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entitled 'Defense Space Activities: DOD Needs to Further Clarify the 
Operationally Responsive Space Concept and Plan to Integrate and 
Support Future Satellites' which was released on July 14, 2008.

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Report to the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Committee on Armed 
Services, U.S. Senate: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 
GAO: 

July 2008: 

Defense Space Activities: 

DOD Needs to Further Clarify the Operationally Responsive Space Concept 
and Plan to Integrate and Support Future Satellites: 

GAO-08-831: 

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-08-831, a report to the Subcommittee on Strategic 
Forces, Committee on Armed Services, U.S. Senate. 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

The Department of Defenseís (DOD) operational dependence on space has 
placed new and increasing demands on current space systems to meet 
commandersí needs. DODís Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) concept 
is designed to more rapidly satisfy commandersí needs for information 
and intelligence during ongoing operations. Given the potential for ORS 
to change how DOD acquires and fields space capabilities to support the 
warfighter, this report discusses to what extent DOD (1) is developing 
ORS to support warfighter requirements and (2) has a plan that 
integrates ORS into existing DOD and intelligence community processes 
and architecture. GAO reviewed and analyzed ORS planning documents, the 
ORS concept of operations, and processes for meeting warfighter needs 
and also interviewed defense and intelligence community officials who 
are involved with the ORS concept. 

What GAO Found: 

DOD is making some progress in developing the ORS concept, but whether 
it will meet warfighter requirements is unclear, principally because 
the concept is in the early stages of development and not commonly 
understood by all members of the warfighter and national security space 
communities. Our prior work examining successful organizational 
transformations shows the need to communicate to stakeholders often and 
early and to clearly define specific objectives. Since the Joint ORS 
Office was established in May 2007, it has developed a process for 
converting warfighter needs into formal requirements and identifying 
potential ORS solutions. Moreover, DOD issued the ORS Implementation 
Plan in April 2008 and is also developing new ORS guidance documents. 
However, GAO found disparity in stakeholder understanding of the ORS 
concept within the warfighter and national security space communities. 
This disparity exists because DOD has not clearly defined key elements 
of the ORS concept and has not effectively communicated the concept 
with key stakeholders. For example, initial ORS planning documents are 
broad and lack the specificity needed to guide the ORS concept, 
according to some members of the warfighter and national security space 
communities. Moreover, officials from the intelligence community were 
concerned about DODís lack of consultation and communication with them 
regarding the ORS concept. Without having a well-defined and commonly 
understood concept, DODís ability to fully meet warfighter needs may be 
hampered. 

DOD has acknowledged the need to integrate ORS into existing DOD and 
intelligence community processes and architecture, but it has not fully 
addressed how it will achieve this integration. The 1999 DOD Space 
Policy states that an integrated national security space architecture 
that addresses defense and intelligence missions shall be developed to 
the maximum extent feasible in order to minimize unnecessary 
duplication of missions. DOD plans to begin integrating any new ORS 
processes or systems that are developed for ORS sometime between 2010 
and 2015. However, integrating national security space systems can be a 
complex activity, involving many entities within DOD and the 
intelligence community. GAO previously reported that DODís existing 
intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) processes 
activities already face significant integration challenges, and adding 
new ORS systems into the existing ISR enterprise will increase the 
challenges of an already complex and challenging environment. Given the 
conceptís immaturity, members of the national security space community 
have raised concerns about how the ORS concept will be integrated with 
existing DOD and intelligence processes and architecture, and voiced 
concerns about being burdened by an additional new requirements process 
specific to ORS. Nonetheless, as GAO described earlier, DOD is 
developing a process unique to ORS for submitting ORS warfighter 
requirements. The complexity of the national security space environment 
calls for DOD to begin to adequately plan integration of the ORS 
concept now to help ensure that DOD avoids the risk of duplicative 
efforts and wasted resources. 

What GAO Recommends: 

GAO recommends that (1) DOD define ORS key terms, how timely 
satisfaction of a need is evaluated, and what Joint Force Commander 
needs the ORS concept is trying to satisfy; (2) establish an ongoing 
communications and outreach approach for ORS; and (3) identify the 
steps necessary to ensure the integration of the ORS concept into 
existing DOD and intelligence community processes and architecture. DOD 
partially concurred with our recommendations. 

To view the full product, including the scope and methodology, click on 
[hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-08-831]. For more 
information, contact Davi M. DíAgostino at (202) 512-5431 or 
dagostinod@gao.gov. 

[End of section] 

Contents: 

Letter: 

Results in Brief: 

Background: 

DOD Is Making Progress in Developing the ORS Concept to Meet Warfighter 
Needs, but the Concept Is in the Early Stages of Development and Not 
Commonly Understood: 

DOD Plans to Integrate ORS into Existing DOD and Intelligence Processes 
and Architecture, but Has Not Identified How It Will Accomplish This: 

Conclusions: 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

Appendix I: Scope and Methodology: 

Appendix II: Comments from the Department of Defense: 

Appendix III: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

Figures: 

Figure 1: The ORS Tiered Approach to Enhance Responsiveness of Space 
Capabilities: 

Figure 2: The ORS Requirements and Solutions Generation Process: 

Abbreviations: 

DNI: Director of National Intelligence: 

DOD: Department of Defense: 

ISR: intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance: 

JCIDS: Joint Capabilities Integration Development System: 

JROC: Joint Requirements Oversight Council: 

ORS: Operationally Responsive Space: 

[End of section] 

United States Government Accountability Office:
Washington, DC 20548: 

July 11, 2008: 

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

The Department of Defense (DOD) depends on space assets to support a 
wide range of military missions to include intelligence collection; 
battlefield surveillance and management; global command, control, and 
communications; and navigation assistance. This operational dependence 
on space has placed new and increasing demands on current space systems 
and organizations to meet Joint Force Commanders' needs. Moreover, the 
potential for emerging threats could affect the United States' and 
other countries' access to the free use of space. 

The Director of Space Policy in the Office of the Undersecretary of 
Defense for Policy explained that the 2004 U.S. Space Transportation 
Policy calls for demonstrating an initial capability for operationally 
responsive access to and use of space to support national security 
requirements before 2010. This includes demonstrating the capacity to 
respond to unexpected loss or degradation of selected capabilities or 
providing timely availability of tailored or new capabilities or both. 
In that regard, the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the 
Director of Central Intelligence, shall develop the requirements and 
concept of operations for launch vehicles, infrastructure, and 
spacecraft to provide operationally responsive access to and use of 
space to support national security.[Footnote 1] DOD designated 
Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) as the concept to implement one of 
the policy goals contained in the U.S. Space Transportation Policy. DOD 
defines ORS as assured space power focused on timely satisfaction of 
Joint Force Commanders' needs. 

In the conference report accompanying the John Warner National Defense 
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007, Congress made a finding that 
access to and use of space are critical to preserving and protecting 
U.S. national security. The Act required the Secretary of Defense to 
establish an Operationally Responsive Space Program Office within DOD 
whose mission is (1) to contribute to the development of low-cost, 
rapid-reaction payloads, buses[Footnote 2], spacelift, and launch-
control capabilities in order to fulfill joint military operational 
requirements for on-demand space support and reconstitution and (2) to 
coordinate and execute operationally responsive space efforts across 
DOD with respect to planning, acquisition, and operations.[Footnote 3] 
The Joint ORS Office, located at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, 
was officially activated in May 2007. 

In the warfighter and national security space communities,[Footnote 4] 
U.S. Strategic Command is responsible for establishing overall 
operational requirements while the services are responsible for meeting 
those requirements. The Air Force is DOD's primary procurer and 
operator of space systems. The Army controls a defense satellite 
communications system and operates ground mobile terminals. The Navy 
procures DOD narrowband satellite communications capability and 
operates several space systems that contribute to surveillance, 
meteorology, and warning. The National Reconnaissance Office designs, 
procures, and operates space systems dedicated to intelligence 
activities. The National Security Space Office facilitates the 
integration and coordination of defense, intelligence, civil, and 
commercial space activities. The Office of the Under Secretary of 
Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics is responsible for 
various DOD initiatives to improve the department's acquisition 
processes and management of investments. The Office of the Under 
Secretary of Defense for Intelligence exercises policy and strategic 
oversight over all defense intelligence, counterintelligence, and 
security plans and programs, including intelligence, surveillance, and 
reconnaissance (ISR). 

We reviewed aspects of the ORS concept in 2006 and determined that DOD 
needed a departmentwide strategy for pursuing low cost, responsive 
tactical capabilities--both satellite and launch--for the warfighter, 
and to identify corresponding funding.[Footnote 5] Subsequently, the 
John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 
directed DOD to submit a report that sets forth a plan for DOD 
acquisition of ORS capabilities to support military users and military 
operations. This plan was submitted to Congress in April 2007. We also 
reviewed DOD's development of a higher-level strategy to guide the ORS 
concept, as well as other future space efforts, and issued a report 
regarding the need for the Secretary of Defense and the Director of 
National Intelligence to identify and resolve any remaining differences 
of opinion and issue a National Security Space Strategy.[Footnote 6] 
Moreover, we recently reported on the status of DOD's progress to date 
in implementing the ORS concept and assessing associated challenges. 
[Footnote 7] In that report, we recommended that the Secretary of the 
Air Force develop an investment plan to guide the Joint ORS Office as 
it works to meet urgent needs and develops a technological foundation 
to meet future needs. Given the potential for ORS to change how DOD 
acquires and fields space capabilities to support the warfighter, for 
this report, we determined to what extent DOD (1) is developing ORS to 
support warfighter requirements, and (2) has a plan that integrates ORS 
into existing DOD and intelligence community processes and 
architecture. 

To determine whether ORS is being developed to support warfighter needs 
and the extent to which DOD has a plan that integrates ORS into 
existing DOD and intelligence community processes and architecture, we 
reviewed and analyzed ORS planning documents, the ORS concept of 
operations and processes for meeting warfighter needs. We also 
interviewed defense and intelligence community officials that are 
involved with the ORS concept, including the Undersecretaries of 
Defense for Policy and Intelligence, the National Security Space 
Office, U.S. Strategic Command, the Joint ORS Office, the National 
Reconnaissance Office, the Office of the Director of National 
Intelligence, the National Security Agency, and the National Geospatial-
Intelligence Agency. 

We have conducted our performance audit from June 2007 through July 
2008 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing 
standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit 
to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable 
basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. 
We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for 
our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. More 
detailed information on our scope and methodology is provided in 
appendix I. 

Results in Brief: 

DOD is making some progress in developing the ORS concept, but whether 
it will meet warfighter requirements is unclear, principally because 
the concept is in the early stages of development and not commonly 
understood by all members of the warfighter and national security space 
communities. Our prior work examining successful organizational 
transformations shows the need to communicate to stakeholders often and 
early and to clearly define specific objectives. Since the Joint ORS 
Office was established in May 2007, it has developed a process for 
converting warfighter needs into formal requirements and identifying 
potential ORS solutions. Moreover, DOD issued the ORS Implementation 
Plan in April 2008 and is also developing new ORS guidance documents. 
However, we found disparity in stakeholder understanding of the ORS 
concept within the warfighter and national security space communities. 
This disparity exists because DOD has not clearly defined key elements 
of the ORS concept and has not effectively communicated the concept 
with key stakeholders. For example, initial ORS planning documents are 
broad and lack the specificity needed to guide the ORS concept, 
according to some members of the warfighter and national security space 
communities. An official from one geographic combatant command said 
that the Initial Concept of Operations for ORS was not well-defined and 
officials from another combatant command told us that it was really 
more of a vision statement. Moreover, officials from the intelligence 
community were concerned about DOD's lack of consultation and 
communication with them regarding the ORS concept. Without having a 
well-defined and commonly understood concept, DOD's ability to fully 
meet warfighter needs may be hampered. We are recommending that DOD 
clearly define all aspects of the ORS concept and establish an ongoing 
communications and outreach approach to communicate this definition and 
to foster the understanding and acceptance of the ORS concept among 
stakeholders. 

DOD has acknowledged the need to integrate ORS into existing DOD and 
intelligence community processes and architecture, but it has not fully 
addressed how it will achieve this integration. The 1999 DOD Space 
Policy states that an integrated national security space architecture 
that addresses defense and intelligence missions shall be developed to 
the maximum extent feasible in order to eliminate programs operating in 
isolation of one another and minimize unnecessary duplication of 
missions and functions and to achieve efficiencies. DOD plans to begin 
integrating any new processes or systems that are developed for ORS 
sometime between 2010 and 2015. However, integrating national security 
space systems can be a complex activity, involving many entities within 
DOD and the intelligence community and may take longer than 
anticipated. Senior ORS officials told us that they cannot determine 
exactly how to integrate the ORS concept at this time until they know 
more about the nature of ORS capabilities that will be developed. Given 
the concept's immaturity, members of the warfighter and national 
security space communities have already raised concerns about how the 
ORS concept will be integrated with existing DOD and intelligence 
processes and architecture. However, at the same time, combatant 
command officials have voiced concerns about being burdened by an 
additional new requirements process specific to ORS. Nonetheless, as we 
described earlier, DOD is developing a process unique to ORS for 
submitting ORS warfighter requirements. In addition, the intelligence 
community has expressed concern that the ORS concept has not been 
integrated into existing ISR analysis processes. We recently reported 
that DOD's ISR activities already face significant integration 
challenges, and adding new ORS systems into the existing ISR enterprise 
will increase the challenges of an already complex and challenging 
environment. If DOD does not begin to adequately plan integration of 
the ORS concept now, DOD may not meet its time frames for integrating 
the ORS concept. Also, the concept could result in duplicative efforts 
and wasted resources, or it could jeopardize the concept's ability to 
fully meet warfighter needs. Therefore, we are recommending that the 
DOD Executive Agent for Space, working with stakeholders such as the 
Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, identify the steps 
necessary to integrate ORS as integration issues arise and take steps 
to ensure these and future integration issues are addressed in the long-
term planning of the Joint ORS Office. 

In written comments on a draft of this report, DOD partially concurred 
with our recommendations. DOD's comments are reprinted in appendix II. 

Background: 

Challenges in global political affairs have placed increasing demands 
on the way the United States uses space capabilities to achieve 
national security objectives. DOD's space network is expected to play 
an increasingly important role in military operations. Yet in each 
major conflict over the past decade, senior military commanders have 
reported shortfalls in tactical space capabilities, such as those 
intended to provide communications and imagery data to the warfighter. 
To provide short-term tactical capabilities as well as identify and 
implement long-term solutions to developing low-cost satellites, DOD 
initiated the ORS concept. The ORS concept aims to quickly deliver low- 
cost, short-term tactical capabilities to address unmet needs of the 
warfighter. Unlike traditional large satellite programs, the ORS 
concept is intended to address only a small number of unmet tactical 
needs--one or two--with each delivery of capabilities. It is not 
designed to replace current satellite capabilities or major space 
programs in development. Rather, the ORS concept has long-term goals of 
reducing the cost of space development by fostering low cost launch 
methods as well as common design and interface methods. 

The ORS concept is based on three tiers, as shown in figure 1, that are 
distinguished by the means to achieve the effects as well as the length 
of time required to deliver ORS capabilities. According to DOD, the 
timelines may not be possible at the outset, but will remain an 
important goal as the ORS program matures. The Joint ORS Office plans 
to focus on fielding Tier 2 and 3 space capabilities and when directed, 
support the achievement of Tier 1 response times in coordination with 
other members of the warfighter and national security space 
communities. ORS solutions can be derived from ORS activities from more 
than one tier. 

Figure 1: The ORS Tiered Approach to Enhance Responsiveness of Space 
Capabilities: 

[See PDF for image] 

This figure is an illustration of the ORS tiered approach to enhance 
responsiveness of space capabilities, as follows: 

Tier 1 (ORS activity): 
* Rapidly exploit existing capabilities that may extend or expand their 
original purpose; 

* The developers and operators of National Security Space systems 
already have the responsibility for fully exploiting the responsiveness 
of their particular capabilities, thereby enabling Tier 1 capabilities; 

* The Joint ORS Office will advocate, coordinate, and provide resources 
for Tier 1 solutions when there are opportunities, especially in 
partnerships with other elements of the National Security Space 
community; 

* Time frame: Minutes to hours. 

The Joint ORS Office is currently working to develop the enablers for 
future Tier 2 and Tier 3 solutions. 

Tier 2 (Joint ORS office; ORS activity): 

* Replenish, augment, reconstitute: with existing: 
- technologies; 
- capabilities; 

* New or additional capabilities will be ďfield-readyĒ; 

* Time frame: Days to weeks. 

Tier 3 (Joint ORS office; ORS activity): 

* Replenish, augment, and reconstitute: with newly developed: 
- technologies; 
- capabilities; 

* Achieving this timeframe cannot be accomplished unless the amount of 
new development is very limited; 

* Time frame: Months to 1 year. 

Source: GAO analysis of the ORS tiered approach. 

[End of figure] 

The Joint ORS Office has intentionally been limited in size, and 
therefore it will rely on existing space organizations for specific ORS 
support and execution activities. Capabilities developed under the ORS 
concept will be complementary to other fielded space capabilities. With 
a focus on augmenting, reconstituting, and filling unanticipated gaps 
in U.S. space capabilities, ORS aims to provide a critical capability 
for the United States to maintain the asymmetric advantage it has 
derived from its space-based capabilities over potential adversaries. 

DOD Is Making Progress in Developing the ORS Concept to Meet Warfighter 
Needs, but the Concept Is in the Early Stages of Development and Not 
Commonly Understood: 

DOD has taken several steps to develop the ORS concept to meet 
warfighter needs; however, the concept is still in the early stages of 
its development and not commonly understood by all members of the 
warfighter and national security space communities. DOD has developed a 
process for converting warfighter needs into formal requirements and 
identifying potential ORS solutions. In April 2008, DOD issued an 
Implementation Plan and continues to draft instructions and guidance to 
further clarify ORS and how it can meet warfighter needs. In spite of 
this progress, common understanding of the ORS concept is lacking 
because DOD has not clearly defined key elements of the ORS concept and 
has not effectively communicated the concept to key stakeholders. 

DOD Has Made Some Progress in Developing the ORS Concept: 

DOD has made some progress in developing the ORS concept. Since the 
Joint ORS Office was established in May 2007, it has developed a 
process that converts warfighter needs into formal requirements and 
potential ORS solutions. DOD also issued an Implementation Plan in 
April 2008 and continues to develop further ORS guidance. 

Process to Identify ORS Solutions Has Been Developed: 

DOD has established a process that converts a warfighter need into 
formal requirements and identifies potential ORS solutions for those 
requirements.[Footnote 8] As shown in figure 2, the ORS Requirements 
and Solutions Generation process begins when a Joint Force Commander or 
other user submits a capability need to U.S. Strategic Command. 

Figure 2: The ORS Requirements and Solutions Generation Process: 

[See PDF for image] 

This figure is an illustration of the ORS requirements and solutions 
generation process, as follows: 

Joint Force Commander or other user need: 
* U.S. Strategic Command validates the need; 
* Requirements development phase [Led by Joint ORS Office (or 
designee)]: 
- Capability Review Team: Review the need and convert it into a set of 
detailed requirements. Requirements are written into a Capabilities 
Requirements Document, which is then reviewed by the user who submitted 
the need. 
* Solutions development phase: [Led by Joint ORS Office (or designee)]: 
- Solutions Development Team: Requirements are reviewed by a team of 
joint and interagency community members to develop potential solutions. 
* Potential solutions (get user input); 
* Review of solutions and concurrence by Commander of U.S. Strategic 
Command [Note: This process should take 5Ė30 days to complete to this 
point (depending on the complexity of the problem)]; 
* Solution(s) approved by the Executive Agent for Space; 
* ORS Office Solution Execution (get user input); 
* Capability delivered to the warfighter or other user. 

Source: GAO analysis of the ORS Requirements and Solutions Generation 
process. 

[End of figure] 

During the requirements development phase and the solutions development 
phase, teams are assembled from across the warfighter and national 
security space communities by the designated lead for the respective 
phases. At this time, the Joint ORS Office has asked Air Force Space 
Command[Footnote 9] to facilitate the requirements development phase 
and has asked the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center[Footnote 
10] to facilitate the solutions development phase. The solutions 
development phase can begin before the formal Capability Requirements 
Document is delivered. The Joint Force Commander or other user who 
submitted the need has multiple opportunities to provide input 
throughout the ORS Requirements and Solutions Generation process to 
ensure that the solutions being considered will actually fit the need. 

At the time of this report, one warfighter need has completed the ORS 
Requirements and Solutions Generation process and two other warfighter 
needs are in process. The need that has completed the process was a 
request to augment global ultra-high-frequency communications. The 
Joint ORS Office received the need from U.S. Strategic Command on 
September 14, 2007, and the initial solutions were presented to the 
Commander of U.S. Strategic Command on October 17, 2007. The second 
need is a classified space situational awareness need. Possible 
solutions for the second need have also been presented to the Commander 
of U.S. Strategic Command and the DOD Executive Agent for Space for 
approval. According to the Deputy Director of the Joint ORS Office, 
after completing the process, there was some question whether a space- 
based capability was the best way to meet the need. He said that the 
DOD Executive Agent for Space has asked for more information and the 
potential solutions are now in senior leadership review. A third need 
for an ISR capability has begun the ORS Requirements and Solutions 
Generation process. As of the end of May 2008, this need has completed 
the requirements development phase of the ORS Requirements and 
Solutions Generation process. 

The ORS Implementation Plan Has Been Released and Additional Guidance 
Documents Are Currently Being Developed: 

In July 2007, the Deputy Secretary of Defense tasked the DOD Executive 
Agent for Space to develop by October 15, 2007, an ORS Implementation 
Plan to guide ORS activities. The DOD Executive Agent for Space did not 
meet this deadline, but the plan was issued April 28, 2008. The ORS 
Implementation Plan identifies the DOD processes and staffing resources 
required to meet ORS needs, and outlines the elements necessary to 
implement the ORS concept as well as serving as the initial charter for 
the Joint ORS Office. Additionally, the Deputy Secretary of Defense 
required the military departments to assign personnel to fully staff 
the Joint ORS Office no later than August 1, 2008, and to establish 
dedicated funding for ORS beginning in fiscal year 2010. 

In addition to issuing the implementation plan, three ORS guidance 
documents are currently being drafted, but no timeline has been 
established for their completion. First, U.S. Strategic Command is 
drafting an update to its Initial ORS Concept of Operations that is 
intended to make the initial concept of operations shorter and more 
concise, to clarify the services' roles and responsibilities, and to 
provide more information on ORS capabilities, including who will be 
able to operate them. Second, DOD is drafting an instruction to assign 
responsibilities and to prescribe procedures for Joint Force Commanders 
to submit urgent operational needs for a possible ORS solution. Third, 
U.S. Strategic Command is drafting an instruction that is designed to 
assign responsibilities for ORS within U.S. Strategic Command and its 
supporting Joint Functional Component Commands.[Footnote 11] According 
to U.S. Strategic Command officials, this instruction will implement 
and expand upon the guidance found in the DOD instruction mentioned 
above. U.S. Strategic Command's instruction will also detail the 
procedures the command will use to prioritize warfighter needs. 
According to a U.S. Strategic Command document, factors that will be 
taken into consideration for prioritization include: (1) the 
operational relevance of the need, (2) the degree of urgency of the 
need and how soon the need must be satisfied, (3) whether the need has 
a potential space solution, (4) the technical feasibility of the need, 
(5) whether ORS resources can address the need, and (6) whether ORS is 
the best choice of all possible means to address the need. 

The ORS Concept Is in the Early Stages of Development: 

Most ORS efforts are in their initial phases and thus it is too early 
to judge their success. According to the ORS Implementation Plan, the 
Joint ORS Office will accomplish its objectives over time in a "crawl, 
walk, and run," approach. At this time, the ORS concept is still in the 
"crawl" phase which means that the warfighter is getting involved with 
the ORS concept and the focus of ORS efforts is on demonstrating 
building blocks for later efforts, conducting experiments, and 
determining what can be accomplished with current assets. "Walking" 
would be characterized as the evolution of the ORS concept into a 
warfighter-driven concept with selected capabilities tied to gaps and 
integrated within the existing architecture. The ORS Implementation 
Plan states that this phase would not begin until approximately 2010. A 
"run" would involve a full range of space effects delivered when and 
where needed and is expected to begin in approximately 2015. The former 
Deputy Commander of U.S. Strategic Command told us that he expects the 
current tactical satellites to propel the ORS concept to somewhere 
between a walk and a run. 

A Common Understanding of the ORS Concept Is Lacking: 

Key stakeholders do not share a common understanding of the ORS concept 
for two primary reasons--the ORS concept is not clearly defined in its 
initial guidance documents and DOD has not adequately communicated the 
concept to key stakeholders. As a result, stakeholders throughout the 
warfighter and national security space communities do not share a 
common understanding of the ORS concept. 

DOD Has Not Clearly Defined the ORS Concept: 

DOD has not documented a clear definition of the ORS concept and as a 
result key stakeholders in the warfighter and national security space 
communities do not share a common understanding of the concept. Our 
prior work examining successful organizational transformations shows 
the necessity to communicate clearly defined goals and specific 
objectives to key stakeholders. Initial ORS planning documents--the 
Plan for ORS[Footnote 12] and the Initial Concept of Operations 
[Footnote 13]--are broad and lack the specificity needed to guide the 
ORS concept, according to some members of the warfighter and national 
security space communities. For example, the associate director of the 
National Security Space Office said that the Plan for ORS addressed the 
eight areas required by the National Defense Authorization Act for 
Fiscal Year 2007 in only a broad sense. Moreover, an official from one 
combatant command said that the Initial Concept of Operations was not 
well-defined, and officials from another combatant command told us that 
the concept of operations was really more of a vision statement. 

We found several examples of a lack of clarity within these initial 
documents. First, the Initial ORS Concept of Operations states that ORS 
is focused on the timely satisfaction of the urgent needs of the Joint 
Force Commanders, but it does not adequately define what constitutes 
"urgent." Additionally, the approach presented in the April 2007 Plan 
for ORS for enhancing the responsiveness of space systems is to 
implement ORS to develop more affordable, small systems that can be 
deployed in operationally relevant time frames, but does not clarify 
what is meant by "operationally relevant time frames." According to the 
Plan for ORS and the Initial Concept of Operations, some ORS solutions 
could take up to 1 year to execute. Officials in the Office of the 
Undersecretary of Defense for Policy questioned whether these time 
frames could really meet an urgent need. Additionally, officials from 
one combatant command told us that a time frame of 1 year to get a need 
met would not be considered responsive enough for them unless a 
satellite was already in orbit so that they could task it directly. 
Based on these examples, key stakeholders are not operating under a 
common understanding regarding the time frames for ORS. Moreover, key 
stakeholders in the intelligence community have said that they are not 
sure which operational needs or urgent needs the ORS concept is to 
satisfy. 

Additionally, at the time of our review, other guidance documents 
needed to clarify the ORS concept had not yet been developed. The 
August 2007 memorandum from the DOD Executive Agent for Space directed 
the Joint ORS Office to develop an ORS Strategy, an ORS Road Map, and 
an ORS Program Plan in addition to the ORS Implementation Plan. The 
Deputy Director of the ORS Office said that they decided to complete 
the ORS Implementation Plan before writing the other documents so that 
it could guide the development of the other required documents. Now 
that the ORS Implementation Plan has been released, he said that they 
will need to get more guidance from the DOD Executive Agent for Space 
regarding what specific information should be included in the remaining 
documents. 

DOD Has Not Communicated Effectively with Key Stakeholders: 

DOD has not effectively communicated with key stakeholders or engaged 
them regarding the ORS concept. Our prior work examining successful 
organizational transformations shows the need to adopt a communication 
strategy that provides a common framework for conducting consistent and 
coordinated outreach within and outside its organization often and 
early and seeks to genuinely engage all stakeholders in the 
organization's transformation. However, DOD did not initially involve 
the geographic combatant commands in the development of the ORS 
concept. For example, officials from one geographic combatant command 
told us that they did not have any input into the development of the 
Initial Concept of Operations for ORS and were not involved in any of 
the ORS working groups. These officials were concerned that failing to 
involve the geographic combatant commands in the ORS concept 
development would lead to new capabilities that drive warfighter 
requirements instead of warfighter requirements determining how to 
develop ORS capabilities. Additionally, officials from a functional 
combatant command told us that key ORS meetings took place in August 
2007 but they were not invited to participate and neither were the 
geographic combatant commands. These officials were concerned that 
failing to invite these combatant commands to the meetings might result 
in the development of requirements that really do not benefit the 
warfighter. 

The first extensive outreach to the combatant commands was in 
preparation for the November 2007 ORS Senior Warfighters Forum, which 
took place 6 months after the standup of the Joint ORS Office. A senior 
space planner, who is the lead for ORS for one combatant command, told 
us that during preparatory briefings for the ORS Senior Warfighters 
Forum, participants were told that the purpose of the forum would be to 
learn what space capabilities the combatant commands needed that ORS 
might be able to address. However, after a couple of briefings, he 
learned that the purpose of the ORS Senior Warfighters Forum had 
shifted to that of educating the combatant commands on the ORS process 
and how to get an ORS capability. The senior space planner explained 
that rather than asking the warfighter what they need, the focus was 
now on placing their needs into a process that had already been 
developed. This same combatant command official told us that no clear 
answers were provided to questions asked at the ORS Senior Warfighters 
Forum regarding the submission of warfighter needs or how these needs 
would be prioritized and, as of the end of February 2008, they had 
received no updates from U.S. Strategic Command on any of the issues 
discussed at the forum. Similarly, an intelligence agency official told 
us that no consensus was reached during the forum and very little 
concrete information was relayed regarding how ORS will be used in the 
future. 

Officials from various commands called for better communication 
strategies to enhance their understanding of the ORS concept. Various 
geographic combatant command officials we spoke with generally said 
that U.S. Strategic Command should increase its ORS outreach activities 
(e.g., visits, briefings, and education) to reach more staff throughout 
the commands and services. The Chief of Staff at the U.S. Strategic 
Command Joint Functional Component Command for Space acknowledged that 
outreach activities need to be completed with the combatant commands so 
that they can better understand how future ORS capabilities can benefit 
their area of operation. Officials from U.S. Strategic Command 
acknowledged that they had not done a good job of educating the 
combatant commands on the ORS concept in its early days. However, the 
Deputy Director of the ORS Office told us that one of the 
responsibilities of one of the division chiefs who arrived in March 
2008 at the Joint ORS Office will be to reach out to the combatant 
commands and engage the warfighter on the ORS concept. 

Additionally, DOD has not communicated well with the intelligence 
community regarding the ORS concept. Officials from the National 
Security Agency said that they are very concerned about the lack of 
consultation that has been done with the intelligence community 
regarding the ORS concept. Officials from the National Geospatial- 
Intelligence Agency also said that they believe that communication with 
the intelligence community regarding the ORS concept has been 
insufficient. However, both agencies acknowledged that communication 
between DOD and the intelligence community has improved since they 
started working together on tactical satellites, but their concerns 
regarding communication remain. 

While the U.S. Strategic Command and the Joint ORS Office have taken 
some steps to promote the ORS concept such as the November 2007 ORS 
Senior Warfighters Forum, directing one of the Joint ORS Office 
division chiefs to reach out to the combatant commands, and engaging 
the intelligence community on the tactical satellites, they have not 
developed a consistent and comprehensive outreach strategy. The lack of 
a clearly defined ORS concept and effective outreach to the 
stakeholders has affected the acceptance and understanding of the ORS 
concept throughout the warfighter and national security space 
communities. Without a complete and clearly articulated concept that is 
well communicated with key stakeholders, DOD could encounter 
difficulties in fully implementing the ORS concept and may miss 
opportunities to meet warfighter needs. 

DOD Plans to Integrate ORS into Existing DOD and Intelligence Processes 
and Architecture, but Has Not Identified How It Will Accomplish This: 

DOD has recognized the need to integrate the ORS concept into the 
warfighter and national security space communities' processes and 
architecture, but it has not yet determined specific steps for 
achieving integration. DOD does not plan to begin integrating the ORS 
concept in accordance with the 1999 DOD Space Policy until between 2010 
and 2015. However, integrating space systems is a complex activity that 
involves many entities inside DOD and the intelligence community and 
may take more time to accomplish than expected. Therefore, taking 
incremental steps as the ORS concept matures may help the Joint ORS 
Office to achieve timely integration and help assure that warfighter 
requirements will be met. Senior ORS officials have told us that the 
ORS concept is still too new to begin its integration, but combatant 
command and intelligence community officials are concerned about how 
the ORS concept will be integrated into their existing processes for 
submitting warfighter needs and processing ISR data. 

According to the 1999 DOD Space Policy,[Footnote 14] an integrated 
national security space architecture that addresses defense and 
intelligence missions shall be developed to the maximum extent feasible 
in order to eliminate programs operating in isolation of one another 
and minimize unnecessary duplication of missions and functions and to 
achieve efficiencies. This policy also directs the Secretaries of the 
Military Departments and Combatant Commanders to integrate space 
capabilities and applications into their plans, strategies, and 
operations. In order to be consistent with DOD Space Policy, new 
processes or systems developed under the ORS concept should be 
integrated into all facets of DOD's strategy, doctrine, education, 
training, exercises and operations. DOD has acknowledged that the ORS 
concept needs to be integrated and one of the goals in the ORS 
Implementation Plan is to integrate the ORS concept into the existing 
space architecture between 2010 and 2015. 

Given the complex environment of the warfighter and national security 
space communities, changes that affect one organization can have an 
effect on integrating national security space systems, and may take 
longer than anticipated. We previously reported that DOD is often 
presented with different and sometimes competing organizational 
cultures and funding arrangements, and separate requirements processes 
among the agencies involved in the defense and national space 
communities. This complex environment has prevented DOD from reaching 
some of its past integration goals. For example, in 2005, changes at 
the National Reconnaissance Office resulted in the removal of National 
Reconnaissance Office personnel and funding from the National Security 
Space Office, and restricted the National Security Space Office's 
access to a classified information-sharing network, thereby inhibiting 
efforts to further integrate defense and national space activities-- 
including ISR activities--that had been recommended by the Space 
Commission.[Footnote 15] If the Joint ORS Office does not successfully 
integrate the ORS concept into the existing space architecture within 
established time frames, this may result in a lack of coordination 
among various members of the warfighter and national security space 
communities. 

Officials from the Joint ORS Office and U.S. Strategic Command 
acknowledged that they have not yet determined how any future ORS 
processes and systems will be integrated into existing national 
security space processes and systems, because the concept is still too 
new for them to determine the best way to achieve integration. 
Furthermore, the ORS Implementation Plan states that the Joint ORS 
Office will be working with the military departments and appropriate 
agencies to prepare for a smooth transition of systems when they are 
developed and acquired by the Joint ORS Office. However, the Joint ORS 
Office does not yet have any new space capabilities to be transitioned. 
Senior ORS officials told us that they cannot develop a comprehensive 
plan for the integration of ORS processes into existing DOD and 
intelligence community processes and architecture until they know more 
about the nature of ORS capabilities that they will be able to develop. 

Moreover, U.S. Strategic Command officials said that integration of new 
systems will have to take place on a case-by-case basis depending on 
the type of capability that is developed. They also said that it is 
conceivable that in certain situations, integrating some ORS solutions 
might not be the most cost-effective and efficient way to provide an 
urgent capability to a warfighter. For example, some of the 
architecture for addressing ISR needs requires high levels of data 
classification. If a warfighter had a need that could be met at a lower 
classification level than a particular ISR system would allow, it might 
be faster and less expensive to not integrate that particular ORS 
capability in order to preserve a lower classification of the data 
obtained and avoid the expense and complications associated with 
processing data with higher classifications. 

For these reasons, DOD has not laid out any specific steps toward the 
longer-term goal of integrating the ORS concept into the existing space 
architecture, which has raised some concern within the warfighter and 
national security space communities about the possible creation of 
unnecessary duplicative processes. For example, combatant command 
officials told us that they are already burdened by multiple processes 
for submitting their warfighter requirements. They emphasized that any 
processes developed for submitting ORS requirements should be 
integrated into existing requirements submission processes so as not to 
require a new process for them to learn to use and manage. However, the 
Deputy Director of the ORS Office said that the process of submitting 
ORS requirements currently under development is a separate and parallel 
process to existing methods of submitting warfighter needs and he does 
not yet know how it will be integrated. He explained that the ORS 
concept has only been tested with two warfighter needs so it is too 
soon for them to determine how particular ORS processes--such as the 
requirements submission process--will be integrated into existing 
warfighter requirements processes. U.S. Strategic Command officials 
told us that in the future, they envision receiving ORS requirements 
from multiple existing processes already in place, but time is needed 
to allow the concept to mature and develop before integration can be 
fully addressed. 

Intelligence community officials also raised concerns about the 
importance of using their current processes and architecture so as not 
to create unnecessary duplicative processes to get data to the 
warfighter. Furthermore, officials from the National Geospatial- 
Intelligence Agency told us that their analysts cannot keep up with the 
data being collected from existing space assets, and they do not know 
who will process information from any new assets that might be 
developed under ORS. 

DOD officials have acknowledged the need to integrate ORS into the 
existing ISR enterprise; however, accomplishing this goal will be 
especially challenging. We recently reported that DOD's existing 
roadmap for integrating current ISR capabilities does not provide DOD 
with a long-term comprehensive vision of the desired end state of the 
ISR enterprise. We also reported that DOD has not been able to ensure 
that ISR capabilities developed through existing processes are really 
the best solutions to minimize inefficiency and redundancy. Therefore, 
it will be difficult for the Joint ORS Office to reduce inefficiency by 
integrating its processes and systems into the current ISR enterprise, 
which already faces numerous integration challenges. The Deputy 
Director of the Joint ORS Office said that the office has not yet 
determined how data collected by any new ORS solutions developed for 
ISR needs will be integrated into existing intelligence community back- 
end processes for analyzing and distributing data collected from space 
assets. 

Integrating the ORS concept will involve many agencies across the 
warfighter and national security space communities and may take more 
time than anticipated. If the integration of the ORS concept is not 
adequately planned, DOD may not meet its time frames for integrating 
the ORS concept. If the ORS concept is not integrated into the existing 
space architecture as integration issues arise, the ORS concept could 
create duplicative efforts resulting in wasted resources and inhibiting 
the ORS conceptís ability to fully meet warfighter needs. 

Conclusions: 

While DOD has taken a number of steps to advance the ORS concept and to 
develop a process for providing ORS capabilities to the warfighter, its 
ability to implement the concept will be limited until it more clearly 
defines key aspects of the ORS concept and increases its outreach and 
communication activities. Without a complete and clearly articulated 
concept that is well communicated and practiced among key stakeholders, 
DOD could encounter difficulties in fully implementing the ORS concept 
and building the relationships necessary to ensure ORSís success. 
Furthermore, even though it may be too early to develop a comprehensive 
plan for integrating ORS processes and systems into the existing 
national security space architecture, DOD can identify the steps 
necessary to achieve integration as the concept matures. Integrating 
the ORS concept will be very challenging, especially as it pertains to 
ISR activities that will have to be coordinated among many agencies 
across DOD and intelligence community agencies. Identifying the 
incremental steps toward integration could help DOD meet its time 
frames for integrating the ORS concept, prevent the ORS concept from 
creating duplicative efforts, ensure that the ORS concept meets 
warfighter needs, and ensure its future satellites are adequately 
supported. 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

We recommend the DOD Executive Agent for Space take the following three 
actions: 

* Direct the Joint ORS Office, in consultation with U.S. Strategic 
Command, to define ORS key terms including what qualifies as an urgent 
need, how timely satisfaction of a need is evaluated, and what Joint 
Force Commander needs the ORS concept is trying to satisfy. 

* Direct the Joint ORS Office, in consultation with U.S. Strategic 
Command, to establish an ongoing communications and outreach approach 
for ORS to help guide DODís efforts to promote, educate, and foster 
acceptance among the combatant commands, military services, 
intelligence community, and other DOD organizations. 

* In consultation with the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, 
Technology, and Logistics and the Undersecretary of Defense for 
Intelligence, and in cooperation with the military services, identify 
the steps necessary to ensure the integration of the ORS concept into 
existing DOD and intelligence community processes and architecture as 
the Joint ORS Office continues its long-term planning of the ORS 
concept. 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

In written comments on a draft of this report, DOD partially concurred 
with our recommendations. DODís comments are reprinted in appendix II. 
The National Reconnaissance Office also provided technical comments, 
which we incorporated as appropriate. 

DOD partially concurred with our recommendation to define ORS key terms 
including what qualifies as an urgent need, how timely satisfaction of 
a need is evaluated, and what Joint Force Commander needs the ORS 
concept is trying to satisfy. In its comments, DOD stated that it 
codified the definition of ORS on July 9, 2007, and U.S. Strategic 
Command developed an Initial Concept of Operations containing 
additional terms intended to further define and clarify ORS activities. 
However, our work showed that the warfighter and intelligence community 
believe that key ORS terms need to be better defined and clearer. As we 
stated in our report, the initial guidance documentsósuch as the Plan 
for ORS and the Initial Concept of Operationsóare considered broad by 
users and lack the specificity needed to guide the ORS concept. Based 
on our work, this has led to a lack of a common understanding of the 
concept among the warfighter and national security space communities. 
DOD also stated that responsibility for providing overarching 
definitions and policy guidance will remain with the Office of the 
Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and U.S. Strategic Command will 
continue to validate ORS requirements and provide additional 
clarification, definition, and direction to the ORS Office as the 
capability matures. However, our recommendation focuses on the need for 
better-defined and clear ORS terms. Therefore, we continue to believe 
that DOD should take additional steps now to define and clarify ORS and 
provide more definition of key terms. 

DOD partially concurred with our recommendation to establish an ongoing 
communications and outreach approach for ORS to help guide DODís 
efforts to promote, educate, and foster acceptance among the combatant 
commands, military services, intelligence community, and other DOD 
organizations. In its comments, DOD stated that communicating a clear, 
concise message was vitally important to the success of ORS and it is 
currently conducting outreach efforts in numerous forums. We 
acknowledged DODís efforts to promote the ORS concept in our report; 
however, despite these efforts, confusion regarding the ORS concept 
persists. As stated in our report, the lack of a clear definition 
combined with the lack of a consistent and comprehensive outreach 
strategy has affected the acceptance and understanding of the ORS 
concept throughout the warfighter and national security space 
communities. DODís comments also stated that the burden of outreach 
should not be placed solely upon the ORS Office and that all ORS 
stakeholders will continue to play an active role in promoting and 
fostering acceptance of the ORS concept. Apart from who is designated 
to develop and implement it, our work showed that a comprehensive 
communication and outreach approach or strategy that reflects agreed-
upon definitions and direction for the ORS concept is needed or DOD 
could encounter difficulties in fully implementing the ORS concept and 
may miss opportunities to meet warfighter needs. 

DOD partially concurred with our recommendation to identify the steps 
necessary to ensure the integration of the ORS concept into existing 
DOD and intelligence community processes and architecture as the Joint 
ORS Office continues its long-term planning of the ORS concept. In its 
comments, DOD stated that integration of ORS capabilities into current 
processes and architecture will depend upon the value provided by the 
current processes and architectures and that integration into existing 
systems will be considered by the ORS Office as a matter of course. DOD 
also stated that personnel assigned to the ORS Office from across DOD 
and the intelligence community bring knowledge and experience that will 
help to identify ways to selectively integrate ORS capabilities into 
current systems, when appropriate, in order to streamline delivery of 
products to the customers. However, based on our work, if integration 
of the ORS concept is not timely and adequately planned, DOD may not 
meet its time frames for integrating the ORS concept into the existing 
space architecture between 2010 and 2015. Moreover, if the ORS concept 
is not developed and integrated well in advance of launching future 
satellites, the ORS concept could create duplicative efforts resulting 
in wasted resources and inhibiting the ORS conceptís ability to fully 
meet warfighter needs. Therefore, we believe our recommendation to take 
a more proactive approach to integrating the ORS concept, once better 
defined and communicated with the warfighter and national security 
space community, continues to have merit. 

We are sending copies of this report to the Secretaries of Defense, the 
Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. Copies will be made available to 
others upon request. In addition, this report will be available at no 
charge on our Web site at [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]. 

If you or your staff have any questions about this report, please 
contact me at (202) 512-5431 or dagostinod@gao.gov. Contact points for 
our Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found 
on the last page of this report. GAO staff who made key contributions 
to this report are listed in appendix III. 

Signed by: 

Davi M. DíAgostino: 
Director, Defense Capabilities and Management: 

[End of section] 

Appendix I: Scope and Methodology: 

To determine whether the Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) concept 
is being developed to support warfighter needs and the extent to which 
DOD has a plan that integrates ORS into existing DOD and intelligence 
community processes and architecture, we reviewed and analyzed ORS 
planning documents, the ORS concept of operations, and ORS processes 
for meeting warfighter needs. We also reviewed relevant legislation, 
policies, and prior GAO reports. We interviewed officials at the U.S. 
Strategic Command including the Joint Force Component Command for 
Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and the Joint Force 
Component Command for Space as well as officials from the Joint ORS 
Office to discuss the progress of developing the ORS concept, the 
initial ORS planning documents, outreach regarding the ORS concept, and 
plans to integrate the ORS concept into the existing space 
architecture. We also interviewed officials at Air Force Space Command 
and the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center to discuss the new 
process developed for converting warfighter needs into formal 
requirements and potential ORS solutions. In addition, we interviewed 
officials from the U.S. Central Command, U.S. European Command, U.S. 
Pacific Command, U.S. Southern Command, and U.S. Special Operations 
Command regarding warfighter involvement in the creation of the ORS 
concept, the ability of the ORS concept to meet warfighter needs, the 
degree of outreach received regarding the ORS concept, and the 
integration of the ORS concept into current processes for submitting 
warfighter needs. To discuss issues regarding ORS capabilities that may 
address warfighter ISR needs and the integration of these capabilities 
into current intelligence community processes and systems, we 
interviewed officials from the Office of the Director of National 
Intelligence, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the National 
Reconnaissance Office, and the National Security Agency. Furthermore, 
we interviewed officials from the Office of the Undersecretary of 
Defense for Policy, the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for 
Intelligence, and the National Security Space Office to discuss policy 
issues related to ORS. Finally, we interviewed officials from U.S. Air 
Force Headquarters, U.S. Army Space Branch, the Air Force Research Lab, 
and the Naval Research Lab to discuss service involvement with the ORS 
concept and the tactical satellite experiments. 

[End of section] 

Appendix II: Comments from the Department of Defense: 

Office Of Assistant Secretary Of Defense: 
Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict & Interdependent 
Capabilities: 
2500 Defense Pentagon: 
Washington, D.C. 20301-2500: 

Ms. Davi M. D'Agostino: 
Director, Defense Capabilities and Management: 
United States Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street, NW: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

Dear Ms. D'Agostino: 

This letter is the Department of Defense (DoD) response to the GAO 
draft report, GAO-08-831 "Defense Space Activities: DoD Needs to 
Further Clarify the Operationally Responsive Space Concept and Plan to 
Integrate and Support Future Satellites," dated June 6, 2008 (GAO Code 
351053). 

In general, DoD agrees with the assessment and recommendations 
contained in the draft report, although we differ on the 
responsibilities for implementing the recommendations (please see the 
attached Comments to the Recommendations for specifics). It is 
important to note that the research conducted by the GAO Team took 
place within the first year of the Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) 
Office's existence. While the GAO recommends improvement in selected 
areas, the ORS Office has accomplished much during this short period of 
time. 

As the ORS Office matures and additional personnel are assigned, 
relationships and responsibilities will continue to evolve and many of 
the issues highlighted in the report will be addressed as a matter of 
course. Linkages to the National Security community, including the 
Intelligence Community, continue to improve. The new US Strategic 
Command Concept of Operations will further clarify ORS timelines and 
the requirements validation process. 

Thank you for the opportunity to review and comment on this draft 
report. Questions should be directed to DoD's primary action officer, 
COL Patrick Frakes, Director, Space Policy & Information Operations, 
(703) 697-6364. 

Sincerely, 

Signed by: 

Brian Green: 
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategic Capabilities: 

Enclosure: As stated: 

GAO Draft Report - Dated June 6, 2008: 
GAO CODE 351053/GAO-08-831: 

"Defense Space Activities: DoD Needs to Further Clarify the 
Operationally Responsive Space Concept and Plan to Integrate and 
Support Future Satellites" 

Department Of Defense Comments To The Recommendations: 

Recommendation 1: The GAO recommends that the DoD Executive Agent for 
Space direct the Joint Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) Office, in 
consultation with the U.S. Strategic Command, to define ORS key terms 
including: what qualifies as an urgent need, how timely satisfaction of 
a need is evaluated, and what Joint Force Commander needs the ORS 
concept is trying to satisfy. 

DOD Response: Partially Concur. Defining the key terms, metrics, and 
requirements is vital to achieving mission success. The Deputy 
Secretary of Defense codified the Department's definition of 
Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) on July 9, 2007. This definition 
provided focus for the intended purpose of ORS and differentiated ORS 
from other space activities. Subsequently, United States Strategic 
Command developed an initial Concept of Operations containing 
additional terms intended to further define and clarify ORS activities. 
While we agree with the substance of the GAO recommendation, 
responsibilities for providing overarching definitions and policy 
guidance will remain with the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense 
for Policy; United States Strategic Command will continue to validate 
ORS requirements in accordance with public law, and provide additional 
clarification, definition, and direction to the ORS Office as we 
further mature this capability. 

Recommendation 2: The GAO recommends that the DoD Executive Agent for 
Space direct the Joint Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) Office, in 
consultation with the U.S. Strategic Command, to establish an ongoing 
communications and outreach approach for ORS to help guide DoD's 
efforts to promote, educate, and foster acceptance among the Combatant 
Commands, Military Services, intelligence community, and other DoD 
organizations. 

DOD Response: Partially Concur. Communicating a clear, concise message 
to the Combatant Commands, Military Services, intelligence community 
and others is vitally important to the success of ORS. Numerous forums, 
including the ORS Executive Committee and Senior Warfighter Forums, as 
well as other outreach efforts, including ORS personnel participation 
in exercises and conferences, are currently underway. We agree that 
outreach is important, but that burden should not be placed solely upon 
the ORS Office. All ORS stakeholders will continue to play an active 
role in promoting and fostering acceptance of the ORS initiative. 

Recommendation 3: The GAO recommends that the DoD Executive Agent for 
Space, in consultation with the Under Secretary of Defense for 
Acquisition, Technology and Logistics and the Under Secretary of 
Defense for Intelligence, and in cooperation with the Military Services,
identify the steps necessary to ensure the integration of the 
Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) concept into existing DoD and 
intelligence community processes and architecture as the Joint ORS 
Office continues its long-term planning of the ORS concept. 

DOD Response: Partially Concur. Integration of ORS capabilities into 
current processes and architectures will depend upon the value provided 
by the current processes and architectures. In many cases, it may he 
the current systems that preclude responsive support to the Joint Force 
Commanders. ORS is intended to use and exploit existing processes and 
architectures if they can meet the Joint Force Commanders' needs. 
Integration into existing systems will be considered by the ORS Office 
as a matter of course in the solutions development phase. Personnel 
assigned to the ORS Office come from organizations across the 
Department of Defense and intelligence community; these individuals 
bring a wealth of knowledge and experience which will help to identify 
ways to selectively integrate ORS capabilities into current systems, 
when appropriate, in order to streamline delivery of products to the 
customers. 

[End of section] 

Appendix III: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

GAO Contact: 

Davi M. DíAgostino, (202) 512-5431 or dagostinod@gao.gov: 

Acknowledgments: 

In addition to the contact named above, Lorelei St James, Assistant 
Director; Grace Coleman; Jane Ervin; Amy Higgins; Enemencio Sanchez; 
Kimberly Seay; Jay Spaan; Matthew Tabbert; Karen Thornton; and Amy Ward-
Meier made key contributions to this report. 

[End of section] 

Footnotes: 

[1] With the creation of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) in 
2005, the Secretary of Defense now coordinates such activities with the 
DNI. 

[2] A satellite bus can be thought of as the spacecraft vehicle. It 
provides the physical and electrical architecture to support the 
payload. The satellite payload is the sensor or experiment being 
carried by the bus. 

[3] Pub. L. No. 109-364, ß 913(b). 

[4] The national security space community is composed of DOD and 
intelligence community members that are involved in U.S. national 
security space activities. 

[5] GAO, Space Acquisitions: DOD Needs a Departmentwide Strategy for 
Pursuing Low-Cost, Responsive Tactical Space Capabilities, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-06-449] (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 
14, 2006). 

[6] GAO, Defense Space Activities: National Security Space Strategy 
Needed to Guide Future DOD Space Efforts, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-08-431R] (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 
27, 2008). 

[7] GAO, Space Acquisitions: DOD Is Making Progress to Rapidly Deliver 
Low Cost Space Capabilities, but Challenges Remain, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-08-516] (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 
25, 2008). 

[8] According to the ORS Initial Concept of Operations, ORS needs and 
requirements development will operate within the Joint Capabilities 
Integration and Development System (JCIDS) framework to the maximum 
extent possible. Tier-1 solutions, using existing systems, should not 
normally require JCIDS activity. Since Tier-2 and Tier-3 solutions will 
be within the Force Enhancement and Space Control mission areas (such 
as ISR, communications, and space situational awareness), Joint 
Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) validated requirements most 
likely exist for the requested capability. 

[9] Air Force Space Command delivers space and missile capabilities to 
the warfighting commands. 

[10] The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center develops, 
demonstrates, acquires, fields, and sustains space and missile 
capabilities for the joint warfighter. 

[11] Joint Functional Component Commands are responsible for the day-to-
day planning and execution of U.S. Strategic Commandís primary mission 
areas: space; global strike and integration; ISR; network warfare; 
integrated missile defense; and combating weapons of mass destruction. 

[12] The 2007 National Defense Authorization Act required DOD to submit 
a Plan for Operationally Responsive Space within 120 days of the 
enactment of the act. DOD provided the plan to Congress in April 2007, 
and the plan identified a general approach for establishing the ORS 
concept. 

[13] The Initial Concept of Operations was written by U.S. Strategic 
Command and approved in May 2007. According to U.S. Strategic Command 
officials, the concept of operations was written to help define and 
scope the ORS concept in response to those in the community who were 
asking for initial guidance on ORS. 

[14] Department of Defense Directive 3100.10, Space Policy (July 9, 
1999). 

[15] The Space Commission is a congressionally chartered commission 
that reviewed the management and organization of national security 
space activities. The Space Commission issued a report in January 2001 
that made recommendations to DOD to improve coordination, execution, 
and oversight of the departmentís space activities. 

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