US DoD faces space capability delays, says GAO report


The US Department of Defense (DoD) is continuously facing challenges of delayed delivery of critical space capabilities, according to a new report released by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO).

A review conducted by the GAO has found that many major DoD space programmes have experienced cost and schedule increases.

The nine-year delay in the scheduled launch of the space-based infrared system (SBIRS) increased the costs by nearly 300%.

GAO found that costs for the Advanced Extremely High-Frequency (AEHF) satellite programme grew by 118% and its first satellite was launched more than 3.5 years late.

Both SBIRS and AEHF programme are currently in the production phase, during which technical problems tend to surface, GAO stated.

The review of the Global Positioning System (GPS) reveals that the satellites, ground systems, and user equipment continue to be on a high-risk path.

"GAO has recommended the DoD to adopt acquisition best practices to help ensure cost and schedule goals are met."

According to the report, the launch of the first GPS satellite has been delayed almost four years due to technical problems.

The development challenges for the satellite's ground system have resulted in setbacks, according to the statement.

The US Air Force has started two other ground system efforts as workarounds in order to reduce the risk of postponed GPS capability.

GAO has recommended the DoD to adopt acquisition best practices to help ensure cost and schedule goals are met.

The DoD satellite space systems support the military and others with a wide range of critical capabilities, including meteorology, missile warning, and secure communications.

These systems are anticipated to be expensive to acquire and field, amounting to billions of dollars each year.