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GAO: DoD Should Centralize Info About Hosting Government Payloads on Commercial Satellites

The Government Accountability Office called on the Defense Department to collect and consolidate agency-wide knowledge about hosting government payloads aboard commercially manufactured satellites.

GAO said Monday it found that, although multiple offices within the DoD engage in activities pertaining to commercially hosted payloads, they do so independently, resulting in a fragmented knowledge base that contributed “to resistance within [the agency] to using hosted payloads.”

The congressional watchdog proposed that pertinent programs submit relevant data, such as cost, technical specifications, and lessons learned, to a central office to facilitate the sharing of information.

Although a central repository already exists in the form of the Hosted Payload Office, its establishing directive does not instruct it to coordinate beyond the U.S. Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, under which the office is organized.

GAO nevertheless recommended that the DoD “consider whether the [HPO] is the most appropriate office to centralize agency-wide knowledge.”

The agency added that, without access to centralized knowledge, the DoD’s ability to make informed decisions about the viability of using commercial satellites may be limited, and the agency may miss “opportunities to rapidly and affordably address emerging threats in space.”

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