Military Space Operations:

Planning, Funding, and Acquisition Challenges Facing Efforts to Strengthen Space Control

GAO-02-738: Published: Sep 23, 2002. Publicly Released: Sep 23, 2002.

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The United States is increasingly dependent on space for its security and well being. The Department of Defense's (DOD) space systems collect information on capabilities and intentions of potential adversaries. They enable military forces to be warned of a missile attack and to communicate and navigate while avoiding hostile action. DOD's efforts to strengthen space control are targeted at seeking to promote better coordination among DOD components, prioritization of projects, visibility and accountability over funding, and interoperability among systems. Among other things, DOD is drafting a space control strategy that is to outline objectives, tasks, and capabilities for the next 20 years. It has also aggregated funding for space programs so that it can compare space funding, including space control funding, to its total budget, make decisions about priorities, and conduct future-trend analyses. In addition, DOD has changed its acquisition policy to include separating technology development from product development and encouraging an evolutionary, or phased, approach to development. There are, however, substantial challenges to making DOD's space control efforts successful. One challenge is putting needed plans in place to provide direction and hold the services accountable for implementing departmentwide priorities for space control. Further, DOD's draft space control strategy has been completed and does not yet define roles and responsibilities among the services, departmentwide priorities and end states, and concrete milestones. Finally DOD's aggregation of space funding is not a plan that targets investments at priority areas for DOD overall.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The 2006 National Security Space Plan is currently being updated and is expected to be approved and signed before the end of 2007. DOD is also updating a previous draft of the National Security Space Strategy to reflect new goals and objectives contained in the 2006 Presidential Decision Directive 49 on National Space Policy. Estimated completion date is unknown at this time since this document has been delayed by several years from the initial estimated completion date. Following the approval of the National Security Space Strategy, the Secretary of Defense is expected to initiate the development of an integrated space control strategy and update the space control architecture. It is through these documents that DOD will develop individual space mission area investment strategies and investment plans, to include the space control mission area. However, this effort may not start until the end of 2007. In addition, recent GAO reports and testimonies have pointed out that DOD has not established priorities for investments across the entire space portfolio, to include the space control mission area. DOD plans, such as the National Security Space Plan, generally have not set priorities based on expected future budgets.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should develop an overall investment plan that supports future key goals, objectives, and capabilities that are needed to meet space control priorities.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The 2006 National Security Space Plan is currently being updated and is expected to be approved and signed before the end of 2007. DOD is also updating a previous draft of the National Security Space Strategy to reflect new goals and objectives contained in the 2006 Presidential Decision Directive 49 on National Space Policy. Estimated completion date is unknown at this time since this document has been delayed by several years from the initial estimated completion date. Following the approval of the National Security Space Strategy, the Secretary of Defense is expected to initiate the development of an integrated space control strategy and update the space control architecture. It is through these documents that DOD will develop individual space mission area investment strategies and investment plans, to include the space control mission area. In August 2006, the DOD completed a review and assessment of the Space Control Mission Area as required by the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2006, P.L. 109-163, Section 911(e). DOD acknowledges that even though some progress has been made, in the Space Control Mission Area, many challenges remain.

    Recommendation: To better meet the challenges facing efforts to strengthen DOD's space control mission, the Secretary of Defense should align the development of an integrated strategy with the overall goals and objectives of the National Security Space Strategy, when issued. In finalizing the integrated space control strategy, the Secretary of Defense should consider end states necessary for meeting future military goals in space control.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The 2006 National Security Space Plan is currently being updated and is expected to be approved and signed before the end of 2007. DOD is also updating a previous draft of the National Security Space Strategy to reflect new goals and objectives contained in the 2006 Presidential Decision Directive 49 on National Space Policy. Estimated completion date is unknown at this time since this document has been delayed by several years from the initial estimated completion date. Following the approval of the National Security Space Strategy, the Secretary of Defense is expected to initiate the development of an integrated space control strategy and update the space control architecture. It is through these documents that DOD will develop individual space mission area investment strategies and investment plans, to include the space control mission area. In August 2006, the DOD completed a review and assessment of the Space Control Mission Area as required by the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2006, P.L. 109-163, Section 911(e). DOD acknowledges that even though some progress has been made, in the Space Control Mission Area, many challenges remain.

    Recommendation: To better meet the challenges facing efforts to strengthen DOD's space control mission, the Secretary of Defense should align the development of an integrated strategy with the overall goals and objectives of the National Security Space Strategy, when issued. In finalizing the integrated space control strategy, the Secretary of Defense should consider milestones for meeting established priorities.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The 2006 National Security Space Plan is currently being updated and is expected to be approved and signed before the end of 2007. DOD is also updating a previous draft of the National Security Space Strategy to reflect new goals and objectives contained in the 2006 Presidential Decision Directive 49 on National Space Policy. Estimated completion date is unknown at this time since this document has been delayed by several years from the initial estimated completion date. Following the approval of the National Security Space Strategy, the Secretary of Defense is expected to initiate the development of an integrated space control strategy and update the space control architecture. It is through these documents that DOD will develop individual space mission area investment strategies and investment plans, to include the space control mission area. In August 2006, the DOD completed a review and assessment of the Space Control Mission Area as required by the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2006, P.L. 109-163, Section 911(e). DOD acknowledges that even though some progress has been made, in the Space Control Mission Area, many challenges remain.

    Recommendation: To better meet the challenges facing efforts to strengthen DOD's space control mission, the Secretary of Defense should align the development of an integrated strategy with the overall goals and objectives of the National Security Space Strategy, when issued. In finalizing the integrated space control strategy, the Secretary of Defense should consider priorities for meeting those space control requirements that are most essential for the warfighter.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  5. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The 2006 National Security Space Plan is currently being updated and is expected to be approved and signed before the end of 2007. DOD is also updating a previous draft of the National Security Space Strategy to reflect new goals and objectives contained in the 2006 Presidential Decision Directive 49 on National Space Policy. Estimated completion date is unknown at this time since this document has been delayed by several years from the initial estimated completion date. Following the approval of the National Security Space Strategy, the Secretary of Defense is expected to initiate the development of an integrated space control strategy and update the space control architecture. It is through these documents that DOD will develop individual space mission area investment strategies and investment plans, to include the space control mission area. In August 2006, the DOD completed a review and assessment of the Space Control Mission Area as required by the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2006, P.L. 109-163, Section 911(e). DOD acknowledges that even though some progress has been made, in the Space Control Mission Area, many challenges remain.

    Recommendation: To better meet the challenges facing efforts to strengthen DOD's space control mission, the Secretary of Defense should align the development of an integrated strategy with the overall goals and objectives of the National Security Space Strategy, when issued. In finalizing the integrated space control strategy, the Secretary of Defense should consider roles and responsibilities of the military services and other DOD organizations for conducting space control activities.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  6. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The 2006 National Security Space Plan is currently being updated and is expected to be approved and signed before the end of 2007. DOD is also updating a previous draft of the National Security Space Strategy to reflect new goals and objectives contained in the 2006 Presidential Decision Directive 49 on National Space Policy. Estimated completion date is unknown at this time since this document has been delayed by several years from the initial estimated completion date. Following the approval of the National Security Space Strategy, the Secretary of Defense is expected to initiate the development of an integrated space control strategy and update the space control architecture. It is through these documents that DOD will develop individual space mission area investment strategies and investment plans, to include the space control mission area. However, this effort may not start until the end of 2007. In addition, recent GAO reports and testimonies have pointed out that DOD has not been able to establish priorities for its entire space portfolio and its larger weapons portfolio based on expected future budgets.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should develop an overall investment plan that supports the end states identified in the integrated space control strategy, and is aligned with the overall goals and objectives of the national security space strategy.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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