Congress cuts funds for traditional Defense satellite programs

Amid concerns about high costs and schedule delays, Congress has cut funding for traditional satellite programs at the Defense Department, while strongly endorsing a new Air Force project to develop small, affordable satellites.

The conference report on the fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill passed by Congress said the House and Senate Armed Services committees were concerned about the priorities, costs and requirements in current satellite acquisitions. The report said that certain programs "have been terminated early to free up funding for next-generation satellite systems, and new programs have been started with immature technologies and without clear and feasible requirements."

Some satellite programs have had overly aggressive schedules, insufficient funding and inadequate personnel, the report said, resulting in a national space program "plagued with schedule delays, technical difficulties and cost overruns."

This language echoes the conclusions reached by the Government Accountability Office in a report (GAO-07-730) released in April. It said the majority of large Defense space acquisition programs over the past two decades have experienced problems that have driven up costs (sometimes more than 100 percent above original estimates) and lengthened schedules.

The conference report said the committees strongly support the alternatives offered by the Air Force's Operationally Responsive Space Office established this May. Its goal is to develop new satellites in months rather than years for projects such as the next generation of the Global Positioning System and the Transformational Communications Satellite system. The office also is working on developing satellites that could be launched in days or weeks to replace aging satellites.

The authorization bill slashed $100 million from the Pentagon's requested $587.2 million budget for the next-generation GPS III satellite due to concerns by the Armed Services committees that the Air Force may be adding capabilities -- such as spot beams to cover a particular portion of the globe and cross links between satellites -- that may no longer be required.

The authorization bill also cut the requested budget for the Transformational Satellite Program by $150 million to $814 million. The budget for the program, which is intended to provide Defense users with broadband communications, has jumped from $15 billion to $17.5 billion, with the launch date pushed back from 2011 to 2015.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.