GAO Examination of Air Force's Proposed Multiyear Procurement for DSCS III

NSIAD-84-54: Published: Feb 1, 1984. Publicly Released: Feb 1, 1984.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO examined the Air Force's proposed multiyear procurement for the Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) III to determine the stability of the program, the maturity of design, and the availability of sufficient funds to complete the program.

GAO found that the satellites have experienced only minor design changes and such changes have been infrequent and immaterial to satellite configuration. The Air Force is making two planned product improvements in the next group of satellites. These improvements are believed to involve minimal risk. A few major problems were cited which affected contract cost performance in the early stages of development. However, since 1980, cost performance on the development and production contracts has been satisfactory. According to the Air Force, the program is very stable because of longstanding approved requirements and a high national priority. In addition, the DSCS III program is currently without an alternative because related systems do not have the needed capabilities. According to the Air Force, there is little possibility of a reduction in the need for the 14 satellites presently required and increased military needs will probably require more. GAO found that the discounted cost and savings associated with the multiyear advanced procurement will save approximately $8 million.

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