Pentagon Space Programs Hammered by GAO

October 28th, 2005 - by admin

UPI & Defense News – 2005-10-28 00:49:37

GAO Criticizes DoD Space Programs

(October 6, 2005) — In a recent report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) criticized the way that the Pentagon has managed its ballistic missile defense and space programs, which are worth $22.6 billion. 

It explicitly takes to task Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for not having followed through on his own commission’s recommendations:
“Since a January 2001 Space Commission report highlighted the need to develop and maintain a space cadre, DoD has made limited progress on defense wide space cadre actions…DoD has fallen behind its implementation schedule for its February space human capital strategy.” It also notes that the DoD has “taken limited actions to ensure the future success of its space cadre because it has not established a complete results-oriented management approach.” 

The GAO report also comments harshly on a DoD management technique that it also employs for its missile defense system: “DOD does not have performance measures and an evaluation plan to evaluate progress” for its space programs.

The report, “Defense Space Activities: Management Guidance and Performance Measures Needed to Develop Personnel,” (GAO-05-833), was released on Sept. 21, 2005, and is available at

Allard Reams Military Space Programs
Defense News

(October 3, 2005) — In a Sept. 23 speech to the National Defense Industrial Association, Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., harshly criticized the Pentagon’s space programs. 

He flatly stated, “We in Congress are tired of the frequent cost increases and schedule delays. We have heard all the excuses and they are no longer good enough. In many respects, the Air Force and its contractors have lost all credibility with Congress when it comes to space acquisition programs…Until its credibility is restored in Congress, you can expect the Air Force to face a struggle in its efforts to get its programs off the ground and into orbit.”

Allard also took the Air Force to task for using acquisition programs as “incubators for unproven technology.” He recommended that the Air Force develop a “successful space acquisition program that it can point to as an example program.”

NFIRE May Carry a Kill Vehicle
Global Security Newswire

(September 29, 2005) — The Missile Defense Agency (MDA)’s Near Field Infrared Experiment (NFIRE) may end up with a kill vehicle, even though Congress last year expressed its concerns about that possibly equating a test of a space-based weapon. 

In the Senate Appropriations Committee’s report for the FY 2006 defense bill is the recommendation that MDA use the recommended $13.7 million to “complete development and mission integration of the deployable NFIRE Kill Vehicle.” 

NFIRE was also shifted out of the Ballistic Missile Defense System Interceptor Program element into the BMD Technology Program element. Overall, the committee noted “the likelihood that fiscal year 2005 marked the high water mark for missile defense funding,” and rather pointedly urged for MDA to “do everything possible to maximize the capabilities of the systems in which heavy investments have been made over so many years.” 

Along those lines, the Ground-based Midcourse Missile Defense (GMD) system was granted by SAC an extra $200 million for more flight tests, the Aegis BMD system was allotted an additional $75 million “in order to accelerate production of the Standard Missile 3 and to make improvements to the system,” and, because of what the committee calls the “steady progress” of the Airborne Laser, an additional $10 million. 

The overall defense appropriations bill is being discussed by the Senate.