Defense Space Activities:

Status of Reorganization

GAO-02-772R: Published: Jun 26, 2002. Publicly Released: Jun 26, 2002.

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Carol R. Schuster
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To meet long-standing concerns about the Department of Defense's (DOD) organization and management of national security space activities, Congress chartered the Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization to study the organization and management of space activities that support U.S. national security interests and make recommendations for improvements. DOD has decided to take actions related to 10 of the commission's 13 recommendations. These include recommendations for organizational changes aimed at consolidating some activities, changing chains of command, opening lines of communications, and modifying policies to achieve greater responsibility and accountability. Many changes have been implemented within the last few months, and thus related processes and procedures have not been completed. As a result, it is too early to determine whether these changes will enable DOD to promote and protect U.S. interests in space more effectively. Moreover, DOD has not yet completed plans for achieving some long-range goals, such as developing a cadre of space professionals and integrating military and intelligence space activities. The Secretary of Defense chose not to implement three of the commission's recommendations and is instead (1) opting to establish a focal point for space within the Air Force rather than an under secretary of defense, (2) increasing the Air Force's responsibilities for space activities by department directive rather than requesting legislative change, and (3) directing existing organizations to conduct innovative space research and development rather than create a new organization.

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