The United States' growing dependence on space systems makes them vulnerable to a range of threats. DOD has undertaken a variety of initiatives to provide space situational awareness (SSA)--the knowledge and characterization of space objects and the environment on which space operations depend. GAO was asked to (1) review key systems being planned and acquired to provide SSA, and their progress meeting cost, schedule, and performance goals; and (2) determine how much an integrated approach is being used to manage and oversee efforts to develop SSA capabilities. To achieve this, GAO analyzed documentation and interviewed key officials on major SSA development efforts and oversight and management of SSA. This report is an unclassified version of a classified report issued in February 2011.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Defense||1. For major space acquisition programs, GAO has consistently made recommendations to help ensure acquisition efforts are placed on a solid footing at program start. For SSA in particular, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to assure--as part of the approval for the Space Fence and JMS acquisition efforts to initiate product development--that all critical technologies are identified and matured to a level they can be demonstrated in a realistic or operational environment, and that other key program risks have been fully assessed to help ensure cost, schedule, and performance goals will be met (for JMS in particular, implementing this recommendation may require dividing the program into separate increments).|
|Department of Defense||2. For major space acquisition programs, GAO has consistently made recommendations to help ensure acquisition efforts are placed on a solid footing at program start. For SSA in particular, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, if a determination is made that the effort should move forward into product development with less mature technologies, to then conduct an assessment of available backup technologies that may lessen capability and add cost to the programs and the additional time, money, and effort that may be required to meet performance objectives.|