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    Subject Term: Satellites

    15 publications with a total of 29 open recommendations
    Director: Mark Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that any future decisions by FCC regarding its efforts under the Communications Act of 1934 are based on comprehensive analysis, the FCC should, as part of its future annual video competition reports, analyze how the ongoing evolution in the video programming market affects competition in the related market for set-top boxes and devices, including how this evolution affects the extent to which consumer choice for devices to access MVPD content remains a relevant aspect of the competitive environment. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Gerald L. Dillingham, Ph.D.
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To respond to changes in the aviation and commercial space-transportation industries, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to fully examine and document whether the current regulatory framework is appropriate for aircraft that could be considered space support vehicles, and if not, suggest legislation or develop regulatory changes, or both, as applicable.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: David A. Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Given the importance of providing accurate and clear information to facilitate congressional decision making and inform the public, the Secretary of Commerce should direct NOAA's Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services to require satellite programs to perform regular availability assessments and use these analyses to inform the flyout charts and support its budget requests.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: NOAA agreed with this recommendation, but has not yet addressed it. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: Given the importance of providing accurate and clear information to facilitate congressional decision making and inform the public, the Secretary of Commerce should direct NOAA's Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services to establish and implement a consistent approach to depicting satellites that are expected to last beyond their design lives.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: NOAA agreed with this recommendation and has taken steps to implement it. The agency updated its flyout chart policy and is in the process of drafting a separate policy to describe how the satellite's extended life is to be predicted and to establish the agency's criteria for publishing the information. This policy is expected to be completed in Fall 2017. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: Given the importance of providing accurate and clear information to facilitate congressional decision making and inform the public, the Secretary of Commerce should direct NOAA's Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services to revise and finalize the draft policy governing how flyout charts are to be updated to address the shortfalls with analysis, accuracy, consistency, and documentation noted in the above recommendations.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: NOAA agreed with this recommendation and has taken steps to implement it. NOAA updated its policy governing how the flyout charts are to be updated. In doing so, the agency updated the policy's roles and responsibilities, guidelines, and its methodology for depicting extended life. However, the policy does not clearly define or describe fuel-limited life and its use, or establish standard artifacts for documenting and supporting planned changes to its flyout chart. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: Given the importance of providing accurate and clear information to facilitate congressional decision making and inform the public, the Secretary of Commerce should direct NOAA's Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services to ensure that flyout chart updates are consistent with supporting data from the program and from satellite availability assessments.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: NOAA agreed with this recommendation, but has not yet demonstrated the steps it is taking to ensure that flyout chart updates are consistent with supporting data. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: Given the importance of providing accurate and clear information to facilitate congressional decision making and inform the public, the Secretary of Commerce should direct NOAA's Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services, for each flyout chart update, to maintain a complete package of documentation on the reasons for any changes and executive approval of the changes.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: NOAA agreed with this recommendation and has taken steps to implement it. Specifically, NOAA provided its March 2017 flyout charts and the associated justification packages. However, NOAA has not established a standard set of artifacts to be included in the justification packages to support changes to its flyout charts. We are working with NOAA to obtain additional justification packages for the next iteration of flyout charts, and will continue to monitor the agency's actions on this recommendation.
    Director: Mark L. Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Chairman of FCC should review joint sales agreements (JSA) filed in stations' public inspection files to identify stations involved in those JSAs and take action to ensure that each station involved has filed its JSA as required.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2017, FCC officials stated that the agency has not taken any action related to this recommendation.
    Director: Chaplain, Cristina T
    Phone: (202)512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure DOD is sufficiently informed about the availability and reliability of data from U.S. civil government and international partner satellites as it plans for future SBEM capabilities that rely on such satellites, the Secretary of Defense should ensure the leads of future SBEM planning efforts establish formal mechanisms for coordination and collaboration with NOAA that specify roles and responsibilities and ensure accountability for both agencies.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2017, the Air Force and NOAA signed a memorandum of agreement under which the parties are to establish annexes for interagency acquisitions or support on SBEM efforts. The Air Force and NOAA are in the process of drafting two annexes for collecting SBEM data, expected to be completed by the winter of 2017, according to the Air Force. This effort does not cover collaboration between NOAA and DOD entities outside the Air Force, but NOAA is engaged in a separate memorandum of agreement with the Navy, which includes one annex that involves sharing data for SBEM-related activities. According to the Navy, additional draft annexes that would further SBEM-related data sharing are being considered. In addition, DOD and NOAA are in the process of responding to section 1607 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, which directs the agencies to jointly establish mechanisms to collaborate and coordinate in defining roles and responsibilities to carry out SBEM activities and plan for future nongovernmental SBEM capabilities, and to submit a report on the mechanism established.
    Director: Cristina Chaplain
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better position DOD as it continues pursuing GPS modernization, to have the information necessary to make decisions on how best to improve that modernization, and to mitigate risks to sustaining the GPS constellation, the Secretary of Defense should convene an independent task force comprising experts from other military services and defense agencies with substantial knowledge and expertise to provide an assessment to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics of the OCX program and concrete guidance for addressing the OCX program's underlying problems, particularly including: (1) A detailed engineering assessment of OCX defects to determine the systemic root causes of the defects; (2) Whether the contractor's software development procedures and practices match the levels described in the OCX systems engineering and software development plans; and (3) Whether the contractor is capable of executing the program as currently resourced and structured.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation. Prior to the program declaring a Nunn-McCurdy breach on June 30, 2016, the only independent assessment was conducted by Defense Digital Services and was limited in focus to software development. Air Force notes a completion date of independent assessment on Sept 29, 2017. Once received, we will evaluate whether that meets the intent of the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better position DOD as it continues pursuing GPS modernization, to have the information necessary to make decisions on how best to improve that modernization, and to mitigate risks to sustaining the GPS constellation, the Secretary of Defense should develop high confidence OCX cost and schedule estimates based on actual track record for productivity and learning curves.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation. Prior to the program declaring a Nunn-McCurdy breach on June 30, 2016, no high confidence cost assessment was completed. The Air Force and contractor provided schedule assessments that were not evaluated and considered low-risk, but were directed to execute a 24 month schedule extension with no assessment of its feasibility and that did not take into account past contractor performance. Pending Nunn-McCurdy documentation and repeat of Milestone B, there is no evidence a high confidence cost or schedule has been put in place. Once we receive documentation on approval of Milestone B, we will reevaluate.
    Recommendation: To better position DOD as it continues pursuing GPS modernization, to have the information necessary to make decisions on how best to improve that modernization, and to mitigate risks to sustaining the GPS constellation, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Air Force to retain experts from the independent task force as a management advisory team to assist the OCX program office in conducting regular systemic analysis of defects and to help ensure OCX corrective measures are implemented successfully and sustained.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation. Prior to the program declaring a Nunn-McCurdy breach on June 30, 2016, Defense Digital Services were initially retained for a month and subsequently remain embedded with contractor software developers to provide advice on development and process improvements. Upon completion of the Nunn-McCurdy review and continued involvement of Defense Digital Services, we will examine the extent to which the program has met this recommendation if the program is recertified to determine if this recommendation was met. Air Force did not provide an update to this recommendation in 2017, but program still has not had Milestone B approved and the Defense Digital Services group is no longer engaged on OCX.
    Recommendation: To better position DOD as it continues pursuing GPS modernization, to have the information necessary to make decisions on how best to improve that modernization, and to mitigate risks to sustaining the GPS constellation, the Secretary of Defense should put in place a mechanism for ensuring that the knowledge gained from the OCX assessment is used to determine whether further programmatic changes are needed to strengthen oversight.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation. Senior quarterly reviews continue of the OCX program and have been in place since December 2015. Documentation still pending on Milestone B to see if these reviews have informed programmatic changes that better position DOD to complete this acquisition.
    Director: Cristina Chaplain
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: When planning for the next phase of national security space launches, Phase 2, the Secretary of the Air Force should consider using an incremental approach to the next launch services acquisition strategy. Planning for acquisitions on a short term basis will help ensure that the Air Force does not commit itself to a strategy until the appropriate amount of data is available to make an informed decision, and will allow for flexibility in responding to a changing launch industry.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation but has not yet completed actions necessary to implement it. The acquisition strategy for the next phase of national security launches, Phase 2, has not yet been finalized by the Air Force. The EELV program office expects it to be completed in the summer of 2018.
    Director: Mak, Marie A
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order for NASA to fully implement the NASA Authorization Act of 2008 and for CASIS to fulfill its responsibility as outlined in the cooperative agreement, the NASA Administrator should direct the Associate Administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate to fully staff the ISS National Laboratory Advisory Committee.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: NASA does not plan to staff the International Space Station National Laboratory Advisory Committee (INLAC) at this time. Officials stated that they continue to believe that the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) Board of Directors meets the intent of the INLAC charter by providing oversight of CASIS implementation of utilization of the ISS as a national laboratory. NASA remains concerned about staffing another oversight group that may create conflicts with the existing CASIS Board of Directors. NASA is also exploring with CASIS opportunities to open portions of board meetings to the general public and interested parties in order to foster additional transparency and a broad and free exchange of ideas. In response to this recommendation, the Associate Administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate indicated that NASA was seeking relief from the statutory requirement to staff the INLAC.
    Director: Cristina T. Chaplain
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve technology planning and ensure planning efforts are clearly aligned with the SBIRS follow-on, the Secretary of the Air Force should establish a technology insertion plan as part of the SBIRS follow-on acquisition strategy that identifies obsolescence needs as well as specific potential technologies and insertion points.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation. DOD's planned action on the scope and focus of technology insertion will be based on the direction provided in the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) Follow-on Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) and will be executed through the SBIRS Space Modernization Initiative (SMI). The SBIRS AoA was completed in March 2016; however, as of June 2017, the SMI schedule has yet to show how technology will be inserted into the follow-on system.
    Director: Dave Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To address risks in the GOES-R program development and to help ensure that the satellite is launched on time, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the NOAA Administrator to address shortfalls in defect management identified in this report, including the lack of clear guidance on defect definitions, what defect metrics should be collected and reported, and how to establish a defect's priority or severity.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: NOAA agreed with this recommendation. The agency subsequently reported that contractors are required to report defects and that the agency can place a hold or put liens against contractors if defects are not addressed. NOAA also provided documentation to support its recurring meetings at which defects are addressed. Additionally, NOAA provided documentation on its defect reporting requirements and definitions. However, NOAA did not provide documentation showing what defect metrics should be collected and reported, and how to establish a defect's priority or severity. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions on this recommendation.
    Director: Chaplain, Cristina T
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that satellites storage is fully considered at the beginning of the acquisition process for all satellite programs and sufficient detailed cost data are maintained, the Secretary of Defense should provide guidance regarding when and how to use storage in the acquisition process, and establish mechanisms so that more detailed data are maintained for use in evaluating the reasonableness of contractors' storage cost proposals and for informing DOD's oversight of satellite acquisitions.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its response to the report, DOD concurred with the recommendation and noted that it is important to develop guidance regarding the use of satellite storage in the acquisition process. In addition, DOD agreed that it is important to establish mechanisms such that more detailed data are available to evaluate storage cost proposals and inform the oversight of satellite acquisitions. In October 2015, DOD provided GAO with draft language that it planned to include in the Space Systems chapter of the Defense Acquisition Guidebook (DAG) when the final chapter was to be published. In an August 24, 2016, response to a GAO inquiry regarding the language not appearing in the on-line version of the DAG, the office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (USD/AT&L) explained that the Space Systems chapter of the DAG had been deleted. USD/AT&L stated it was working to incorporate the proposed language in the next revision of the DAG, scheduled to be completed in December 2016. A September 12, 2017, search of DOD's on-line guidance did not locate any guidance related to satellite storage. DOD liaison was contacted, but no information has been provided yet as of September 2017.
    Director: Cristina Chaplain
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Before making decisions on whether to disaggregate DOD's protected satellite communications, SBIRS, or environmental monitoring satellite systems, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to develop common measures for resilience.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has not yet developed common measures for resilience, but has stated standard metrics are under development. Results from a recent study by the National Security Space Enterprise Vision Tiger Team are expected to develop resilience requirements and options for attaining resiliency. DOD plans to use the Space Based Infrared System Follow-on as a test case for describing resilience as a system requirement. The Air Force approved a draft capability development document in February 2017, and a full capability development document is under development. In addition, DOD has identified mission assurance and resiliency as priorities for the next Space Strategic Portfolio Review. GAO's ongoing review of hosted payloads, to be conducted over the next year, will likely review issues related to this area.
    Recommendation: Before making decisions on whether to disaggregate DOD's protected satellite communications, SBIRS, or environmental monitoring satellite systems, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to expand demonstration efforts to examine the operational feasibility of disaggregation by empirically quantifying its benefits and limitations as well as addressing longstanding barriers that could hinder its implementation.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has not yet empirically quantified the benefits and limitations of disaggregation, or addressed longstanding barriers that could hinder its implementation, through a demonstration of operational feasibility. However, DOD stated it has considered the disaggregation of certain capabilities in previous war games, and lessons learned will be carried forward into future war games. For example, the most recent war games focused on ways to increase space system resilience by expanding and integrating international and private sector capabilities, and increasing the number of sensors and associated coverage.
    Recommendation: Before making decisions on whether to disaggregate DOD's protected satellite communications, Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS), or environmental monitoring satellite systems, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to comprehensively examine--either through the Analysis of Alternatives studies or through other assessments--the full range of disaggregation issues, including those that go beyond the satellite systems themselves.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has made progress toward assessing disaggregation through its analysis of alternatives (AOA) efforts for individual satellite programs within three areas: protected satellite communications services (PSCS), space-based environmental monitoring (SBEM), and the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS). However, DOD has not yet completed a comprehensive examination of the full range of disaggregation issues. DOD completed the SBEM AOA in October 2013, the SBIRS Follow-on AOA in December 2015, and the PSCS AOA in February 2016. These AOAs each included cost, capability, and risk analyses for aggregated and disaggregated alternatives, though each did not assess the full range of disaggregation issues for the subject area. For example, the SBEM AOA evaluated options including placing sensors on host satellites, placing satellites in different orbits, and relying on international and U.S. civil partners to provide some capabilities, but it focused on the space segment and did not analyze alternative ground segment components. The AOA team determined impacts to the ground segment would need to be assessed more thoroughly once DOD decided on a solution. In October 2016, the Air Force approved an acquisition strategy for the planned solution, called the Weather System Follow-on - Microwave. The program has not yet assessed ground segment impacts, but the Air Force stated it will be assessed further once a contract is awarded. For the PSCS and SBIRS areas, the Air Force conducted subsequent studies on resiliency in 2016, which evaluated the benefits of resiliency in future architectures for satellite communications missions and informed resilience requirements for the SBIRS Follow-on. GAO has ongoing work in these areas and plans to complete reviews of the AOAs in the fall of 2017 and a hosted payload review in the next year.
    Director: Goldstein, Mark L
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that the increasing risks of GPS disruptions to the nation's critical infrastructure are effectively managed, the Secretary of Homeland Security should increase the reliability and usefulness of the GPS risk assessment by developing a plan and time frame to collect relevant threat, vulnerability, and consequence data for the various critical infrastructure sectors, and periodically review the readiness of data to conduct a more data-driven risk assessment while ensuring that DHS's assessment approach is more consistent with the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP).

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS officials had previously indicated that DHS's Office of Infrastructure Protection (IP) and Office of Cyber and Infrastructure Analysis (OCIA) have discussed an update of the GPS risk assessment, noting that such an update may be included in fiscal year 2017 planning documents. However, as of February 2017, no documentation had been provided that demonstrates such plans. Additionally, information from DHS shows that DHS has continued other efforts to collect potentially relevant threat, vulnerability, and consequence data for various GPS equipment in use. For example, according to DHS officials, DHS has conducted visits to major maritime, finance, wireless communications, and electricity firms to gauge their understanding of GPS vulnerabilities and of technology- and strategy-based efforts to improve GPS resilience, and DHS documentation shows that DHS has held events to test GPS receivers as part of assessing vulnerabilities. We will update the status of this recommendation after we receive additional information from DHS.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the increasing risks of GPS disruptions to the nation's critical infrastructure are effectively managed, the Secretary of Homeland Security should, as part of current critical infrastructure protection planning with Sector-Specific Agencys (SSAs) and sector partners, develop and issue a plan and metrics to measure the effectiveness of GPS risk mitigation efforts on critical infrastructure resiliency.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of February 2017, DHS documentation shows that DHS has worked with Sector Specific Agencies (SSAs) and other interagency partners to help manage GPS risks and continues to communicate information on risks to critical infrastructure partners. For example, according to DHS officials, this included briefing field staff and developing questions for infrastructure surveys to gather information on GPS resilience at the facility level. According to DHS officials, at the national level DHS included GPS in discussions with SSAs on topics they could include in their Sector-Specific Plans (each SSA develops a Sector-Specific Plan to detail risk management in its critical infrastructure sector), but DHS has also indicated that sector-oriented metrics are not a viable means of assessing risk management actions. We will update the status of this recommendation after we receive additional information from DHS.
    Recommendation: To improve collaboration and address uncertainties in fulfilling the National Security Presidential Directive 39 (NSPD-39) backup-capabilities requirement, the Secretaries of Transportation and Homeland Security should establish a formal, written agreement that details how the agencies plan to address their shared responsibility. This agreement should address uncertainties, including clarifying and defining DOT's and DHS's respective roles, responsibilities, and authorities; establishing clear, agreed-upon outcomes; establishing how the agencies will monitor and report on progress toward those outcomes; and setting forth the agencies' plans for examining relevant issues, such as the roles of SSAs and industry, how NSPD-39 fits into the NIPP risk management framework, whether an update to the NSPD-39 is needed, or other issues as deemed necessary by the agencies.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of February 2017, the National Executive Committee for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Executive Steering group had established an interagency team called the "Complementary PNT Tiger Team" co-chaired by DHS, DOT, and DOD. This team was formed to manage the federal government's efforts to establish a national backup system to GPS. According to DHS officials, this organizational structure obviates the need for a formal, written agreement between DOT and DHS specific to GPS backup responsibilities. They also stated that, in a separate but related effort, DHS, DOT, and DOD are discussing a tri-lateral agreement that covers a broad spectrum of PNT-related responsibilities and activities. We will update the status of this recommendation after we receive additional information from DHS.
    Recommendation: To improve collaboration and address uncertainties in fulfilling the National Security Presidential Directive 39 (NSPD-39) backup-capabilities requirement, the Secretaries of Transportation and Homeland Security should establish a formal, written agreement that details how the agencies plan to address their shared responsibility. This agreement should address uncertainties, including clarifying and defining DOT's and DHS's respective roles, responsibilities, and authorities; establishing clear, agreed-upon outcomes; establishing how the agencies will monitor and report on progress toward those outcomes; and setting forth the agencies' plans for examining relevant issues, such as the roles of SSAs and industry, how NSPD-39 fits into the NIPP risk management framework, whether an update to the NSPD-39 is needed, or other issues as deemed necessary by the agencies.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of February 2017, the National Executive Committee for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Executive Steering group had established an interagency team--called the "Complementary PNT Tiger Team"--co-chaired by DHS, DOT, and DOD. This team was formed to manage the federal government's efforts to establish a national backup system to GPS. According to DHS officials, this organizational structure obviates the need for a formal, written agreement between DOT and DHS specific to GPS backup responsibilities. They also stated that, in a separate but related effort, DHS, DOT, and DOD are discussing a tri-lateral agreement that covers a broad spectrum of PNT-related responsibilities and activities. We will update the status of this recommendation after we receive additional information from DOT.
    Director: Mak, Marie A
    Phone: (202) 512-2527

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better position the Department of Defense (DOD) as it continues pursuing more affordable GPS options, and to have the information necessary to make decisions on how best to improve the GPS constellation, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to affirm the future GPS constellation size that the Air Force plans to support, given the differences in the derived requirement of the 24-satellite constellation and the 30-satellite constellations called for in each of the space segment options in the Air Force's report.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation, noting that the numbers of satellites required are affirmed annually in the President's Budget request. However, DOD continues to support a 30-satellite constellation, as established in each of the options its GPS study considered. Since the time of the report, DOD has not taken any action to reassess their approach to support a 24 or 30 GPS satellite constellation. Until they do, we believe this recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: To better position the DOD as it continues pursuing more affordable GPS options, and to have the information necessary to make decisions on how best to improve the GPS constellation, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to ensure that future assessments of options include full consideration of the space, ground control, and user equipment segments, and are comprehensive with regard to their assessment of costs, technical and programmatic risks, and schedule.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation, noting that, while consideration of the space and ground control segments should be comprehensive in these areas, the user equipment segment should be included in future assessments when those assessments include the fielding of new user equipment capability. Since the time of our report, DOD has not conducted a comprehensive assessment of future GPS options that includes all segments. Until they do, we cannot determine if they will include full consideration of the space, ground control, and user equipment segments, and are comprehensive with regard to their assessment of costs, technical and programmatic risks, and schedule.
    Recommendation: To better position the DOD as it continues pursuing more affordable GPS options, and to have the information necessary to make decisions on how best to improve the GPS constellation, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to engage stakeholders from the broader civilian community identified in positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) policy in future assessments of options. This input should include civilian GPS signals, signal quality and integrity, which signals should be included or excluded from options, as well as issues pertaining to other technical and programmatic matters.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation, noting that stakeholders from the broader civilian community identified in PNT policy should be engaged in future assessment of options that include changes to the Standard Positioning System performance standard or to agreements or commitments the DOD has already made with civil stakeholders. Until DOD conducts future assessments of options for GPS constellations, we cannot determine if they will include the views of stakeholders from the broader civilian GPS user community with respect to civilian GPS signals, signal quality and integrity, and other technical and programmatic matters.
    Director: Chaplain, Cristina T
    Phone: (202)512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better facilitate the conduct of satellite control operations and accountability for the estimated millions of dollars in satellite control investments, and to reduce fragmentation, the Secretary of Defense should develop a department-wide long-term plan for modernizing its Air Force Satellite Control Network and any future shared satellite control services and capabilities. This plan should identify methods that can capture or estimate satellite control costs as well as authorities that can be given to the program managers to give them the flexibility needed to ensure ground systems are built to a common network when the business case analysis shows it to be beneficial. This plan should also identify which commercial practices, if any, can improve DOD satellite control operations in the near- and long-term, and as appropriate, develop a plan of action for implementing them.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: On December 26, 2013 the President signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 (H.R. 3304) which, in Section 822, requires the Secretary of Defense to develop a DOD-wide long-term plan for satellite ground control systems, including the Department's Air Force Satellite Control Network, not later than one year after the date of the enactment of the Act. DOD plans to finalize its satellite ground control system plan in late 2017.