GAO: DOD Should Find Options to Meet Narrowband Satcom Capability Needs

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has recommended that the Department of Defense (DOD) explore options for delivering narrowband satellite communications capabilities to meet near-term requirements and reassess its future narrowband satcom needs.

GAO made the recommendations after it found that DOD has failed to optimize the advanced capabilities of the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS), its narrowband military satcom platform, according to a report published Thursday.

The Pentagon has invested $7.4 billion to develop the MUOS satellite constellation, which has been in orbit for more than four years to deliver secure communications to warfighters, GAO noted.

The congressional watchdog also identified narrowband communications-related challenges facing the Pentagon, including users’ dependence on the communications platform before MUOS and limited design lives of five MUOS satellites on orbit.

According to the report, the department has not updated narrowband needs since 2010 and has not identified future narrowband satcom requirements after MUOS.

“Reexamining its narrowband communications needs will enhance DOD's ability to field a timely replacement for MUOS and ensure warfighters have needed communications tools in the future,” the GAO report reads.

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