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entitled 'Defense Space Activities: Status of Reorganization' which 
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GAO-02-772R: 

United States General Accounting Office: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

June 26, 2002: 

The Honorable Carl Levin: 
Chairman:
The Honorable John Warner: 
Ranking Minority Member: 
Committee on Armed Services: 
United States Senate: 

The Honorable Bob Stump: 
Chairman:
The Honorable Ike Skelton: 
Ranking Minority Member: 
Committee on Armed Services: 
House of Representatives: 

Subject: Defense Space Activities: Status of Reorganization: 

The United States depends on space technology for a variety of 
national security activities as well as commercial operations. Space 
technology is integral to such diverse activities as transportation, 
health, the environment, communications, commerce, agriculture, and 
energy. However, the commercial, scientific, and military importance 
of U.S. space assets creates vulnerabilities that potential 
adversaries could exploit. Addressing these vulnerabilities presents 
challenges for the national security space community. As you know, the 
Congress has had long-standing concerns about the Department of 
Defense's organization and management of national security space 
activities, including the lack of a focal point for space policy, 
inadequate department-level oversight, inadequate coordination between 
military and intelligence organizations, lack of defined 
responsibilities for space programs, and insufficient responsiveness 
to space systems users. The Congress chartered the Commission to 
Assess United States National Security Space Management and 
Organization to assess the organization and management of space 
activities that support U.S. national security interests and make 
recommendations for improvements. The present Secretary of Defense, 
prior to his assuming his current position, led the commission, known 
as the Space Commission. 

In January 2001, the Space Commission reported that the Department of 
Defense's organization and management needed to be changed to bring a 
more focused and well-directed approach to national security space 
operations. The commission concluded that the department lacked the 
senior-level focus and accountability to provide guidance and 
oversight for space activities. Further, the commission noted that 
within the department and the intelligence community, a number of 
organizations (including the Office of Assistant Secretary of Defense 
for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence; the U.S. Space 
Command; the military services; the National Reconnaissance Office; 
and the Director of Central Intelligence) were involved in space 
programs but without an adequate interagency coordination process. The 
Air Force is the Department of Defense's primary procurer and operator 
of space systems, while the Army controls a defense satellite 
communications system and operates ground mobile terminals. The Navy 
operates some space systems that contribute to surveillance and 
warning. 

The commission made numerous recommendations, some of which called for 
presidential action. For example, the commission recommended that the 
President should consider establishing space as a national security 
priority. Most of the commission's recommendations, however, were 
applicable to the Department of Defense. For example, the commission 
made 13 recommendations to address organization and management 
problems, merge and realign space activities, enhance interagency 
communication, better integrate the experience of those involved in 
acquiring and operating space systems, encourage more innovative 
research and development, and improve visibility over funding for 
space-related activities. It also recommended that the Air Force be 
assigned statutory responsibility to organize, train, and equip for 
space operations because no service had been formally assigned this 
responsibility and the Air Force controls about 85 percent of space-
related funding within the Department of Defense. 

In the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002, the 
Congress mandated that we assess the actions taken by the Secretary of 
Defense in implementing the Space Commission's recommendations and 
report in 2002 and 2003. In April 2002, we briefed your office on the 
status of the Department of Defense's efforts to implement the Space 
Commission recommendations that apply to it. This report presents and 
updates information we provided at our briefings (see enclosure 1). As 
agreed, we expect to provide a second report further detailing the 
status of the Department of Defense's implementation efforts in early 
2003. 

Results in Brief: 

The Department of Defense has decided to take actions related to 10 of 
the commission's 13 recommendations to it to improve the organization 
and management of national security space activities. These include 
several recommendations for organizational changes aimed at 
consolidating some activities, changing chains of command, opening 
lines of communications, and modifying policies to achieve greater 
responsibility and accountability. Many changes have been implemented 
only within the last few months, and thus related processes and 
procedures (such as setting organizational goals and defining specific 
roles and responsibilities) have not been completed. As a result, it 
is too early to determine whether these changes will enable the 
department to promote and protect U.S. interests in space more 
effectively. Moreover, the department has not yet completed plans for 
achieving some long-range goals, such as developing a cadre of space 
professionals and integrating military and intelligence space 
activities. The Secretary of Defense chose not to implement three of 
the commission's recommendations and is instead (1) opting to 
establish a focal point for space within the Air Force rather than an 
under secretary of defense, (2) choosing to increase the Air Force's 
responsibilities for space activities by department directive rather 
than requesting legislative change, and (3) deciding to direct 
existing organizations to conduct innovative space research and 
development rather than create a new organization to do so. 

The Department of Defense commented on a draft of this report, and its 
comments have been incorporated where appropriate. 

Some Recommended Actions Are Completed, Others Are in Process, and 
Results Are Not Yet Clear: 

The Secretary of Defense agreed with the Space Commission's findings 
that the Department of Defense (DOD) needed a new and comprehensive 
national security space management approach to promote and protect 
U.S. interests in space. In a May 8, 2001, letter to the leaders of 
the defense and intelligence oversight committees, the Secretary 
informed the Congress that he would take actions to improve DOD's 
management structure and organization for national security space 
actions. In a directive dated October 18, 2001, he instructed his 
staff to implement 10 of the commission's 13 recommendations directed 
to DOD. 

As table 1 shows, DOD has implemented or is in the process of 
implementing these 10 recommendations to it. These recommendations 
largely represent organizational changes that the commission deemed 
necessary to improve DOD's focus on national security space activities 
and better coordinate military and intelligence space activities. To 
provide a focal point for the disparate space activities conducted 
throughout the department, the commission recommended creating an 
under secretary of defense for space, intelligence, and information to 
serve as the advocate for space within the department, oversee 
research, coordinate military intelligence activities, and work with 
the intelligence community on long-range requirements planning. The 
commission also concluded that the Air Force was best suited to 
organize, train, and equip space forces, and it recommended that DOD 
provide the Air Force more leadership responsibility and authority for 
space operations. In addition, the commission recommended actions to 
provide resources and direction for innovative space-related research, 
development, and demonstration programs and more clearly identify the 
levels and sources of funding and personnel involved in space 
activities. 

Table 1: Status of Space Commission Recommendations:  

Space Commission recommendation: The Secretary of Defense and the 
Director of Central Intelligence should meet regularly to address 
national security space policy, objectives, and issues. 
Status: Completed. 

Space Commission recommendation: Secretary of Defense should establish 
an under secret of defense for space, intelligence, and information.[A] 
Status: No action intended. 

Space Commission recommendation: Secretary of Air Force should assign 
responsibility for the command of Air Force Space Command to a four-
star officer other than the commander, U.S. Space Command and North 
American Aerospace Defense Command. 
Status: Completed. 

Space Commission recommendation: Secretary of Defense should end the 
practice of assigning only Air Force flight-rated officers to position 
of commander, U.S. Space Command and North American Aerospace Defense 
Command. 
Status: In progress. 

Space Commission recommendation: Air Force should realign headquarters 
and field commands to more effectively organize, train, and equip for 
prompt and sustained space operations. 
Status: In progress. 

Space Commission recommendation: Air Force Space Command should be 
assigned responsibility for providing resources to execute space 
research, development, acquisition, and operations. 
Status: Completed. 

Space Commission recommendation: Amend Title 10 U.S.C. to assign the 
Air Force responsibility to organize, train, and equip for air and 
space operations.[B] 
Status: No action intended. 

Space Commission recommendation: Secretary of Defense should designate 
the Air Force as DOD's executive agent[C] for space. 
Status: In progress. 

Space Commission recommendation: Assign the Under Secretary of the Air 
Force as the Director of the National Reconnaissance Office. 
Status: Completed. 

Space Commission recommendation: Designate the Under Secretary of the 
Air Force as the Air Force acquisition executive[D] for space. 
Status: Completed. 

Space Commission recommendation: Secretary of Defense and Director of 
Central Intelligence should create a research, development, and 
demonstration organization to focus on innovative space research and 
development.[E] 
Status: No action intended. 

Space Commission recommendation: Secretary of Defense should direct 
the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and service laboratories 
to undertake development and demonstration of innovative space 
technologies. 
Status: In progress. 

Space Commission recommendation: Secretary of Defense should establish 
a Major Force Program[F] for Space. 
Status: Completed. 

[A] Secretary of Defense opted to establish a focal point for space in 
the Under Secretary of the Air Force. 

[B] DOD opted to increase Air Force responsibility for organizing, 
training, and equipping for space operations without requesting 
legislative change. 

[C] The executive agent is a term used to indicate a delegation of 
authority by the Secretary of Defense to a subordinate to act on the 
Secretary's behalf. The exact nature and scope of the authority 
delegated may vary. It may be limited to providing administration and 
support or coordinating certain functions or extend to direction and 
control over specified resources for specified purposes. 

[D] The acquisition executive is the individual charged with overall 
acquisition management responsibilities within his or her organization. 

[E] This organization was not established. 

[F] A major force program is an aggregation of related budget items 
that can be used to track resources that support a macro-level combat 
or support mission, such as strategic forces or general purpose 
forces. Eleven major force programs comprise DOD's budget. DOD 
identified and aggregated space-related budget items within the 
existing major force programs to create a "virtual" major force 
program for space. 

Source: GAO analysis. 

[End of table] 

It is too early to determine the full impact of these changes in 
promoting and improving DOD's management of space activities. DOD has 
only recently begun to implement many of the commission's 
recommendations, with several substantive actions taking place since 
December 2001. For example, DOD assigned the command of the Air Force 
Space Command to a four-star general other than the commander of the 
U.S. Space Command/North American Aerospace Defense Command, and a new 
commander took command only last April. Other actions have yet to be 
completed. For example, roles and responsibilities and staffing for 
the new national security space team within the Air Force have not 
been agreed upon and documented. Likewise, DOD is in the process of 
realigning the National Security Space Architect to report directly to 
the Under Secretary of the Air Force/Director, National Reconnaissance 
Office, but the guidance defining the architect's roles and 
responsibilities under the realignment has not been finalized. In 
addition, some of the desired results (such as creating and sustaining 
a cadre of space professionals and integrating DOD and intelligence 
space activities) will require ongoing management attention. 

DOD will not implement 3 of the Space Commission's 13 recommendations 
to it. First, it did not accept the commission's recommendation to 
assign responsibility for space activities to an under secretary of 
defense to provide policy, guidance, and oversight for space and 
ensure that space-related issues are addressed at the departmental 
level. Instead of creating this position, the Secretary of Defense 
established a focal point for space within the Air Force by (1) 
assigning the Under Secretary of the Air Force as both the Director of 
the National Reconnaissance Office and the Air Force acquisition 
executive for space and (2) delegating the Under Secretary as the 
milestone decision authority[Footnote 1] for DOD space major defense 
acquisition programs. However, some DOD and service officials we spoke 
with expressed concerns about how well the Air Force will balance its 
interests with the needs and requirements of the other services in 
developing and managing space assets. Air Force officials are in the 
process of developing mechanisms to involve and coordinate with the 
other services and believe the Air Force should be given an 
opportunity to provide effective leadership. 

Second, DOD did not seek legislative changes to amend Title 10 U.S.C. 
to assign the Air Force responsibility to organize, train, and equip 
forces for space operations in addition to its stated responsibilities 
for air operations. Rather, the department determined it could address 
the intent of the recommendation by assigning the Air Force that 
responsibility without legislative change. Finally, no new research, 
development, and demonstration organization has been created to focus 
on innovative space research and development. The Secretary did direct 
the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and service laboratories 
to undertake development and demonstration of innovative space 
technologies. 

Scope and Methodology: 

To assess the status of DOD's implementation of the Space Commission 
recommendations, we discussed the implementation actions with 
officials in the Office of the Secretary of Defense; the Departments 
of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force; the Marine Corps 
Headquarters; the Air Force's Space Command and Space and Missile 
Systems Center; the Army Space Command; the Naval Space Command; the 
National Security Space Architect; and the U.S. Space Command/North 
American Aerospace Defense Command. We also discussed space management 
issues with experts outside the government. We reviewed and analyzed 
documentation related to DOD's efforts to implement the Space 
Commission's recommendations. 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

DOD provided oral comments on a draft of this report, and its comments 
are included where appropriate. DOD generally agreed with the report, 
but it disagreed with our assessment that the Commission's 
recommendation that the Air Force reorganize its headquarters and 
field commands to more effectively organize, train, and equip for 
prompt and sustained space operations is in progress. DOD asserted 
that actions taken to date represent completion of the recommended 
realignment of headquarters and field commands. While we recognize 
that the Air Force has made major organizational changes that address 
the intent of the recommendation, we believe that details of the 
organizational realignment must also be finalized before the 
recommendation can be considered fully implemented. For example, 
although the Air Force has moved its Space and Missile Systems Center 
from its Materiel Command to its Space Command, the memoranda of 
agreement that support the organizational change have not been 
completed. In addition, the Air Force is in the process of updating 
its policy directives to reflect the greater role of the Under
Secretary of the Air Force and the commander of the Air Force Space 
Command in prioritizing space science and technology projects. 

We conducted our review between November 2001 and May 2002 in 
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. 

We are sending copies of this report to the Under Secretary of 
Defense/Acquisition, Technology and Logistics; the Secretaries of the 
Army, the Navy, and the Air Force; the Commandant of the Marine Corps; 
the Under Secretary of the Air Force; and the Director, Office of 
Management and Budget. In addition, the report is available at no 
charge on GAO's home page at [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]. 

If you have any questions on this letter, please call me on (202) 512-
3958. Principal contributors to this letter were Janet St. Laurent, 
Margaret Morgan, MaeWanda Jackson, Robert Poetta, James Angell, and 
James Reynolds. 

Signed by: 

Carol R. Schuster: 
Director, Defense Capabilities and Management: 

Enclosure: 

[End of section] 

Enclosure 1: 

Implementation Status by Recommendation: 

The Secretary of Defense and the Director of Central Intelligence 
should meet regularly to address national security space policy, 
objectives and issues. 

Status: Action Completed. 

In a May 8, 2001, letter to congressional defense and intelligence 
oversight committee leadership, the Secretary of Defense reported that 
he and the Director of Central Intelligence meet regularly on 
intelligence matters. 

Actions taken: 

* The Secretary of Defense and the Director of Central Intelligence 
requested the National Reconnaissance Office to examine how to 
establish an Office of Space Reconnaissance. 

Secretary of Defense should establish an Under Secretary of Defense 
for Space, Intelligence, and Information. 

Status: Action not intended. 

Alternative actions taken: 

* Secretary of Defense established the Under Secretary of the Air Force
as the focal point for space activities with the responsibility for 
space planning and architecture, integration, and acquisition. 

* Assigned Under Secretary of Air Force as Director of National
Reconnaissance Office. 

Actions/issues remaining: 

* Whether the Under Secretary of the Air Force is the proper 
organization within the Department of Defense to provide department-
level oversight, resolve inter-service issues, and be the advocate for 
space. 

* How space fits into broader organizational changes, such as creation 
of Northern Command. 

* Realignment of National Security Space Architect to Under Secretary
of the Air Force/Director of National Reconnaissance Office and
definition of roles, responsibilities, and joint staffing plan. 

Secretary of the Air Force should assign responsibility for the 
command of Air Force Space Command to a four-star officer other than 
CINCSPACE/CINCNORAD. 

Status: Action completed. 

Actions taken: 

* DOD created four-star billet for commander of the Air Force Space
Command. 

* Air Force separated command of Air Force Space Command from command 
of U.S. Space Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command. 

* General Lance Lord assumed command of Air Force Space Command on 
April 19, 2002. 

Action/issue remaining: 

* Manpower and cost implications of staffing independent headquarters
for Air Force Space Command that had shared staff resources with U.S.
Space Command/North American Aerospace Defense Command. 

Secretary of Defense should end practice of assigning only Air Force 
flight-rated officers to position of CINCSPACE/CINCNORAD. 

Status: Action in progress. 

Action taken: 

* Secretary of Defense responded to the Congress that the practice of
assigning only flight-rated officers to the positions will be 
discontinued, but no action item for this recommendation was included 
in the Secretaryís directive on space reorganization. 

Actions/issues remaining: 

* Currently, the position of commander, U.S. Space Command/North 
American Aerospace Defense Command, is occupied by a flight-rated 
officer. 

* Subsequent assignments will show whether the practice is 
discontinued. 

Air Force should realign headquarters and field commands to more 
effectively organize, train, and equip for prompt and sustained space 
operations. 

Status: Action in progress. 

Framework of new organization in place; however, details of 
implementing new organization are not finalized. 

Actions taken: 

* Under Secretary of the Air Force assigned as Director of the National
Reconnaissance Office; some functions realigned to support the Under 
Secretary of the Air Force as the focal point for national security 
space. 

* Space and Missile Systems Center realigned to Air Force Space 
Command; commander of Space and Missile Systems Center designated
program executive officer for space. 

Actions/issues remaining: 

* Whether integrating requirements and acquisitions functions will
improve efficiency and effectiveness of space operations. 

* Agreements and roles have not been finalized (support agreements 
between Air Forceís Space Command and Material Command, update to Air 
Force policy directive governing space and technology policy, staffing 
for organizations). 

Air Force Space Command should be assigned responsibility for 
providing resources to execute space research, development, 
acquisition, and operations. 

Status: Action completed. 

Air Force Space Command now responsible for directing and integrating 
space research, development, acquisitions, and operations. 

Action taken: 

* Space and Missile Systems Center realigned to Air Force Space 
Command from Air Force Materiel Command. 

Actions/issues remaining: 

* Air Force vision for the overall space program and how activities 
will fit into the program has not emerged. 

* Goals and measurable objectives have not been developed. 

* Funding sources for new space activities and process for directing
research and development funding remain to be identified. 

Amend Title 10 U.S.C. to assign the Air Force responsibility to 
organize, train, and equip for air and space operations. 

Status: Action not intended. 

DOD opted to increase Air Force responsibility for organizing, 
training, and equipping for space operations without requesting 
legislative change. 

Alternative actions taken: 

* Centralized responsibility for space activities in office of Under 
Secretary of Air Force. 

* Moved the Air Forceís Space and Missiles Systems Center to Air Force 
Space Command. 

* Air Force, Army, and Navy are examining space career field issues. 

Actions/issues remaining: 

* Update DOD Directive 5100.1 (Functions of DOD Components). 

* Air Force and other service still drafting plans for space career 
field; clarification of Air Force role in directing and/or providing 
space training to other servicesí personnel. 

* Concerns about whether Air Force will treat all servicesí requirements
fairly and the strength of Air Forceís advocacy for space remain. 

Secretary of Defense should designate the Air Force as DOD's executive 
agent for space. 

Status: Action in process. 

The Under Secretary of the Air Force to be designated as executive 
agent for space, but roles and responsibilities of executive agent and 
other organizations not yet agreed upon. 

Action taken: 

* The Secretary of Defense has not officially designated the Air Force 
as executive agent for DOD space, although he has announced his 
intention to do so. 

* In anticipation of this delegation, the Air Force has designated the 
Under Secretary of the Air Force as executive agent for space. 

Actions/issues remaining: 

* Formal designation of the Air Force as executive agent for DOD space. 

* Directive to set out roles and responsibilities of Air Force as 
executive agent for DOD space under discussion. 

* Comptroller memo detailing responsibilities for national security
space plan and program assessments being drafted. 

Assign Under Secretary of the Air Force as the Director of the 
National Reconnaissance Office. 

Status: Action completed. 

Action taken: 

* Secretary of Defense assigned the Under Secretary of the Air Force as
the Director of the National Reconnaissance Office on December 13, 
2001. 

Actions/issues remaining: 

* How to align Air Force and National Reconnaissance Office programs 
using each otherís best practices. 

* How the Under Secretary of the Air Force will integrate classified and
unclassified programs in his new role as the Director of National 
Reconnaissance Office. 

Designate the Under Secretary of the Air Force as the Air Force 
acquisition executive for space. 

Status: Action completed. 

Action taken: 

* Designation effective February 7, 2002. 

Secretary of Defense and Director of Central Intelligence should 
create a research, development, and demonstration organization to 
focus on innovative space research and development. 

Status: Action not intended. 

Secretary of Defense should direct Defense Advanced Research Projects 
Agency and service laboratories to undertake development and 
demonstration of innovative space technologies. 

Status: Action in process. 

Action taken: 

* Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics) 
directed Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and military 
laboratories to develop and demonstrate innovative space technologies. 

Actions/issues remaining: 

* Questions remain about how efforts will be coordinated. 

Secretary of Defense should establish a major force program for space. 

Status: Action completed. 

The Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller/Chief Financial Officer) 
established a cross-cutting major force program (called a "virtual 
major force program") by identifying space-related program elements in 
existing major force programs. 

Actions taken: 

* Space program elements in existing major programs identified. 

* DODís fiscal year 2003-2007 Future Years Defense Program identified
$143 billion in planned space programs. 

Actions/issues remaining: 

* Incorporating space into budget planning and programming. 

* Program elements may be added or deleted from the major force 
program to reflect changes in the space program. 

[End of enclosure] 

Footnote: 

[1] The milestone decision authority is the individual designated to 
approve entry of an acquisition program into the next phase of the 
acquisition process. 

[End of section]