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.