Despite a growing investment in space, the majority of large-scale acquisition programs in the Department of Defense's (DOD) space portfolio have experienced problems during the past two decades that have driven up cost and schedules and increased technical risks. The cost resulting from acquisition problems along with the ambitious nature of space programs have resulted in cancellations of programs that were expected to require investments of tens of billions of dollars. Along with the cost increases, many programs are experiencing significant schedule delays--as much as 7 years--resulting in potential capability gaps in areas such as positioning, navigation, and timing; missile warning; and weather monitoring. This testimony focuses on (3) the condition of space acquisitions, (1) causal factors, (2) observations on the space industrial base, and (4) recommendations for better positioning programs and industry for success. In preparing this testimony, GAO relied on its body of work in space and other programs, including previously issued GAO reports on assessments of individual space programs, common problems affecting space system acquisitions, and DOD's acquisition policies.
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