Military Space Operations:

Satellite Control System Improved, But Serious Problems Remain

IMTEC-92-3: Published: Dec 27, 1991. Publicly Released: Dec 27, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Air Force's actions to complete its satellite command and control upgrade, the Command and Control Segment (CCS), and turn it over to the Air Force Space Command, focusing on: (1) shifting program requirements and schedule delays; and (2) technical problems and cost overruns.

GAO found that: (1) the Air Force may not meet the July 1993 deadline because of critical CCS operational deficiencies; (2) slow progress in correcting deficiencies combined with the growing number of satellites CCS is expected to control, increases the risk that the Air Force will not complete CCS on time; (3) the Air Force has not developed an adequate capacity and performance management program, defined work-load requirements, adequately tested CCS, or obtained adequate software documentation; and (4) if the Air Force does not resolve those problems, it will have to continue using its old system, the Current Data System, spending $30 million annual to maintain an outdated system.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Air Force has identified peak work-load requirements for trunover of MCC and will continue to update these requirements.

    Recommendation: To increase the Air Force's ability to plan, measure, and control the computer resources required to meet current and future satellite command and control and mission planning processing requirements, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to ensure that CCS work-load requirements, specifically, the peak work-load requirements for each Mission Control Complex (MCC) computer system, are immediately updated and kept current.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The updated Air Force Test Plan includes peak work-load requirements and will be completed prior to turnover. The Air Force has identified requirements to upgrade its test environment.

    Recommendation: To increase the Air Force's ability to plan, measure, and control the computer resources required to meet current and future satellite command and control and mission planning processing requirements, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to ensure that the updated work-load requirements are used to: (1) operationally test CCS at MCC before MCC are turned over to Space Command; and (2) stress test each CCS software release before it is used in MCC.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Air Force has established a capacity management program, effective September 30, 1992, that provides network performance management and capacity planning for the entire Air Force Satellite Control Network, including the CCS segment.

    Recommendation: To increase the Air Force's ability to plan, measure, and control the computer resources required to meet current and future satellite command and control and mission planning processing requirements, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to ensure that a comprehensive CCS capacity and performance management program is immediately established.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Air Force is correcting existing documentation and plans about automating its documentation.

    Recommendation: To increase the Air Force's ability to plan, measure, and control the computer resources required to meet current and future satellite command and control and mission planning processing requirements, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to ensure that CCS software documentation deficiencies are corrected before the system is turned over to Space Command, and documentation is adequately prepared and maintained in the future.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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