space and communications policy, including the Interagency Operations Advisory Board, the Position, Navigation and Timing Advisory Board, and National Space Council. Active engagement and leadership at the international level, including the study groups and working groups of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the Space Frequency coordination Group, further ensures NASA ability to pursue the ground-breaking science and exploration NASA is known for. As NASA and its commercial partners near exciting milestones in the Artemis program, including the Artemis I uncrewed launch in 2022, Mr. Younes’s strategic planning has positioned NASA’s SCaN Program as a central focal point of information and expertise on lunar spectrum usage.
Robert Zitz is President of Robert Zitz & Associates, LLC. He advises companies and U.S. Government agencies involved in defense, intelligence and homeland security missions and has a record of business growth and mission success. With over 40 years experience in government and industry, Zitz is widely regarded as a visionary with the technical and political acumen to turn concepts into reality. He is an expert in the fields of GEOINT, intelligence satellites, Multi-Int and open source analytics. Before joining industry he was an Intelligence Community veteran who rose from the rank of entry-level intelligence analyst to SES-6 and Deputy Under Secretary. Zitz' s executive experience spans Army Intelligence, CIA, NGA, DHS, Secret Service and NRO. From 2011-2019, Zitz held Senior Vice President positions leading strategy and business development, marketing and communications and government relations at the large defense and aerospace firms SAIC, Leidos and Maxar Technologies. From 2009-2011, Zitz served as Deputy Director of the Mission Support Directorate for the NRO where he led several hundred technical personnel deployed worldwide. He oversaw a very large technology program designed to rapidly deliver technology solutions to users. From 2007 - 2009, Zitz served as Deputy Associate Director of the United States Secret Service. In this role, he guided transformation efforts needed to modernize the elite law enforcement agency. He established and led agency-wide investment governance processes and defined and successfully delivered technical proposals which led to a several hundred million dollar budget increase for the agency. From 2006 – 2007, Zitz was Deputy Under Secretary of Preparedness at DHS. He managed 1,800 employees and oversaw $3-billion in programs. He guided the department’s preparedness work including Infrastructure Protection, National Communications, Cyber Security, State and Local Grants, Exercises and Assessments, Fire Administration, Ready.Gov, and the Chief Medical Officer. Zitz served concurrent roles as Deputy Under Secretary, Principal Deputy Manager of the National Communications System (NCS), and Director of the National Cyber Security Division during his tenure at DHS. He was also the driving force in DHS behind the establishment of a Secret Service-led, National Computer Forensics Institute in Hoover, Ala., which is a showcase for collaborative training of federal, state, and local law enforcement officials. Zitz co-chaired the DHS Geospatial, Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Executive Committee (GPEC) and established the foundation for geospatial- intelligence capabilities across the department. Zitz was one of only a few career nonpolitical appointee members of Secretary Chertoff’s senior leadership team, and he was the first person appointed as a deputy under secretary at DHS. From 2001 - 2005, Zitz led Research and Development (R&D) at NGA and was a member of the agency’s Executive Committee. He guided all the agency’s transformation activities. He was the Intelligence Community’s leading architect of a Multi-Int fusion approach to tasking, collection, processing, analysis, and dissemination of intelligence. His work on Multi-int was ground breaking, and the results continue to reverberate throughout the community today. Prior to 2001, Mr. Zitz served in a variety of analytical, policy, budget, and technology roles, including counterterrorism support to the Army’s Delta Force.
7:00am - 8:00am EST
8:00am - 8:05am EST
Welcome & Opening Remarks
8:05am - 8:45am EST
Keynote Address: Dr. Frank Turner
8:45am - 9:45am EST
Panel: The Need for Speed: High-Throughput, Real-Time Connectivity for the Future Space Economy
9:45am - 10:00am EST