Magazine article National Defense

GPS Control Program Survives Extra Scrutiny

Magazine article National Defense

GPS Control Program Survives Extra Scrutiny

Article excerpt

The Defense Department is pushing forward a key satellite control program, despite major cost overruns and schedule delays.

The next-generation GPS operational control system, known as OCX, has been under increased scrutiny since it sustained a Nunn-McCurdy breach in June. Following a program review required by law when such a breach occurs, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall recertified OCX in October.

Kendall determined that the "capabilities provided by the OCX program are essential to national security, [and] that no alternatives exist which would provide acceptable capability to meet requirements at less cost," Defense Department spokesman Mark Wright said in an email.

The acquisition chief also affirmed that remaining costs for the restructured OCX program are "reasonable and higher priority than programs whose funding must be reduced to accommodate the growth, and that the management structure for the program is adequate," Wright added.

Todd Harrison, director of defense budget analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said it's not surprising that Kendall signed off on it. "There really aren't that many good alternatives, and this is a must-have capability to keep the GPS constellation running and modernize it for future threats."

The latest total program cost estimate is $5.46 billion, which is billions of dollars more than earlier projections. …

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