Space Acquisitions: Development and Oversight Challenges in Delivering Improved Space Situational Awareness Capabilities, Report to the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives   [open pdf - 1MB]

"The United States' growing dependence on space systems makes them vulnerable to a range of threats. DOD [Department of Defense] 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 [Government Accountability Office] 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. [...] GAO recommends that DOD assure--in approving the Space Fence and JMS [Joint Space Operations Center Mission System] acquisition efforts to initiate product development--that all critical technologies are identified and matured, and that other key risks have been fully assessed. If DOD determines that the programs should move forward with less mature technologies, DOD should assess available backup technologies and additional resources required to meet performance objectives. DOD agreed with the first recommendation and partially agreed with the second. GAO continues to believe DOD should assess required resources earlier than its stated intent."

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