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What GAO Found The Department of Defense (DOD) conducted a comprehensive analysis of alternatives (AOA) process for wideband satellite communications, as determined through an assessment of the AOA against relevant GAO best practices.
What GAO Found GAO and others have found that using commercial satellites to host government sensors or communications packages—called payloads—may be one way DOD can achieve on-orbit capability faster and more affordably.
Commercial satellites are used by the U.S. government to provide a variety of fixed satellite services, such as military communications. However, the number of satellite operators providing such service has declined since 2000.
The Department of Defense (DOD) is working to achieve information superiority over adversaries and share information seamlessly among disparate weapons systems. Two programs envisioned as a part of this effort are Transformational Satellite Communications System (TSAT) and Space Radar.
DOD's space system acquisitions have experienced problems over the past several decades that have driven up costs by hundreds of millions, even billions of dollars, stretched schedules by years, and increased performance risks.
This report is GAO's fifth annual assessment of selected weapon programs. From 2001 to the present, the Department of Defense (DOD) has doubled its planned investment in new systems from approximately $750 billion to almost $1.5 trillion.
The Department of Defense (DOD) wants to create a networked force where soldiers and systems are able to operate together seamlessly. To help facilitate this transformation, DOD began the Transformational Satellite Communications System (TSAT) program in January 2004.
Through 2011, the Department of Defense (DOD) plans to spend $20 billion on unmanned aircraft systems, including the Army's "Warrior." Because of congressional concerns that some systems have been more costly and taken more time to produce than predicted, GAO reviewed the Warrior program.