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GAO: DOD Should Adopt Leading Practices for Space Systems Acquisition

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has recommended that the Department of Defense (DOD) implement leading practices for acquiring space systems, including the development of a comprehensive acquisition strategy for the Space Command and Control program and a plan to obtain additional knowledge before launching a new initiative, in order to help accelerate the delivery of new capabilities.

GAO called on DOD to create a plan to obtain additional knowledge before kicking off a new wideband satellite communications initiative, according to a report published Monday.

The congressional watchdog made the recommendations after it found that DOD still faces challenges when it comes to space systems procurement amid major changes to the acquisition environment.

“Some of these changes are external to DOD, such as increased threats to on-orbit space systems. But over the past several years, DOD also initiated substantial organizational and acquisition process changes,” the report states.

One of those initiatives is implementing an incremental approach to buying space launch services, which enabled the Pentagon to minimize risk by allowing lessons learned from “early launch competitions to inform subsequent competitions.”