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FCW : December 2013
Case study 22 December 2013 FCW.COM action because of security and other concerns, and urged the agency to look into other options. NOAA of cials said any decision to use Chinese data would involve the whole of government, but they have not clari ed their stance since then except to say they are con- sidering several alternatives. Although a gap-filler satellite is an expensive option, it might be the most attractive one. On the surface, it would likely be easier to ask Congress to fund a stopgap satellite than to rely --- even temporarily --- on Chinese sat- ellite data, especially given China s past attempts to penetrate U.S. IT systems. Thomas Young, chairman of the review team and former director of NASA s Goddard Space Flight Center, said the urgent nature of such a sys- tem should trump congressional resis- tance. However, he stressed that even if NOAA and NASA were to get such a system into orbit by 2017, it would not entirely eliminate the risk of a gap. Overall, he said, NOAA needs to make large-scale changes to the way it procures weather satellites --- a fact made abundantly clear in nearly every criticism directed at NOAA. Right now, the agency is just one malfunctioning satellite away from a very serious problem. Young said that short of trying to speed up a JPSS pro- gram that might not be capable of such acceleration, out tting and launching a gap- ller satellite might be NOAA s best bet. If nothing else, it would give the agency another tool as it works to remedy the governance problems, launch delays and other issues that have plagued NOAA, NASA and DOD for two decades. "The absence of JPSS data due to a gap could potentially be catastrophic," Young said. "Even if it started today, such a program could not totally pro- tect against a gap. The current JPSS program is very fragile and needs to be made more robust." ■ JPSS brethren but a much shorter life expectancy. Because it is not likely to last past 2016, the gap in satellite data until JPSS-1 is launched could be as long as 17 to 54 months, according to testimony U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro made to the House Over- sight and Government Reform Com- mittee in February. Lawmakers were not happy when they learned of the problem, and they were even less pleased after testimony by NOAA and NASA of cials in Sep- tember suggested that NOAA still had not developed a plan for covering the gap. One of the main talking points at the September hearing was a NOAA- commissioned report that concluded that the agency s only "silver-bullet" x for the gap was pursuing a partnership with China to use data from its next- generation polar-orbiting satellites. Several lawmakers discouraged NOAA s pursuit of that course of FREE ON DEMAND WEBCAST: SECOND INSTALLMENT Join Linda Cureton, former CIO of NASA and now CEO of Muse Tech- nologies and others as they share how agencies can take full advantage of new and emerging technologies while addressing their IT governance concerns. The Changing Role of IT --- and How to Adapt REGISTER NOW AT: www.fcw.com/ChangingRoleofIT ON DEMAND BROUGHT TO YOU BY SPONSORED BY CA, INC.
November 30, 2013