Spaceflight Insider

Boeing reorganizing for more agile performance

Boeing logo

Boeing logo. Photo Credit: Paul J. Richards / AFP

Boeing is looking to make its operations leaner and more competitive by breaking up its Defense, Space & Security (BDS) unit into smaller business units reporting directly to BDS CEO Leanne Caret. Effective July 1, 2017, the unit will reorganize into several smaller divisions covering Autonomous Systems; Space and Missile Systems; Strike, Surveillance, and Mobility; and Vertical Lift.

Leaner and meaner

Boeing’s structural changes will eliminate a layer of executive oversight, laying off approximately 50 executives. The changes are expected to give each of the organizations more autonomy and direct access to Caret, but also give her more direct oversight over their operations.

The smaller business units’ responsibilities will be broken out as follows:

  • Autonomous Systems: Insitu and Liquid Robotics subsidiaries; Echo Voyager maritime vehicle; vertical lift unmanned systems; and certain electronic and information systems.
  • Space and Missile Systems: satellites; Boeing’s share of United Launch Alliance (ULA); the International Space Station (ISS); Ground-based Midcourse Defense; Ground Based Strategic Deterrent; Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and Harpoon weapons, among others.
  • Strike, Surveillance and Mobility: F-15 and F/A-18 fighters; P-8 maritime patrol aircraft; Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS); modifications/upgrades to fixed-wing aircraft.
  • Vertical Lift: AH-6i, AH-64 Apache, and CH-47 Chinook helicopters; V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor.

The Development, Global Operations, and Phantom Works segments, which also report to Caret, will largely be unchanged.

“We need to be an agile organization that is more responsive to customers’ needs and committed to continually improving productivity,” Caret said. “We are fundamentally addressing how we compete, win, and grow in Boeing’s second century.”

It is uncertain, as yet, what impact this reorganization will have on Boeing’s involvement in ULA. However, the company already has two major reusable space systems under development: the X-37B for the U.S. Air Force and the XS-1 reusable winged launcher for DARPA.




Bart Leahy is a freelance technical writer living in Orlando, Florida. Leahy's diverse career has included work for The Walt Disney Company, NASA, the Department of Defense, Nissan, a number of commercial space companies, small businesses, nonprofits, as well as the Science Cheerleaders.

Reader Comments

David VomLehn

I think Boeing is missing the point–their key competition from companies like SpaceX is in commercial launch services. When you lump those, apparently based on technology, with defense systems, you miss the fact that these are very different markets with very different rules. It’s fine for SpaceX to conflate commercial launch technology and marketplace, it’s all the same to them. Boeing really can’t afford to.

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