Congressional budget oversight of the Military Strategic and Tactical Relay (MILSTAR) Satellite Communications System, fiscal years 1982-1995
Davis, Julius W.
Snider, Keith F.
Doyle, Richard B.
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This thesis examines the congressional budgetary oversight exercised by Congress for the Military Strategic and Tactical Relay (MILSTAR) Satellite Communications System acquisition program during Fiscal Years 1982-1995. Authorization and appropriation defense bills for these years are reviewed for their insight into how and why the four Defense Committees exercised their budgetary oversight. The MILSTAR program generated significant congressional debate and was nearly terminated. The program was significantly restructured as a consequence of decisions made by the Defense Committees. These four Defense Committees are examined throughout the budget oversight process to identify their specific roles. The research indicates that the Defense Committees sometimes acted in unison with respect to MILSTAR and sometimes acted independently. No one committee consistently opposed or supported MiLSTAR. The research also indicates that the appropriation committees exercised as much or more oversight authority as the authorizing committees. Another conclusion is that DOD could have been more pro-active in assessing and restructuring MiLSTAR's mission during the shift from a Cold War to a Post-Cold War threat environment, especially during a period of shrinking defense dollars. The final conclusion is that the joint acquisition management structure for MILSTAR brought forth new DOD joint acquisition funding problems, as the Services who generated the demand for MILSTAR system requirements did not necessarily have a corresponding role in paying for them.
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