Military Satellite Communications: Potential for Greater Use of Commercial Satellite Capabilities
United States General Accounting Office Washington United States
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DOD expects its requirements for general purpose satellite communications to increase substantially during the next several years and to exceed the existing and planned capacity of military communication satellite systems. In the past, DOD has leased individual circuits on commercial communication satellites, but this is a costly approach. There are less costly alternatives that involve consolidating requirements and acquiring greater communications capacity. A specific alternative DOD is considering involves creating private networks by acquiring and managing commercial communication satellite assets. However, this alternative may be flawed because of restrictions associated with the government operating in nongovernment radio frequency bands. An alternative we explored involves a commercially equivalent military satellite system that would operate in a government radiofrequency band. However, additional study of a potential impediment is needed. There are also other alternatives that need to be analyzed, and DOD intends to hire several contractors to assist in the analyses during the next several months. Until this is done, and our review is completed, we would caution against DOD making any long-term commitments toward satisfying the expected increased requirements in general purpose satellite communications.
- Unmanned Spacecraft
- Radio Communications