Defense Acquisitions: Space-Based Infrared System-low at Risk of Missing Initial Deployment Date

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A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Pentagon considers defenses to counter attacks from ballistic missiles, both long-range strategic and shorter-range theater missiles, to be critical to U.S. national security. The Air Force is developing a new satellite system, called Space-Based Infrared System-low (SBIRS-low) to expand the military's infrared satellite capabilities for supporting ballistic missile defenses. GAO reviewed the Defense Department's (DOD) efforts to acquire SBIRS-low. Specifically, GAO (1) evaluated the cost, schedule, and performance risks of the current acquisition schedule; (2) evaluated the program's technical risks; and (3) determined whether DOD ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. February 28, 2001.

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Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Pentagon considers defenses to counter attacks from ballistic missiles, both long-range strategic and shorter-range theater missiles, to be critical to U.S. national security. The Air Force is developing a new satellite system, called Space-Based Infrared System-low (SBIRS-low) to expand the military's infrared satellite capabilities for supporting ballistic missile defenses. GAO reviewed the Defense Department's (DOD) efforts to acquire SBIRS-low. Specifically, GAO (1) evaluated the cost, schedule, and performance risks of the current acquisition schedule; (2) evaluated the program's technical risks; and (3) determined whether DOD has assessed alternative approaches to SBIRS-low. GAO found that the Air Force's current SBIRS-low acquisition schedule is of high risk of not delivering the system on time or at cost or with expected performance. SBIRS-low has high technical risks because some critical satellite technologies have been judged immature for the current stage of the program. DOD acquisition policy and procedures require that the cost and mission effectiveness of space systems be assessed relative to alternative terrestrial systems. However, the Air Force has not analyzed or identified terrestrial alternatives to the SBIRS-low system because, according to Air Force Space Command officials, terrestrial alternatives do not exist. Nevertheless, studies on various aspects of the National Missile Defense system by the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization and other groups have pointed out alternatives to SBIRS-low, such as sea- or land-based radar."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • February 28, 2001

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Defense Acquisitions: Space-Based Infrared System-low at Risk of Missing Initial Deployment Date, report, February 28, 2001; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc293761/: accessed July 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.