ASK OCE — July 20, 2006 — Vol. 1, Issue 10
The Department of Defense’s Transformational Satellite Communication System (TSAT) has not met its projected cost and schedule expectations and requires a more knowledge-based development approach to minimize project risk, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
TSAT is a key component of DoD’s evolution toward a network-centric communications system. It will be a space-based network consisting of a five-satellite constellation that is expected to provide survivable, jam-resistant, global, secure, and general purpose radio frequency and laser cross-links with air and other space systems.
GAO found that TSAT is running more than 3 years behind and $420 million dollars over its initial program goals. Its first satellite, originally slated for launch in April 2011, has been pushed back to September 2014. Recognizing the need to make adjustments, DOD has adopted a new incremental development approach that employs reduced capabilities in the first two satellites and more advanced capabilities in the later satellites. This will help reduce risks by introducing less new content and technology in the initial satellites.
Given what DoD now knows about the cost, schedule, technology readiness, and capability of its initial satellites, GAO recommended that DOD reassess the value of TSAT in the broader context of other DoD investments. GAO also recommended that DoD update requirements with its multiple user communities, prove all critical technologies will work as intended, and establish updated program performance goals.
Read the GAO report. (PDF)