McCain Slams USAF for OCX Delays

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is blasting the Air Force for the delays and cost growth of its ground-based satellite control system. The system, known as OCX, is a critical part of the Air Force’s next generation Global Positioning System. In a new report in his “America’s Most Wasted: Indefensible” series, McCain said modernizing GPS technology is so critical, “we can’t afford to get it wrong.” The report notes that because of poor contractor performance and weaknesses in the Pentagon’s acquisition and software development practices, OCX will likely be delivered four years late and cost more than twice the price estimated in 2010. “It is simply unacceptable that the American taxpayer is now on the hook for an additional $1.1 billion because the Air Force continues to bungle the development” of OCX, he said. Matthew Gilligan, vice president of navigation and environmental solutions at Raytheon, said in a statement emailed to Air Force Magazine that the OCX program “is on a strong foundation,” in spite of past challenges. “Nearly all of the corrective actions identified by Raytheon, the Air Force, and in independent reviews have been completed at this point,” he said. “The result is [an] increasingly strong program performance and OCX system maturity. … Raytheon believes that the fastest and most economical path forward to a fully capable ground system is to continue with the existing GPS OCX program, and to realize the benefits from the investments made in the program.” (Also see: Hardware Delivery for New GPS Ground Control.)