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Future Imagery Architecture [FIA] - 2005 Restructuring

By the end of 2004 the House Intelligence Committee remained concerned about the viability and effectiveness of a future overhead architecture, given the apparent lack of a comprehensive architectural plan for the overhead system of systems, specifically in the area of imagery. For example, the Committee believed the Administration was facing a major challenge in addressing technical and funding problems with the Future Imagery Architecture (FIA) program that could force untenable trades between critical future capabilities and legacy systems.

Between the time the contract was awarded to Boeing in 1999 and 2005, the government had spent over $10 billion on FIA, including about $4 or $5 billion in cost overruns. The first phase was projected to have a total cost of between $20 billion and $25 billion. By 2005 about 5,000 Boeing and subcontractor employees were enaged on the program, working at windowless buildings at Seal Beach and El Segundo.

In July 2005 a panel reviewing FIA recommended that Boeing stop work on the electro-optical spacecraft, the primary component of the FIA program. Boeing evidently had over-promised and under delivered. While Boeing was experienced with launch vehicles and communication satellites, it had little experience in large electro-optical systems. The launch of the first spacecraft had slipped from 2005 to 2009. The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Subcommittee on Technical and Tactical Intelligence met in executive session on July 22, 25, and 26 2005 to hold hearings on the results of the Future Imagery Architecture Red Team Review. Testimony was heard from departmental witnesses.

Roger Roberts, the veteran Boeing executive who oversaw the company's intelligence programs, abruptly stepped down in August 2005. Boeing named Howard E. Chambers vice president and general manager of Space & Intelligence Systems (S&IS), an operating division of Integrated Defense Systems (IDS). Chambers reports to Jim Albaugh, president and chief executive officer of Boeing's Integrated Defense Systems. Chambers is responsible for leading the people, programs and assets of the company's intelligence and space programs. These include Boeing's Satellite Development Center, Information Systems, Mission Systems and critical elements of the Future Imagery Architecture program. He also is Chief Executive Officer of Boeing Satellite Systems International, Inc.

In September 2005 it was reported that the Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and National Intelligence Director John D. Negroponte had decided to take away from Boeing Co. much the multibillion-dollar Future Imagery Architecture contract as a result of cost overruns and delays. Intelligence officials decided to transfer much of the work to rival Lockheed Martin.

Under the revised plan, Lockheed would build the electro-optical satellite. Boeing would continue developing the less complex imaging radar spacecraft, which was the smaller portion of the program. Boeing remained the prime contractor.

By 2005 the separate Space Radar project was intended to eventually become America's sole national security radar imaging program. The Space Radar project had emerged from the troubled Space Based Radar effort, and it was not initially clear how this was intended to interface with the FIA radar segment said to remain at Boeing. The FIA imaging radar was probably slated for an initial launch prior to 2010, while the Space Radar anticipated an initial launch no sooner than 2015.

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Page last modified: 28-07-2011 00:49:10 ZULU