The Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with the aid of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), plans to procure the next generation of geostationary operational environmental satellites, called the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites-R series (GOES-R). This series is considered critical to the United States' ability to maintain the continuity of data required for weather forecasting through the year 2028. GAO was asked to (1) assess the status and plans for GOES-R, and (2) evaluate whether NOAA is adequately mitigating key technical and programmatic risks. To do so, GAO analyzed contractor and program data and interviewed officials from NOAA and NASA.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Commerce||To improve NOAA's ability to effectively manage the procurement of the GOES-R system, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere to ensure that the GOES-R program office manages, mitigates, and reports on risks using a program-level risk list that is reconciled with and includes risks from its flight and operations project offices that could impact the overall program.|
|Department of Commerce||To improve NOAA's ability to effectively manage the procurement of the GOES-R system, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere to include the following risks on the programwide risk list, develop plans to mitigate them, and report to senior executives on progress in mitigating them: (1) unfilled or temporary GOES-R program leadership positions,(2) insufficient program insight on NASA contract performance, and (3) insufficient management reserve on the critical Advanced Baseline Imager instrument and at the GOES-R program level.|