Military Satellite Communications:

DOD Needs to Review Requirements and Strengthen Leasing Practices

NSIAD-94-48: Published: Feb 24, 1994. Publicly Released: Feb 24, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) military satellite communications, focusing on: (1) whether changes in DOD communication requirements significantly reduce the use of commercial satellite communications; and (2) inefficiencies in DOD commercial satellite leasing practices.

GAO found that: (1) national policies have emphasized greater use of commercial satellite communications to reduce the cost of military satellite communications; (2) the potential for utilizing commercial satellite communication services has been reduced due to overstated core requirements and understated general purpose requirements; (3) DOD has established a new criterion that has lowered its communication requirements by 40 percent; (4) DOD commercial satellite leasing practices are inefficient and do not utilize economies of scale; (5) DOD lacks adequate planning and often does not obtain cost-effective satellite communication services because most communication satellite leasing is obtained on an ad hoc basis; and (6) DOD could reduce communication leasing costs by packaging circuits into larger quantities and using full satellite transponders that have the capacity to handle multiple circuits.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In a letter to GAO, dated July 14, 1995, the DOD/IG enclosed an internal DOD memorandum stating that DOD concurred with, and has implemented, the recommendation, which was consistent with departmental strategy to meet user requirements in the most cost-effective manner.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should review military satellite communication requirements, considering the new criterion used for making projections and the different means of paying for military and commercial communications, to ensure that maximum consideration is given to the use of commercial communication services.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In a letter to GAO, dated July 14, 1995, the DOD/IG enclosed an internal DOD memorandum stating that DOD concurred with, and has implemented, the recommendation into DOD policy for the use of commercial satellite communications.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should strengthen commercial satellite communication leasing practices by identifying the extent of commercial services being leased on an ad hoc basis by DOD components.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In a letter to GAO, dated July 14, 1995, the DOD/IG enclosed an internal DOD memorandum stating that DOD concurred with, and has implemented, the recommendation into DOD policy for the use of commercial satellite communications.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should strengthen commercial satellite communication leasing practices by establishing firm policy and procedures for DOD components to coordinate their needs for these services through a central organization, such as the Defense Commercial Communications Office.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In a letter to GAO, dated July 14, 1995, the DOD/IG enclosed an internal DOD memorandum stating that DOD concurred with, and has implemented, the recommendation into DOD policy for the use of commercial satellite communications.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should strengthen commercial satellite communication leasing practices by directing that requests for commercial services be consolidated into economical packages and long-term leases, to the extent practical.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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