Congress Should Weigh In To Issue National Security Space Strategy

By | March 31, 2008 | Satellite News Feed

Strategy Document Was Written Four Years Ago But Never Agreed To Or Released, GAO Reports

A quickly-written watchdog-agency letter to key Senate lawmakers disclosed that a National Security Space Strategy (NSSS) was written four years ago, but then sat gathering dust while disputes over the report were left unresolved.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) said without the guidance of such a strategy, the Department of Defense and Office of the Director of National Intelligence may not invest enough in some areas, such as acquiring and orbiting national security satellites, or they conversely may make redundant investments in other areas.

Therefore, Congress should consider ordering the secretary of defense and director of national security to resolve any remaining differences they might have over what the strategy should contain, and issue it, the GAO recommended in a letter to Rep. Bill Nelson, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee strategic forces subcommittee, and Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, ranking Republican on the panel.

That letter was hastily prepared and sent to the senators last week, even though GAO plans to provide them with an initial report in April and a more complete report in July, because GAO discovered that the National Security Space Office wrote an NSSS document four years ago, but it never was completed and issued.

Reasons for the delay ranged from a National Security Council request that the NSSS be delayed until a new National Space Policy document was released in October 2006, to later changes in leadership in the National Reconnaissance Office and the Air Force, to unresolved differences as to what the NSSS should contain.

To read the GAO letter in full, please go to http://www.gao.gov on the Web.

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