This whole GAO finding was (IMHO) aimed at telling the US Air Force to get on the ball and get the GPS upgrade back on track, or risk being dissolved and absorbed by the US Army and the US Navy
. Yes, there's actually talk in government
right now on that very subject. Remember that the F22, the most expensive weapons system ever created (I think), had not seen any action at all in the war with Iraq, and hasn't been used for post-war peace keeping in Iraq or Afghanistan. Other than a support role, the Air Force has been on the sidelines post-911.
There's lot's of turmoil in the Air Force acquisitions office right now, especially in lieu of the air tanker scandal a few years back (which resulted in fed pen time for the former head
acquisitions official) and the current
F22 program, among others. It's well recognized in the US DoD that most large acquisitions programs like the F22 take too long and is too expensive. For instance, technology passes them by, requiring updating of technical requirement, costing more money
and time. Complex systems design is almost impossible to do when the regulations
and procedures coded into US law don't recognize that technology marches on, while the acquisitions process is mired in a cold-war era mentality.
That being said, there's no danger
that we'll lose GPS - it's the underpinning for a not-so-insignificant part of the US economy, as well as our national defense. As was said earlier, our government
will not allow it to fail - unless there's a successor in place.
I've probably said more than I should, but I just had to get that off my chest...