NOAA, NASA, GAO To Testify on JPSS at HSS&T Hearing

NOAA, NASA, GAO To Testify on JPSS at HSS&T Hearing

The House Science, Space and Technology (HSS&T) Committee has released the names of the witnesses who will testify about the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) next Friday.

The September 23 hearing will feature Kathy Sullivan, Deputy Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); Christopher Scolese, Associate Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); and David Powner, Director, Information Technology Management Issues, Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The topic is “From NPOESS to JPSS: An Update on the Nation’s Restructured Polar Weather Satellite Program.” NPOESS was a joint Department of Defense(DOD)-NOAA-NASA program to build a single U.S. weather satellite system to service both the civil and military sectors. After many years of cost overruns and schedule delays, the Obama White House restructured the program last year, restoring the historical arrangement of separate civil and military systems.

NOAA has been struggling to build support for its new system, JPSS. (NASA is NOAA’s acquisition agent for the program.) The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have each recommended almost, but not quite, as much as NOAA requested for FY2012 ($1.07 billion) after a significant shortfall in FY2011.

DOD also is struggling to build support for its new system, the Defense Weather Satellite System (DWSS). The Senate Appropriations Committee just recommended terminating DWSS and starting all over again with a new competition to build the system. The House Appropriations Committee cut DOD’s request ($445 million) in half.

Many in Congress are skeptical of the agencies’ abilities to manage these programs after years of problems with NPOESS.

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