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The Aerospace Corporation Announces Significant Organizational Changes

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Sept. 21, 2023 – To align with changes within the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and its focus on end-to-end operations, The Aerospace Corporation (Aerospace) announced today that it will be making significant changes to its organizational structure. Aerospace also announced several key hires, including a new Senior Vice President for its National Systems Group.

On Oct. 1, 2023, Aerospace will combine its Space Systems Group and its Defense Systems Group, creating a unified organization to support all of Aerospace’s DOD customers. Senior Vice President Marty Whelan will lead this new organization, which will retain the name of Defense Systems Group. This new structure will better align Aerospace with the structure and strategic direction of its DOD customers and will strengthen the company’s ability to operate at the enterprise level to integrate systems of national importance.

“The space domain is undergoing rapid and profound change. By unifying our support to our largest customer, Aerospace will be well positioned to deliver end-to-end capabilities to outpace the threats we face in space.” said Aerospace President and CEO Steve Isakowitz. “These new leaders bring extensive experience with our customers and a deep understanding of the needs of our end users, enabling Aerospace to drive greater integration from acquisitions to operations.”

Within the Defense Systems Group, our new leaders are:

  • Dr. Lara Schmidt has been selected to succeed Jay Santee, who is retiring at the end of 2023. Dr. Schmidt will serve as vice president of Defense Architectures and Integration, where she will lead Aerospace’s efforts on space warfighting, future space architectures, operations, and integration. Dr. Schmidt has been a valued leader at Aerospace since 2019, and previously held several senior positions at RAND Corp.
  • Todd Nygren will head up the new Defense Space Acquisition organization, with a focus on acquisition and integration of space and ground systems to rapidly deliver capabilities to the end-user ahead of the threat. His organization will primarily support Space Systems Command.
  • Randy Kendall will lead Launch, Missiles and Mobility, with a focus on the emerging high-priority mission area of Space Access, Mobility and Logistics, including Aerospace’s launch support, as well as Aerospace’s support of the Missile Defense Agency and nuclear enterprise customers.
  • Dr. Jamie Morin will lead Defense Strategic Space, which provides support to all Pentagon leadership. He also continues as Executive Director of the Center for Space Policy and Strategy, supporting senior leadership decision making across the civil, commercial, intelligence, and defense space sectors.

Senior vice president Kevin Bell will transition from leading Space Systems Group to head up Engineering and Technology Group, previously led by Nygren. In this role, Bell will bring his program expertise to the group which serves as the technical backplane for the space enterprise, delivering critical skills to rapidly changing programs and technologies.

Aerospace has also selected Kevin Keating as senior vice president for the National Systems Group, effective Jan. 1, 2024. At a time when experience with integrating end-to-end effects with end-users and warfighters is paramount, Keating comes to Aerospace after a long and distinguished career in the intelligence community, at the National Reconnaissance Office and most recently at the Central Intelligence Agency Directorate of Science and Technology. 

About The Aerospace Corporation

The Aerospace Corporation is a national nonprofit corporation that operates a federally funded research and development center and has more than 4,600 employees. With major locations in Chantilly, Virginia; El Segundo, California; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Colorado Springs, Colorado, Aerospace addresses complex problems across the space enterprise and other areas of national and international significance through agility, innovation, and objective technical leadership. For more information, visit Follow us on X: @AerospaceCorp.


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Dianna Ramirez

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