Satellite Control Capabilities:

National Policy Could Help Consolidation and Cost Savings

NSIAD-96-77: Published: May 2, 1996. Publicly Released: May 2, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) and intelligence community's potential opportunities to consolidate satellite control functions.

GAO found that: (1) the defense, intelligence, and civil satellite control networks have little interoperability and do not effectively use the resources and facilities available to them; (2) efforts to study cost reductions that would result from combining satellite control networks have been largely unsuccessful; (3) a national satellite control policy that encourages interoperability and consolidation is needed; (4) in 1993, the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) was established to coordinate science, space, and technology policies throughout the federal government; and (5) NSTC could encourage cost reduction in the satellite control networks through interoperability and consolidation.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: NSTC should develop an inter-sector space policy, to be included with its revisions of other space policies, that would direct integration, consolidation, and sharing, to the extent feasible, of the nation's satellite control networks.

    Agency Affected: National Science and Technology Council

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On September 19, 1996, NSTC issued new national space policy that included guidelines to the Department of Defense to pursue integrated satellite control and coordinate with other departments and agencies to foster the integration and interoperability of satellite control for all government space activities.

    Recommendation: NSTC should require the Secretaries of Defense and Commerce and the Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), with appropriate input from the Director of Central Intelligence, to establish a coordinated management structure to implement the policy by completing the necessary studies, preparing an integrated architecture, and making cost-effective decisions on the respective agencies' network upgrades.

    Agency Affected: National Science and Technology Council

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On September 19, 1996, NSTC issued new national space policy that included guidelines to the Department of Defense to pursue integrated satellite control and coordinate with other departments and agencies to foster the integration and interoperability of satellite control for all government space activities.

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