Maritime Administration's Satellite Communications Program:

Is It Still Needed?

LCD-77-107: Published: Oct 27, 1977. Publicly Released: Oct 27, 1977.

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The Maritime Administration needs to identify and demonstrate specific benefits that exceed the government's costs for continuing the satellite communications services offered shippers. The continuing development of maritime satellite communications-related technology by the Maritime Administration is questionable because this technology is now available commercially.

Many shipping companies have stated that the costs for procuring, installing, and operating shipboard satellite communications equipment are too high for them to independently finance these operations, especially since it has not been demonstrated that the potential benefits of satellite communications and related data processing could offset these costs.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Commerce should direct the Assistant Secretary for Maritime Affairs to: undertake a cost-benefit analysis of the satellite program to determine the value to the U.S. shipping industry of using the satellite communications and the available fleet management computer programs; demonstrate these benefits to the shipping industry if they can be shown to offset the equivalent commercial or Government costs for these services; correct promptly management deficiencies with emphasis on the development of and adherence to a master plan and requisite management controls and the method by which the Kings Point Center's functions can be turned over to private industry; and terminate the satellite program unless the first two recommendations can be fully achieved.

    Agency Affected:


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