This report examines the history and current status of the EELV (Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle) program. The United States is in the midst of making significant changes in how best to pursue an acquisition strategy that would ensure continued access to space for national security missions. The current strategy for the EELV program dates from the 1990s and has since been revised a few times.
The future of the U.S. human space flight program is dominating debate about NASA. Pursuant to the "Vision for Space Exploration" announced by President Bush in January 2004, the shuttle program is to be terminated in 2010. The Vision directs NASA to focus its activities on returning humans to the Moon by 2020 and eventually sending them to Mars. How to manage Department of Defense (DOD) space programs to avoid the cost growth and schedule delays that have characterized several recent projects is a key issue facing DOD. The appropriate role of the government in facilitating commercial space businesses is an ongoing debate.