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Transformational Satellite Communications System and Space Radar but 
Still Faces Challenges' which was released on August 3, 2007. 

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August 2, 2007: 

The Honorable Bill Nelson: 
Chairman: 
The Honorable Jeff Sessions: 
Ranking Member: 
Subcommittee on Strategic Forces: 
Committee on Armed Services: 
United States Senate: 

The Honorable Ellen Tauscher: 
Chairwoman: 
The Honorable Terry Everett: 
Ranking Member: 
Subcommittee on Strategic Forces: 
Committee on Armed Services: 
House of Representatives: 

The Honorable Sylvestre Reyes: 
House of Representatives: 

Subject: DOD is Making Progress in Adopting Best Practices for the 
Transformational Satellite Communications System and Space Radar but 
Still Faces Challenges Face Radar but Still Faces Challenges: 

The Department of Defense (DOD) is working to achieve information 
superiority over adversaries and share information seamlessly among 
disparate weapons systems. Two programs envisioned as a part of this 
effort are Transformational Satellite Communications System (TSAT) and 
Space Radar. TSAT is designed to provide rapid worldwide secure 
communications with air and space systems--including Space Radar-- 
through radio frequency and laser communications links. Space Radar is 
expected to provide global all-weather intelligence, surveillance, and 
reconnaissance, particularly in denied areas, for military, national 
intelligence, and civil users. Both TSAT and Space Radar will require 
major software development efforts and employ a significant number of 
experienced staff. 

TSAT and Space Radar development efforts are expected to be among the 
most costly space systems ever developed by DOD. In 2004, TSAT was 
estimated to have a total life cycle cost of about $16 billion, of 
which $2.0 billion will have been spent at the end of fiscal year 2007. 
Space Radar is estimated to have a total life cycle cost from $20 
billion to $25 billion, and the program has spent about approximately 
$464.5 million. TSAT expects to begin product development in fiscal 
year 2008, and launch the first satellite in the first quarter of 
fiscal year 2016. Space Radar expects to begin product development in 
fiscal year 2009 and launch the first satellite in third quarter of 
fiscal year 2016. The systems are also expected to be among the most 
complex ever developed, largely because of the challenges associated 
with integrating critical technologies within the satellites and 
networking the satellites to other platforms. 

You requested that we assess DOD's progress in adopting best practice 
as both of these programs proceed toward product development. We 
presented our findings on TSAT and Space Radar in briefings to your 
staffs in March 2007. This letter summarizes our findings, conclusions, 
and recommendations. Copies of the briefings are enclosed. 

Results in Brief: 

DOD is making efforts to instill best practices on TSAT and Space 
Radar. These practices, as GAO has identified over the past decade, are 
to separate technology discovery from acquisition, follow an 
incremental path toward meeting user needs, match resources and 
requirements at program start, and use quantifiable data to make 
decisions to move to next phases. Collectively, these practices ensure 
a high level of knowledge is achieved at key junctures in development 
and that a program does not go forward unless a strong business case on 
which the program was originally justified continues to hold true. 

However, sustaining these efforts could prove challenging. 
Specifically: 

˛ Successful organizations we have studied ensure that technologies are 
mature, that is, proven to work as intended before program start. In 
the past DOD has chosen to extend technology invention into the 
acquisition process, and as a result, programs have experienced 
technical problems that require large amounts of time and money to fix. 
By contrast, best practice organizations mature technologies to the 
point of being tested in a relevant or operational environment before 
committing to an acquisition program. 

TSAT and Space Radar have made progress in the maturation of 
technologies, but challenges remain. In a June 2007 update, DOD 
determined that six of the seven critical technologies for TSAT are at 
a technology readiness level (TRL) 6 (meaning the technology has been 
tested in a relevant environment), and the program expects to have the 
remaining technology at a TRL 6 prior to the preliminary design phase. 
Space Radar expects to have almost all critical technologies mature to 
a TRL 6 by program start in June 2009. However, the program currently 
has five critical technologies assessed to be TRL 3 to TRL 4. This 
signifies that DOD will need to gain significant knowledge on these 
technologies to gain sufficient insight into costs and schedule to be 
well positioned for success by program start. In addition, the program 
office acknowledges that some of the seven technology risks it has 
rated as high, including risks related to spectrum, software, and 
integration with space radar users, will not be fully mitigated prior 
to program start. 

˛ Successful organizations defer more ambitious technology efforts to 
corporate research departments (equivalent to the science and 
technology [S&T] organization in DOD) until they are ready to be added 
to future increments. Our best practice work has shown that a 
technology development environment is more forgiving and less costly 
than a delivery-oriented acquisition program environment. Events such 
as test failures, new discoveries, and time spent attaining knowledge 
are considered normal in this environment. 

Both programs have deferred more ambitious technology development 
efforts to the science and technology environment. TSAT, for example, 
deferred the inclusion of the wide-field of view multi-access 
communication technology to reduce risk on the program, and is 
currently contributing about $16.7 million for "off-line" maturation of 
this technology until opportunities arise for including it as part of 
future increments. In addition, it also eliminated multi-access laser 
communications[Footnote 1] capabilities from consideration for future 
increments at this time due to the immaturity level of the technology. 
Space Radar has deferred lithium-ion batteries, more efficient solar 
cells, and onboard processing for its first increment, and like TSAT, 
is contributing toward their development by S&T organizations. At this 
time, Space Radar has not defined details of an increment beyond the 
first one. 

˛ Successful organizations extensively research and define requirements 
before program start to ensure that they are achievable, given 
available resources, and that they do not define requirements after 
starting programs. In successful programs, negotiations and trade-offs 
occur before product development is started to ensure that a match 
exists between customer expectations and developer resources. 

Both programs have also strived to employ best practices to help 
identify and determine achievability of requirements. In 2006, the TSAT 
program was restructured into an incremental approach to control risk 
and increase confidence in the program schedule, putting agreements in 
place between development partners that organize capabilities into 
blocks based on technological maturity. For example, TSAT has reached 
agreements with groups representing the needs of users and warfighters 
that addresses which requirements will be included in the first and 
second blocks of the program. Space Radar has also developed an 
approach to obtain agreement and collaboration among users on program 
requirements. In an effort to facilitate communication and reach 
agreement over requirements between program partners within DOD and the 
Intelligence Community (IC), Space Radar has proactively introduced a 
variety of working groups that provide the program with a consolidated 
senior group of participants to validate, coordinate and integrate 
Space Radar requirements and concepts of operations throughout project 
development. Nevertheless, the Space Radar development effort has not 
yet had to fully define program requirements, including key performance 
parameters. Until all requirements are defined, vetted, and validated, 
the program office could still face challenges in closing potential 
gaps between requirements and resources. 

˛ Successful organizations ensure other resources--primarily funding, 
time, and people --can also be matched to requirements before program 
start. Funding: Both programs face long-term challenges for funding. As 
DOD seeks to fund Space Radar and TSAT, it will be (1) undertaking 
other new, costly efforts, including the Global Positioning System III, 
the Space Based Surveillance System, and the Alternative Infrared 
Satellite System; (2) addressing cost overruns associated with legacy 
programs; and (3) facing increased pressures to ramp up investments in 
assets designed to protect space systems. In total, these efforts will 
increase DOD's investment for all major space acquisitions from $6.31 
billion to $9.22 billion, or about 46 percent over the next 3 years. 
More may be needed if technical, software, and other problems on 
current programs worsen. At the same time, investment needs for other 
weapon systems are also on the rise, while long-term budget forecasts 
indicate that considerably fewer dollars will be available for 
discretionary spending in coming years rather than more. Funding for 
Space Radar is further complicated by the lack of long-term funding 
agreements beyond fiscal year 2013, adding uncertainty to DOD's and the 
intelligence community's ability to afford expensive programs such as 
Space Radar. To its credit, Space Radar has worked to establish a key 
funding agreement between DOD and the intelligence community that 
addresses short-term cost sharing responsibilities. In prior reports, 
we have stated that as long as too many programs compete for too few 
dollars in DOD, programs will be incentivized to produce optimistic 
estimates and suppress bad news. They will view success as securing the 
next installment of funds versus delivering capability within cost and 
schedule goals. We have recommended that DOD guide its decisions to 
start space and other weapons acquisition programs with an overall 
investment strategy that would identify priorities for funding so that 
space systems that are expected to play a critical role in 
transformation, such as Space Radar and TSAT, could be priorities along 
with other legacy and transformational systems. To date, this has not 
been done for space or for DOD's broader weapons portfolio. 

Schedule: Schedules for both programs may also be optimistic. The TSAT 
program may have underestimated the time for design, integration, and 
production activities. For example, TSAT embarked on a major software 
development effort in January 2006 that would build the overall network 
architecture and provide network management capabilities for TSAT and 
Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellites, but DOD's Program 
Analysis & Evaluation office has expressed concern about the overall 
complexity of the program and the ability of the contractors to write 
enough software code in one year as is necessary for the program to 
proceed effectively. In addition, the Space Radar schedule is shorter 
between program start and initial launch capability than what DOD has 
achieved for other complex satellite systems. The Space Radar 
acquisition timeframe from program start to initial launch capability 
is 86 months, which our analysis shows is shorter than what DOD has 
achieved or estimated for other complex satellite systems. 

Workforce: TSAT also faces further challenges in meeting workforce 
personnel requirements to manage and oversee the program in the future, 
such as the impact from future Air Force workforce reductions of 40,000 
active duty personnel--positions that the Air Force may not be able to 
fill with civilians due to budgetary constraints. 

Conclusion: 

Continued efforts by the programs to instill best practices on TSAT and 
Space Radar are good steps toward addressing acquisition problems, 
representing significant shifts in thinking about how space systems 
should be developed. While these steps can help better position these 
programs for success, they will not work without adhering to 
commitments to delay milestone decisions or make trade-offs if there 
are still gaps between requirements and resources. DOD space program 
and senior officials recognize this and have expressed a commitment to 
delay program milestones in order to provide the time needed to match 
resources to requirements, if necessary. However, DOD has not addressed 
funding pressures that have encouraged premature program starts and too 
much optimism for past satellite development efforts. 

Recommendation for Executive Action: 

To ensure that TSAT and Space Radar do not succumb to funding pressures 
within DOD, we recommend that the Secretary of Defense direct the Under 
Secretary of the Air Force to identify potential gaps between 
requirements and resources before approving the start of product 
development and, if necessary, adjust requirements and resources to 
increase the likelihood of achieving program cost, schedule, and 
performance goals. 

We provided a draft of this letter to DOD for review and comment. DOD 
concurred with our recommendation and provided technical comments, 
which were incorporated where appropriate. DOD's letter is reprinted as 
Appendix I. 

Scope and Methodology: 

To assess DOD's progress in adopting best practices as both of these 
programs proceed toward product development, we obtained and analyzed 
pertinent documents from the program offices at the Air Force Space and 
Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, California. We 
reviewed budget documents, risk management plans, and risk handling 
plans as well as requirements documentation for both TSAT and Space 
Radar. We also reviewed acquisition strategies, program office and 
prime contractor schedules, and technology development plans for both 
programs. 

To accomplish our work, we conducted interviews with cognizant and 
responsible program officials at Space and Missile Systems Center in El 
Segundo, California, and with Department of Defense officials in 
Arlington, Virginia. We also met with Air Force Space Command officials 
at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, as well as the Space Radar 
Integrated Program Office in Chantilly, Virginia. We also visited 
contractor facilities in California, Colorado, and Maryland. 

We conducted our work from July 2006 to March 2007 in accordance with 
generally accepted government auditing standards. 

We will send copies of the letter to Department of Defense and 
interested congressional committees. We will also make copies available 
to others upon request. 

Should you or your staff have any questions on matters discussed in 
this report, please contact me at (202) 512-4841 or chaplainc@gao.gov 
contact points for our Offices of Congressional Relations and Public 
Affairs may be found on the last page of this report. Principal 
contributors to this report were Art Gallegos, Assistant Director; 
Josie Sigl; Ann Hobson; Arturo Holguin; Jeff Barron; Rich Horiuchi; 
Maria Durant; Jackie Wade; Tony Beckham; and Hai Tran. 

Signed by: 

Cristina Chaplain:
Director: 
Acquisition and Sourcing Management: 

[End of section] 

Enclosure I: Comments from the Department of Defense: 

Office Of The Assistant Secretary Of Defense: 
6000 Defense Pentagon: 
Washington, DC 20301-6000: 
Networks And Information Integration: 

Jul 20 2007: 

Ms. Christina Chaplain: 
Director, Acquisition and Sourcing Management: 
U. S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street, N.W., 
Washington, D.C. 20548: 

Dear Ms. Chaplain, 

This is the Department of Defense (DoD) response to the Government 
Accountability Office (GAO) draft report 07-1029R, `DOD is Making 
Progress in Adopting Best Practices for the Transformational Satellite 
Communications System and Space Radar but Still Faces Challenges,' 
dated June 19, 2007, (GAO Code 120647). The GAO assessment of the 
Transformational Satellite Communications System and Space Radar 
programs was informative and provided additional insight into issues 
the Department was addressing with the Air Force since early 2006. The 
Department concurs with the GAO recommendation and enclosed is a 
response. 

The principle action officer for this effort is Mr. Frank Myers. He can 
be contacted at (703) 607-0289 or by email at frank.myers@osd.mil. 

Signed by: 

Dr. Ronald Jost: 
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (C3, Space and Spectrum): 

Enclosure: 
As stated: 

GAO Draft Report June 19, 2007 GAO-07-1029R (GAO Code 120647): 

"DOD Is Making Progress In Adopting Best Practices For The 
Transformational Satellite Communications System And Space Radar But 
Still Faces Challenges" 

Department Of Defense Comments To The GAO Recommendations: 

Recommendation 1: The GAO recommends that the Secretary of Defense 
direct the Under Secretary of the Air Force to identify potential gaps 
between requirements and resources before approving the start product 
development, and if necessary, adjust requirements and resources to 
increase the likelihood of achieving cost, schedule, and performance 
goals. (Page 8/GAO Draft Report): 

DOD Response: The Department of Defense (DoD) concurs with the GAO 
recommendation. DoD agrees that requirements and resources need to be 
synchronized to ensure space acquisition programs succeed. For space 
programs, DoD, and specifically the Under Secretary of the Air Force, 
implemented a Back to Basics philosophy that is focused on maturing 
technology prior to acquisition and delivery capability in smaller but 
value-added increments through the use of a Block Approach. In this 
paradigm, each specific capability increment is based on a balance of 
capability, delivery timeline, technology maturity, risk and budget. 
Tradeoffs in these areas mitigate any disconnects between requirements 
and resources as well between requirements and technology. A Block 
Approach for space acquisition, coupled with a robust Science and 
Technology program to mature technologies and reduce risk, greatly 
minimizes the potential for programs to experience significant cost 
growth and schedule delays. 

[End of section] 

Enclosure II: Space Radar Briefing Slides: 

Space Radar: 

Briefing to Staff of the Subcommittees on Strategic Forces Armed 
Services Committees: 

Preliminary Findings: 

March 13, 2007: 

Briefing Contents: 

Background: 
Objective: 
Preliminary Findings: 
Conclusions: 
Scope of Work: 
Back-Up Slides: 

Background: System Description and Capabilities: 

Through an integrated program office, the Department of Defense (DOD) 
and the intelligence community (IC) are collaborating to develop a 
single common radar system, called Space Radar (SR), to provide global, 
persistent, all-weather, day and night, intelligence, surveillance and 
reconnaissance capabilities, particularly in denied areas. 

As envisioned, SR is to consist of a constellation of low earth 
orbiting satellites, ground systems and communications network, and 
would generate large volumes of radar data for transmission to ground-, 
air-, ship-, and space-based platforms. 

The core capabilities of SR are to include: 

* Synthetic aperture radar imaging, surface moving target indication, 
open ocean surveillance, high-resolution terrain information, and 
advanced geospatial intelligence. 

* Processing, disseminating, and exploiting collected data to support 
both national and theater users. 

Background: Program Cost and Complexity: 

SR could be one of the more expensive and complex space systems DOD has 
ever tried to develop. According to the program office, system 
capabilities of the SR constellation will exceed that of any current on-
orbit system. 

The Integrated Program Office estimates the cost of developing, 
producing, and operating the system through 2027 from $20 billion to 
$25 billion. 

Ground segment processing systems will have to handle the large volumes 
of data to be produced by the satellites. The program office estimates 
that the SR ground segment development effort represents one of the 
most significant challenges to the program and may involve about 5.3 
million lines of new and reused software code. 

Background: Management and Stakeholders: 

Through the Integrated Program Office in Chantilly, VA, the Air Force, 
National Reconnaissance Organization (NRO), and National Geospatial-
Intelligence Agency (NGA) are responsible for space and ground segment 
development. 

The primary stakeholders are those agencies who will be developing, 
operating, supporting, and using the products of the SR system to 
support military warfighting and national intelligence requirements as 
well as civil objectives, including the military services, combatant 
commands, combat support agencies, Joint Chiefs of Staff, the IC, and 
civil agencies. 

Background: Program Status: 

The development effort is currently in the concept development phase, 
focusing on technology development and systems engineering activities. 

Product development is scheduled to begin in fiscal year 2009 and the 
first satellite is scheduled to be ready for launch in n fiscal year 
2016. 

With recent congressional concerns and funding reductions, the Under 
Secretary of the Air Force has re-focused the SR acquisition approach. 

Currently 10 satellites are to be developed (9 plus 1 spare however, 
the definitive number of satellites is still under consideration until 
key decision point-B (KDP-B), also known as program start. 

Background: Knowledge About Requirements and Resources Should Influence 
Program Start: 

Our Best Practices reports show that gaining knowledge about 
requirements and resources before product development is important for 
space acquisition success. 

The following steps should occur before acquisition programs are 
initiated: 

* Fully define and stabilize requirements; 

* Assure other resources will be available (funding, technology, time); 
and: 

* Mature technologies to the point of being tested in a relevant or 
realistic environment (technology readiness level 6-7) to reduce the 
likelihood of costly and time-consuming rework during acquisition. 

Objective: 

Assess DOD's efforts to gain knowledge of requirements and resources as 
the Space Radar development efforts proceed toward product development. 

Results in Brief: 

Program has strived to close knowledge gaps: 

* Requirements: program has developed tools to get agreement and 
collaboration among users and development partners.[: 

* Resources: 

- Program is following incremental acquisition approach which focuses 
on use of mature technologies and is taking other actions to reduce 
technical risk. 

- Program has reached agreements, reflected in budget, for cost sharing 
over the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP). 

Challenges remain: 

* Requirements: Key performance parameters still to be defined. 

* Resources: 

- Program may not have planned enough time for design, integration, and 
production activities. 

- High-level agreements between DOD and the intelligence community for 
long term (beyond FYDP) cost sharing and defining management roles and 
responsibilities have not been finalized. 

- Growth in DOD's space investment portfolio raises questions about its 
ability to afford expensive development efforts such as SR. 

Preliminary Findings: 

Program Has Strived to Close Gaps: Requirements: 

Program has developed tools to get agreement and collaboration among 
users and development partners at both high and lower levels of 
management. 

* Requirements and Capabilities Working Group: 

* Requirements and Capabilities Group: 

* Executive Committee: 

* Executive Steering Group: 

* Joint Requirements Oversight Council/Mission Requirements Board: 

According to the program office, coordination efforts on developing 
requirements to date have been effective: 

Resources - Technology: 

Program is to include mature technologies and not push to adopt 
advanced technologies (such as on-board processing, lithium-ion 
batteries, and more efficient solar cells) unless they become mature in 
time for preliminary design review (PDR). Efforts to develop follow-on 
satellites have yet to be defined. 

Table: Technology Expected to Be Mature at Program Start: 

Technology: Analog to digital converter; 
Current TRL: TRL 3; 
Work to Be Done: Develop space-qualified advanced analog to digital 
converter; 
Expected TRL at KDP-B: TRL 5 [1]. 

Technology: Integrated radio frequency assembly; 
Current TRL: TRL 4; 
Work to Be Done: Integration and demonstration of radar tiles and 
panels (including panel-mounted electronics), radar electronic unit, 
and front-end processor.  Demonstrate an integrated subscale 
electronically scanned array antenna over simulated expected 
environments; 
Expected TRL at KDP-B: TRL 6. 

Technology: Low earth orbit laser communication terminal; 
Current TRL: TRL 4; 
Work to Be Done: Laser terminal to be demonstrated in low earth orbit 
simulated environment; 
Expected TRL at KDP-B: TRL 6. 

Technology: Surface moving target indication processing algorithms; 
Current TRL: TRL 4; 
Work to Be Done: Establish and demonstrate algorithm test beds; expand 
data repository with relevant synthetic/collected data; validate 
performance against stressing, full-scale datasets; 
Expected TRL at KDP-B: TRL 6. 

Technology: Open ocean surveillance processing algorithms; 
Current TRL: TRL 3; 
Work to Be Done: Performance of open ocean surveillance processing 
algorithms to be demonstrated using test bed aircraft, synthetic, and 
other data to validate performance predictions; 
Expected TRL at KDP-B: TRL 6. 

[1] Note: The program office is coordinating plans for demonstrating 
the maturity of the advanced analog to digital converter. It has 
established an initial test program but needs to resolve whether or not 
testing is required at a higher level of assembly to meet the standard 
for demonstrating technology maturity at KDP-B. 

[End of table] 

Current technology readiness levels (TRL) of critical technologies are 
low-TRL 3 to TRL 4. 

With one exception, the program office expects to have mature critical 
technologies-TRL 6-at KDP-B (initiation of product development). 
Concept definition contracts do not stipulate maturing technologies to 
TRL 6 but require the demonstration of "appropriate" technology 
maturity for a KDP-B technology maturity assessment. 

Section 2366a of Title 10, United States Code, stipulates that a major 
defense acquisition program may not receive KDP-B approval until the 
milestone decision authority certifies that, among other things, the 
technology in the program has been demonstrated in a relevant 
environment. According to the program office, this requirement can be 
satisfied with TRL 6. 

Program Has Strived to Close Gaps: Resources - Technology: 

Technical risk: 

* Program has proactively identified and categorized risks and 
developed plans to address them. 

* Program established a software division at the same level as other 
major divisions within the program office to elevate the visibility of 
software development and oversight. 

Resources - Cost Sharing: 

According to the program office, a short-term agreement through fiscal 
year 2013 has been established and used for developing the fiscal year 
2008 budget estimates. NRO Military Intelligence Program is to fund the 
SR program at least through FY13 (Air Force provided funding prior to 
FY08). 

Challenges Remain - Requirements:  

Key performance parameters still to be defined and most requirement 
performance specifications remain to be finalized or determined. 

Challenges Remain - Program May Not Have Planned Enough Time: 

GAO analysis shows acquisition time-frame from program start (KDP B) to 
initial launch capability (ILC) for SR is shorter than what DOD has 
achieved or estimated for other complex satellite systems. (First 
chart): 

GAO analysis also shows the time period between preliminary design 
review (PDR) and critical design review (CDR) for SR is shorter than 
other major space programs. (Second chart): 

PDR determines whether preliminary designs are complete and if the 
program is prepared to start detailed design and test procedure 
development. CDR assesses the systems final design and according to GAO 
best practices, at least 90% of engineering drawings should be 
completed to provide tangible evidence that the design is stable. 

Comparison of Months Between Program Milestones: 

Figure: Space program schedules from KDP-B to Initial Launch Capability 
(months): 

[See PDF for image] 

Note: All programs with (e) denotation used current estimated dates for 
Initial Launch Capability. SBIRS - Space Based Infrared: 

Source: GAO analysis of DOD data System: 

[End of figure] 

Comparison of Space Programs from Preliminary Design Review (PDR) to 
Critical Design Review (CDR): 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO analysis of DOD data: 

[End of figure] 

Program office officials believe the timeframe is conservative because 
unlike other programs, they are conducting extensive up-front systems 
engineering, technology development efforts, and requirements analyses 
during Phase A. They also stated that the initial launch date is 
established through systems engineering analyses and a funding 
availability assessment. 

We agree that the Phase A efforts are reducing risk and have been shown 
to reduce development time when employed by successful organizations. 

However, the SR development effort is perhaps more complex than other 
space system acquisitions when considering software and other 
development activities. E.g., software effort alone expected to be 
among most complex to date. 

Challenges Remain: Key risks need to be mitigated: 

Program has rated 7 risks as high, including risks related to spectrum, 
software, and integration with space radar users. Program office 
acknowledges that some of these risks can not be fully mitigated prior 
to KDP-B. 

[See PDF for Image] 

Source: Space Radar Integrated Program Office. 

[End of figure] 

Examples of top risks of the development effort: 

Table: Risk and Consequence of Occurrence: 

If: Program office does not take the necessary steps to understand the 
periodicity and magnitude of interference on other spectrum users and 
communicate this risk to prime contractors/payload developer. 

Then: Radar payload performance and mission utility will be reduced. 

If: Program office does not take the necessary steps to understand the 
periodicity and magnitude of interference from other spectrum users and 
communicate this risk to prime contractors/payload developer. 

Then: Mission performance will be inadequate. 

If: Horizontally integrated tasking, processing, exploitation, and 
dissemination end-to-end requirements are not defined and allocated to 
pace Radar partner agencies 6 months prior to system design review. 

Ten: Horizontal integration goals may not be achieved resulting in 
performance degradation or cost growth and schedule slippage due to 
redesign.  

If: Integration and testing of the prototype payload panel reveals 
characteristics that will not meet Space Radar mission requirements or 
other impacts. 

Then: Significant Changes to panel design may be required, impacting 
the payload integration and testing schedule. 

If: Program office software acquisition process is inadequate for 
providing SR functionality that will require extensive development by 
multiple parties and integration of complex software on a schedule that 
is known to be aggressive. (According to the program office, software 
in general and large, complex space system software in particular have 
a history of not meeting schedule, cost, and functionality 
requirements.) 

Then: Cost increase and schedule slippage and/or functionality, ranging 
from minor through Nunn-McCurdy breach to possible program failure may 
occur. 

[A] Due to security classification, not all top risks of the 
development effort are listed. Source: SR Integrated Program Office: 

[End of table] 

The program office states that it can adequately address these risks 
because it has or will have sufficient numbers of systems engineers and 
detailed risk mitigation plans in place. We acknowledge the program's 
attention to risk mitigation and efforts to bring on systems engineers 
but do not have evidence to show how its risk mitigation measures go 
beyond other acquisitions efforts, which were not successful in 
addressing similar risks. 

Challenges Remain - Agreements Need to be Finalized: Cost sharing: 

Long-term cost-share agreement (beyond FYDP) between DOD and the 
intelligence community has not been established. 

* In January 2005, the Secretary of Defense and the Director of Central 
Intelligence committed to share the cost in developing an SR 
capability. 

* A formal agreement that includes a time period beyond fiscal year 
2013 has yet to be signed. 

* Program office expects a cost-sharing agreement to be signed in 
Spring of 2007. 

Given recent changes in leadership (E.g., Secretary of Defense, Under 
Secretary for Intelligence, Director of National Intelligence) and the 
varied interests and missions of the SR development partners, it is 
important that commitments to cost sharing be formalized soon. 

Challenges Remain - Agreements Need to be Finalized: Roles and 
Responsibilities: 

Memorandum of agreement between DOD and IC drafted to define management 
and oversight roles and responsibilities, including defining the 
milestone decision authority has not been finalized. 

* According to the DOD officials, the memorandum of agreement is to be 
finalized within 30 days. 

Challenges Remain - Program Affordability: 

Growth in DOD's space investment portfolio raises questions about its 
ability to afford expensive programs such as SR. 

* DOD's investment for all major space acquisitions for space from 2006 
through 2009 is expected to increase about 46 percent, from $6.31 
billion to $9.22 billion. 

* Space Radar is being undertaken at the same time as other major, 
costly efforts, including Transformational Satellite Communications 
System, Global Positioning System III, Alternative Infrared Satellite 
System. 

* In addition to these new programs, DOD is still addressing cost 
overruns associated with legacy programs like Space Based Infrared 
Systems High. Moreover, it is likely that DOD will be pressured to 
increase funding space protection/control. DOD has not developed an 
overall investment strategy for its portfolio of space programs or 
conducted affordability assessments which would help prioritize space 
radar against other space and non-space investments. 

Conclusions: 

Our best practices work shows that a knowledge-based process can enable 
decision makers to be reasonably certain about their programs and make 
informed investment decisions. SR is working toward closing gaps 
between requirements and resources and has adopted our recommended 
practices for negotiating requirements and maturing technologies. 
However, if gaps remain at product development between requirements and 
resources, SR must be prepared to conduct trade-off analyses or defer 
milestones to increase the likelihood of achieving program cost and 
schedule goals. 

Scope of Work: 

Key documents reviewed: 

* SR requirements documentation (Initial Capabilities Document and 
current versions of the Capabilities Development Document and Concept 
of Operations): 

* Risk Management Plan and risk handling plans: 

* System Acquisition Strategy: 

* SR KDP-A Technology Readiness Assessment: 

* Program office and prime contractor schedules and technology 
development plans: 

* National Security Space Acquisition Policy: 

* Selected Acquisition Reports for major DOD space acquisitions: 

Locations for interviews and documentation: 

Air Force: 

* Space Radar Integrated Program Office, Chantilly, VA and Los Angeles 
Air Force Base: 

* Air Force Space Command, Peterson Air Force Base, CO: 

* Air Force National Security Space Office, Fairfax, VA: 

* Office of the Under Secretary of the Air Force, Washington, DC: 

Other Defense: 

* Office of the Secretary of Defense, Program Analysis and Evaluation, 
Arlington, VA: 

* Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (J-2 and J-8), Arlington, VA: 

* Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, 
and Logistics, Arlington, VA: 

* Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, Arlington, 
VA: 

* Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Science and 
Technology, Arlington, VA: 

* Institute for Defense Analyses, Alexandria, VA: 

* National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, Chantilly, VA: 

* U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base, NE: 

SR Contractors: 

* Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, Baltimore, MD: 

* Northrop Grumman Space Technology, Redondo Beach, CA: 

* Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Littleton, CO: 

Other: 

* Congressional Budget Office: 

We conducted our work from August 2006 to February 2007 in accordance 
with generally accepted government auditing standards. 

[End of section] 

Enclosure III: Transformational Satellite Communications System (TSAT): 

Transformational Satellite Communications System (TSAT): 

Briefing to Congressional Committee Staff: 

March 13, 2007:

Briefing Contents:

Objective:
Background:
GAO Findings:
Conclusions:
Scope and Methodology:

Background: Importance of TSAT: 

DOD is transforming its military capabilities. As part of this effort, 
it plans to:

achieve information superiority over adversaries, and: 

share information seamlessly among disparate weapons systems. 

One of the key transformation initiatives is the Global Information 
Grid (GIG), a collection of programs and initiatives modeled after the 
Internet that is aimed at building a secure information network for 
enhanced rapid decision making. 

The Transformational Satellite Communications System (TSAT), the space-
borne element of the GIG, is designed to provide more rapid world-wide 
secure communications with other systems using radio frequency and 
laser (lasercom) crosslinks. 

For example, in less than a second, TSAT could disseminate a radar 
image from a Global Hawk that would take Milstar 12 minutes and the 
Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) systems 2 minutes to 
disseminate. 

Cost, Funding & Schedule: 

[See PDF for Image] 

[End of figure] 

The program has spent about $2.1billion since its inception. The 
funding estimate for FY 07 is almost $733 million. 

Entry into the system development and demonstration phase is scheduled 
for the first quarter of FY 2008. 

Initial launch is scheduled for first quarter, fiscal year 2016. 

DOD and the Air Force reduced the FY 08 TSAT budget request by about 
$573 million.  The Air Force has also moved the first launch from FY 15 
to FY 16. 

Acquisition Schedule: 

[See PDF for Image] 

[End of figure] 

Incremental Block Approach: 

As GAO reported last year, DOD restructured the TSAT program to better 
position it to gain critical knowledge before it enters the preliminary 
design phase. 

Before TSAT moves to product development: 
all critical technologies must be mature, and: 

system design review (SDR) must be complete prior to seeking 
preliminary design phase approval. 

Through a “block” acquisition approach, the program is to: 

control risk through flexibility by scaling the capabilities initially 
delivered in the first block; 

meet the goal of maintaining scheduled deployment; and: 

provide the ability to add additional capabilities in subsequent blocks.

Since the last GAO report, the program has specified what technologies 
will be included in TSAT Blocks 1 and 2. 

Objective: 

Assess DOD’s efforts to gain knowledge of requirements and resources as 
the TSAT program proceeds toward product development. 

Results in Brief: 

TSAT program has continued to gain knowledge about requirements and 
technologies:

* Reflected agreements on requirements in specifying future blocks. 

* Made progress in technology maturation activities during FY 2006 and 
the first quarter of FY 2007, and continues to focus on maturing its 
key subsystem technologies to a technology readiness level (TRL) 6. 

Challenges remain in matching other resources: 

* Technology:

- Early tests have revealed challenges in laser communication: 

- Limited scalability analyses raises integration risks: 

* Time: Program may not have planned enough time for activities 
involved with networking TSAT to other DOD systems: 

* People: Program is not able to fill critical technical positions. 

Program Has Strived to Close Gaps: Requirements:

After restructuring, program worked with users and other stakeholders 
to reflect agreements on requirements in its plans for the subsequent 
increment, or block, of TSAT. 

Note on broader DOD requirements: Even with TSAT and other DOD 
satellites assets, gaps between bandwidth needs and resources are 
expected to continue to grow, requiring continued dependence on 
commercial bandwidth. Moreover, systems such as Space Radar, may not be 
able to rely on TSAT. More data provided in backup slides. 

Maturing Technology: 

TSAT continues to focus on maturing its key subsystem technologies to a 
technology readiness level (TRL) 6. Systems tested at this level are 
considered to be sufficiently mature and have been tested in a relevant 
environment. 

According to the program office, in FY 07, the three technologies not 
already at TRL-6 remain on track to achieve TRL-6, prior to the 
preliminary design phase. 

The final test analysis for Phase II testing will not be available 
until the end of the third quarter of FY 07. 13 

Critical Technologies: Communication on-the-move antenna (COTM); 
Technology Readiness Level (TRL): 6; 
Purpose: Enables high capacity data communications to small terminals 
(e.g., one foot antennas). 

Critical Technologies: Packet processing payload; 
Technology Readiness Level (TRL): 6; 
Purpose: Converts incoming radio signals into digital data for delivery 
to the correct Internet-like address. 

Critical Technologies: Information Assurance-Transmission Security; 
Technology Readiness Level (TRL): 6; 
Purpose: Protects transmissions from jamming and interception. 

Critical Technologies: Information Assurance-Space High Assurance 
Internet Protocol Encryptor (HAIPE); 
Technology Readiness Level (TRL): 6; 
Purpose: Facilitates security between network nodes. 

Critical Technologies: Bandwidth Efficient Modulation (XDR+); 
Technology Readiness Level (TRL): 5; 
Purpose: Allows higher capacity protected communications. 

Critical Technologies: Dynamic Bandwidth Resource Allocation (DBRA); 
Technology Readiness Level (TRL): 5; 
Purpose: Adjusts on-orbit resource allocations more efficiently, which 
will allow more users to be serviced simultaneously. 

Critical Technologies: Single-access Laser Communications; 
Technology Readiness Level (TRL): 5; 
Purpose: Provides a high bandwidth medium to transmit huge amounts of 
data between satellites. 

[End of table] 

Challenges Remain:  Early tests have revealed challenges in laser 
communication: 

Phase I testing involved two major components: Next Generation 
Processor Router (NGPR) and lasercom. The program office is satisfied 
with Phase I test results and is proceeding with Phase II tests.

Challenges Remain:  Limited Scalability Testing Adds Risk: 

As GAO previously reported in 2006, assessing scalability is an 
integral part of technology development testing. 

*  Scalability analysis during the technology development phase can be 
used to demonstrate whether a satellite can support thousands of users, 
including those connected via communications-on-the-move technology in 
a theater of operations.

According to TSAT officials, scalability analysis to date has been 
focused on functionality at a very small scale (5-10 users). 

Conducting detailed scalability analysis during the current phase could 
reduce risk during subsequent integration effort, which is the most 
risky phase of a satellite program. 

Challenges Remain:  Program Faces Inherent Integration Risks: 

According to an official from the Office of Program Analysis & 
Evaluation (PA&E), although the TSAT program is making strides in 
maturing the critical technologies, these new technologies must still 
be integrated into a single space communications system making the TSAT 
development effort inherently risky. 

GAO has previously reported on the inherent risks of integration. To 
ensure program success, it is important that all significant testing 
issues be resolved before DOD authorizes the program to enter the 
formal acquisition process. 

Software Development Schedule Optimistic: 

A TMOS cost-plus award fee contract valued at over $2.0 billion was 
awarded to Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems and Solutions in January 
2006 to: 

develop the overall network architecture; and: 

provide network management capabilities for TSAT and AEHF satellites. 

*  TMOS involves a major software development effort and is to provide, 
among other things, communications mission planning, policy management, 
external network coordination, and situational awareness/common 
operational picture in a secure environment. 

Challenges Remain: Program may not have planned enough time for 
networking activities: 

TMOS delivery schedule may be optimistic. 

PA&E has expressed concern about the overall complexity of the TSAT 
program and that the TMOS program is optimistic in the amount of 
software code that can be written in a year. 

DOD and the Air Force reduced the FY 08 TSAT budget request by about 
$573 million. The Air Force has also moved the first launch from FY 15 
to FY 16. 

Challenges Remain: Program is not able to fill critical technical 
positions: 

Over the next five years, the Air Force is to experience a projected 
decrease of 40,000 active duty positions. TSAT program expects to be 
impacted. 

*  The program office lacks the authorization to meet its government 
personnel needs due to the workforce reductions. The program office 
does not expect to receive the number of personnel requested for FY 
2008. 

*  Program officials said they will need additional government 
personnel to carry out oversight and management functions in the long-
run.

Program Office Resources: 

From FY 06 to FY 07, the program’s budget increased by 77 percent, 
while program office military and civilian staff increased by 14 
percent.

In addition to the 76 staff for FY 06, the program office currently 
employs over 100 full-time equivalents from federally funded research 
development center (FFRDC) (primarily Aerospace Corporation).

The program office is currently developing a workforce plan intended to 
identify the necessary government personnel for the program. 

* Based on prior GAO reports, a workforce plan should include five key 
elements: 

-  involve management, employees, and stakeholders; 
-  analyze critical skill and competency gaps between current and 
future workforce needs; 
-  develop strategies to fill identified gaps; 
-  build capabilities to address requirements; and: 
- monitor and evaluate progress towards achieving strategic goals. 

Conclusions: 

Our best practices work shows that a knowledge-based process can enable 
decision makers to be reasonably certain about their programs and make 
informed investment decisions. TSAT is continuing to work toward 
closing gaps between requirements and resources and has adopted our 
recommended practices for maturing technologies. However, if gaps 
remain at product development between requirements and resources, TSAT 
must be prepared to conduct trade-off analyses or defer milestones to 
increase the likelihood of achieving program cost and schedule goals. 

Scope of Work: 

Key documents analyzed:

* Risk Management Plan and risk handling plans; 
* System TSAT requirements documentation (Block Delivery Plan); 
* Acquisition Strategy; 
* Program office and prime contractor schedules and technology 
development plans; 
* National Security Space Acquisition Policy; 
* DOD Funding Estimate Reports.   

We conducted our work between July 2006 and March 2007 in accordance 
with generally accepted government auditing standards.

[End of section] 

FOOTNOTES 

[1] Multi-access laser communications technology is to provide 
simultaneous communications for a number of optical users at very high 
data rates.

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