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GAO: Pentagon, ODNI Need to Clarify Roles, Responsibilities for Commercial Satellite Imagery Acquisition

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The Government Accountability Office has recommended that the Department of Defense and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence establish clear roles and responsibilities for the acquisition of commercial satellite imagery and evaluate various approaches to emerging commercial satellite capabilities.

GAO made the recommendation after it found that there is no guidance outlining organizational responsibilities and roles across DOD and the Intelligence Community for procuring commercial satellite imagery, according to a report published Wednesday.

The congressional watchdog also found that the Pentagon and IC have not come up with an approach to integrate emerging commercial satellite imagery capabilities into geospatial-intelligence operations.

“Without doing so, the U.S. may lose ground in space to competitors such as China, and the U.S. commercial industry may be limited in their ability to compete with foreign competitors,” the GAO report reads.

According to the report, DOD and ODNI should ensure that the National Reconnaissance Office and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency develop performance goals and measures that help support efforts to maximize the use of commercial satellite imagery.

GAO also called on ODNI to create guidance outlining specific responsibilities and roles for analytics services that use remote sensing data.