Headlines: DoD Certifies GPS OCX Program to Congress; GAO Reviews Air Force Report on GPS Acquisition
Information for Policymakers from the National Coordination Office for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT)
October 28, 2016
DoD Certifies GPS OCX Program to Congress
On October 13, Under Secretary of Defense Frank Kendall sent Congress the certification required by law to avoid termination of the GPS Next Generation Operational Control System (OCX) program. The Air Force had declared a critical Nunn-McCurdy breach (cost overrun) in the OCX budget on June 30, triggering a mandatory process to either cancel or restructure the program.
The OCX system will command all modernized and legacy GPS satellites, manage all civil and military navigation signals, and provide improved cybersecurity and resilience for the next generation of GPS operations. The alternatives to certifying the program included several options, including program termination, but this was deemed simply unworkable, due to the extended time it would require to design and field a new ground system for the vital GPS III network.
On October 17, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its assessment of the Air Force's first quarterly report on GPS acquisition. The FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) requires the Air Force to provide quarterly reports to GAO on GPS acquisition programs. It further directs GAO to brief the congressional defense committees on the Air Force's initial report.
GAO found that the first Air Force report lacked key information needed to track the quarterly progress of GPS III, OCX, and military user equipment. GAO also made recommendations for improving the transparency and effectiveness of future quarterly reports.
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