Defense Space Activities: National Security Space Strategy Needed to Guide Future DOD Space Efforts
GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
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The United States depends on space assets to support national security activities as well as civil and commercial activities. The Department of Defense DOD depends on space assets to support a wide range of military missions to include intelligence collection battlefield surveillance and management global command, control, and communications and navigation assistance. This operational dependence on space has placed new and increasing demands on current space systems and organizations to meet Joint Force Commanders needs. Moreover, concerns have increased regarding emerging threats that could affect the United States and other countries access to the free use of space. At your request, we are currently reviewing the acquisition and requirements processes of the DODs Operationally Responsive Space ORS concept. In response to this request, we plan to issue a report regarding ORS acquisition issues by April 2008, and by July 2008 we will issue a report regarding how ORS is being developed to satisfy warfighter needs. However, we are providing you this letter because during the course of our work on how ORS is being developed to satisfy warfighter needs, we learned that the National Security Space Office developed a National Security Space Strategy in 2004, but it has not been issued. We are bringing this matter to your attention because without a strategy in place to link the defense and intelligence communities, future space programs, plans, and new space concepts, such as ORS, will be developed without the overarching strategic guidance that a national strategy could provide. Moreover, in April 2003, GAO recommended and DOD agreed that space activities needed to include a national security space strategy tied to overall department-level space goals, timelines, and performance measures to assess space activities progress in achieving national security space goals.
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