GAO: Space Situational Awareness Modernization Risky

Government Accountability Office auditors warned last week that the Defense Department may be poised to move forward with immature technology and overly ambitious goals in the development of the Space Fence and the Joint Space Operations Center Mission System. These two programs are among the Defense Department’s major acquisition efforts to bolster the nation’s ability to monitor activities in space. “It is essential that these acquisitions are placed on a solid footing at the start of development to help ensure their capabilities are delivered to the warfighter as and when promised,” they state in GAO’s new report. The auditors are concerned that DOD is not fully maturing all critical technologies before launching the formal development phases of these two programs. “If these efforts do not progress as planned, risk of continuing or worsening [space situational awareness] capability gaps will result,” they state. (For more on Space Fence, read Australia Eyed as Space Fence Partner.)