Defense Space Activities: National Security Space Strategy Needed to Guide Future DOD Space Efforts
The United States depends on space assets to support national security activities as well as civil and commercial activities. The Department of Defense (DOD) depends on space assets to support a wide range of military missions to include intelligence collection; battlefield surveillance and management; global command, control, and communications; and navigation assistance. This operational dependence on space has placed new and increasing demands on current space systems and organizations to meet Joint Force Commanders' needs. Moreover, concerns have increased regarding emerging threats that could affect the United States' and other countries' access to the free use of space. GAO plans to issue a report regarding ORS acquisition issues by April 2008, and by July 2008 we will issue a report regarding how ORS is being developed to satisfy warfighter needs. However, GAO is providing Congress this letter because during the course of our work on how Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) is being developed to satisfy warfighter needs, GAO learned that the National Security Space Office developed a National Security Space Strategy in 2004, but it has not been issued. GAO is bringing this matter to Congress' attention because without a strategy in place to link the defense and intelligence communities, future space programs, plans, and new space concepts, such as ORS, will be developed without the overarching strategic guidance that a national strategy could provide. Moreover, in April 2003, GAO recommended and DOD agreed that space activities needed to include a national security space strategy tied to overall department-level space goals, timelines, and performance measures to assess space activities' progress in achieving national security space goals.
Matter for Congressional Consideration
|Because our previous recommendation regarding the need for a national security space strategy was not implemented, Congress may wish to consider requiring the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence to identify and resolve remaining differences of opinion and issue a National Security Space Strategy.||In January 2011, the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence issued a National Security Space Strategy. The strategy includes elements that GAO highlighted as important, including strategic objectives that are linked to high-level strategies such as those principles and goals found in the National Space Policy and the National Security Strategy.|