The Department of Defense space systems acquisition policy

does not distinguish technology development from product

development and permits investment with incomplete knowledge

of project requirements, said GAO in response to DoD’s

assessment of its new acquisition policy.

It reiterated an earlier recommendation that Defense

separate technology development from product development

to avoid using resources for products that could fail. DoD,

which spends nearly $18 billion annually on space systems,

disagreed, asserting that the simultaneous development of

products and the technology they are based on allows them

to utilize the most cutting edge technology.

However, problems with both weapons and space systems

programs often result from a failure to match customer

needs and developer resources, technical knowledge, timing

and funding, in the early stages of product development.

GAO says this is reflected in DoD’s revised acquisitions

policy for non-space systems, but is lacking in its heavily

funded space systems program.

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