1983: Year 25 and Beyond
“For a quarter of a century,” President Ronald Reagan wrote to Analytic Services in 1983, “your efforts have played a valuable role in analyzing our national defense needs and helping maintain America’s security.”
The President’s words held an added significance that made his congratulations about more than just ANSER’s legacy. Some of the work he was acknowledging was tied directly to current initiatives. On October 2, 1981, President Reagan had unveiled a plan for modernization of the Nation’s strategic defense systems, which included emphasis on the growing importance of command, control, and communications (C3). The Air Force then “relied increasingly” on ANSER’s analytic abilities in planning C3 programs, some of which touched on such major systems as the Worldwide Military Command and Control System (WWMCCS), which ANSER had been studying for some time.
On March 23, 1983, President Reagan unveiled another prolific plan that put ANSER in the middle of its initiatives. In his now famous speech, the President announced the Strategic Defense Initiative, the aim of which was to give the United States the ability to destroy missiles from space. ANSER soon began supporting the organization—the SDIO—created for that initiative. The support would eventually extend into the next decade.
Between the new work supporting the strategic modernization initiatives and the ongoing work for the Air Force, DoD, and NASA, ANSER staff were involved in so many space initiatives that it took the Board almost four pages in a sixteen-page annual report to describe them. Among the ongoing work were studies related to manned space flight—an arena for which 1983 was a memorable year for the United States and, as it would turn out later, ANSER. The flight of the Space Shuttle Challenger that year included among its crew the first female astronaut, Sally Ride. The crew also included an astronaut named John Fabian, who would later become ANSER’s president and CEO.
The space arena yielded yet another historical development for ANSER in 1983. Efforts for the Air Force Space Command had elevated to the point that ANSER opened an office in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the home of the newly created command. ANSER leased suitable space in May of that year and took occupancy on September 1.
Such achievements as these for 1983 alone were cause for celebration, for they “augured well for an ANSER future,” the Board noted, “that will continue to be distinguished by the excellence of its work and the importance of its contributions to the public interest.” ANSER was viewing these achievements, though, against the background of the first quarter century they had just completed.
The highlights ANSER noted in looking back over those 25 years included the sum of more than 1,500 projects. Notable among the sponsors of those projects were the White House, three DoD agencies, seven Air Staff directorates (plus five Field Commands), U.S. Army Headquarters, NASA, and the CIA. For such work, ANSER’s staff had grown from 36 to 230 professionals, and the office space from a temporary 10,000 square feet to a permanent 76,000 square feet.
There was more where that came from, one might have casually said, impressed in reflection on what ANSER had done and upbeat about what it was going to do. And the Board almost said it in those words when they announced, in the fall of 1983, that they had leased more than 112,000 square feet of office space at Three Crystal Gateway, mere blocks from where ANSER then stood on Army-Navy Drive. The facilities would permit growth to approximately 500 staff—a benchmark that ANSER appeared headed for. The announcement of the Crystal Gateway addition was the inauguration of “Year 26 and Beyond.”
Secretary of the Air Force Verne Orr, joining President Reagan in formally congratulating ANSER on their silver anniversary in 1983, said as much about the company’s future when he wrote of its past, “ANSER’s work has been marked by quality, responsiveness, and objectivity that has helped the Air Force become better equipped than ever to carry out its missions in defense of the Nation.”
As 1983 drew to a close, ANSER itself was better equipped than ever to carry out its mission: to continue being the kind of organization that deserves such high marks for service to the Nation.