National Space Issues:

Observations on Defense Space Programs and Activities

NSIAD-94-253: Published: Aug 16, 1994. Publicly Released: Aug 16, 1994.


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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) space programs and activities.

GAO found that: (1) since 1989, the government's efforts to acquire a new space launch system have been unsuccessful; (2) the administration's current national space transportation strategy does not identify a mechanism for implementing high-level management within the Executive Office of the President, address national security, civil and commercial launch requirements, ensure interagency coordination, or maintain program and funding stability; (3) DOD space acquisition decisions may be better served by more centralized organizational management and by separate space appropriations that include the military and intelligence sectors; (4) DOD could achieve greater satellite control efficiencies by developing an integrated satellite control network and consolidating space education and training programs; (5) DOD lacks an adequate and validated set of requirements to gain support, investments, and funding for an improved launch system; (6) DOD needs to increase its investment in space launch infrastructure and strengthen its management oversight and reporting mechanisms over the planned infrastructure investment; (7) although the U.S. commercial launch industry is price competitive with foreign launchers, the future commercial launch market appears limited; and (8) although DOD could significantly reduce satellite program costs by cancelling many of its procurements, converging meteorological satellite programs, and replacing large military satellites with lower cost systems, it needs to evaluate the impact of these actions against its overall satellite requirements.

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