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Global Positioning System: Significant Challenges in Sustaining and Upgrading Widely Used Capabilities

GAO-09-670T Published: May 07, 2009. Publicly Released: May 07, 2009.
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The Global Positioning System (GPS), which provides position, navigation, and timing data to users worldwide, has become essential to U.S. national security and a key tool in an expanding array of public service and commercial applications at home and abroad. The United States provides GPS data free of charge. The Air Force, which is responsible for GPS acquisition, is in the process of modernizing GPS. In light of the importance of GPS, the modernization effort, and international efforts to develop new systems, GAO was asked to undertake a broad review of GPS. Specifically, GAO assessed progress in (1) acquiring GPS satellites, (2) acquiring the ground control and user equipment necessary to leverage GPS satellite capabilities, and evaluated (3) coordination among federal agencies and other organizations to ensure GPS missions can be accomplished. To carry out this assessment, GAO's efforts included reviewing and analyzing program documentation, conducting its own analysis of Air Force satellite data, and interviewing key officials.

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Air Force procurementData collectionDefense capabilitiesDefense cost controlDefense procurementDocumentationGlobal positioning systemNeeds assessmentProgram evaluationProgram managementRisk managementSchedule slippagesStrategic planningSystems designSatellitesCost estimates