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GAO: Space Force Should Present More Transparent Schedule, Cost Risk Data for Next Gen OPIR Program

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Next Generation
Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has recommended that the Space Force provide congressional defense committees with more transparent data about cost and schedule risks facing the Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) missile warning satellite program to improve congressional oversight and decision-making.

GAO found that program officials continue to report stable cost estimates and on-track timeline for the Next Gen OPIR program despite being aware of schedule risks, according to a report published Wednesday.

The congressional watchdog called on the Department of Defense (DOD) to formalize a plan to coordinate initiatives across multiple agencies to ensure that Next Gen OPIR capabilities meet warfighter needs.

“Without documenting roles, responsibilities, and plans, DOD risks ineffective collaboration and unsynchronized delivery of warfighter capabilities,” the GAO report reads.

The first Next Gen OPIR satellite is expected to launch in 2025. The program seeks to replace the Space-Based Infrared System that has been in operation since the mid-1990s.