The Consolidated Space Operations Center

Published: Jun 24, 1982. Publicly Released: Jun 24, 1982.
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GAO discussed Department of Defense (DOD) planning for a Consolidated Space Operations Center (CSOC). GAO focused on overall military space planning and its implications for the development of the center. DOD has recognized the need for a backup capability to the Satellite Control Facility which is located in a zone of high earthquake damage probability. The backup for the Sunnyvale satellite control operations and a secure military command center for sensitive DOD Space Shuttle operations were considered as candidates for colocation since inception. DOD considered whether the two systems could be merged into one center, and the concept of the CSOC was born. The Air Force selected a site and is requesting $88 million to begin construction, which it hopes to have partially operational in 4 years. The fully operational center is expected to cost $1.2 billion. There is no definition of exactly what the center is expected to accomplish, nor did GAO find adequate Air Force consideration of various cost effectiveness analysis approaches. Further, there is no central manager for military space operations to define the role and mission of the center relative to other space programs. In lieu of firm requirements, the Air Force has followed a development approach based on hasty achievement of short-term goals. GAO stated that the Secretary of Defense should take the following remedial actions: (1) designate a single manager for military space development and operation; and (2) prepare an overall plan for military exploitation of space to include consideration of an interim Satellite Operations Complex and support the plan by an adequate cost-benefit analysis of all viable alternatives. It is the view of GAO that, until these actions are implemented, the Air Force plans to build a complete space facility are not adequately supported and full funding of the consolidated center construction is questionable at this time.

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