DOCUMENT RESUME i . 04146 - [B30142901 (Restrictedl) Mar1time AdministratiOn's Satellite Coamunications ProgLam: Is it Still Needed? LCD-77-107; B-18610C. October 27, 1977. 31 pp. + 3 appendices (7 pp.). Report to Rep. Jack Brooks, Chalrman, Eouse Committee cn Government Operations; by Robert F. heller, Acting Comptrcller teneral. Issue Area: Federal Procurement of Goods and Services (1900). Contact: Logistics and Comiunications Di-. Budget Function: Commerce and Transportation: Water Transportation (4C ) . Orqanization Concerned: Computer Sciences Ccrp.; Zaritime Ad minis _a tion. Conqressional Relevance: House Committee on Government Ope ra ti on s. Au.th.ority: Merchant Marine Act of 19-6 (49 Stat. 1985). The Maritime Administration needs to identify and demonstrate specific benefits that sxceed the Governnent's costs for continuinq the satellite communications services offered shippers. The continuing development of maritime satellite communications-rciated technology by the Maritime Administration is questionable Lecause this technology is now available commercially. Findings/Conclusions: Many shifping companies have stated that the costs for procuring, installing, and o;:erating shipboard satellite communications equipment are too high for them to independently finance these cserations, especially since it has not been demonstrated that the cpotential benefits of satellite communications and related data processing could offset these costs. Recommendations: Tnhe Secetary ct commerce should direct che Assistant Secretary tox Maritime Affaiis to: undertake a cost-benefit enalysis of the satellite program: to determine the value to the U.S. shipping industry ot using the satellite communications and the available fleet management computer programs; demonstrate these benetits tc the shipping industry if they can be shcun to offset the equivalent commercial or Government costs for these services; ccrrect promptly manaqe ment deficiencies with emphasis on the development or and adherence to a master plan and zequisite manaqement controls and the method by u,,ich the Kings Point Center's functions can be turned over to private industry; and terminate the satellite prcgra. unless the first two-' recommendations can be fully achieved. (Author/SC) akTIRtRMcTD -- Not to be rJ,.sed @ou t C malq .*"U.ei Offitce eXcat on the basis/ peit .l i iby ae Offttee f C6 Fcg tional ft i on& REPORT TO THE HOUSE COMMITTEE .~ ON GOVERNMENT OPERA IONS BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL i-al, OF THE UNITED STA TES Maritime Administration's Satellite Communications Program: Is It Still Needed? The Maritime Administration needs to iden- tify and demonstrate specific benefits that exceed the Government's costs for continuing the Maritime satellite communications program. Maritime should terminate the satellite program in early 1978 unless (1) a meaningful cost-benefit analysis is accomplished and (2) the program's benefits are then demonstrated to the U.S. shipping industry. If the program is continued or reoriented, Maritime should improve its management of the program sig- nificantly. LCDo77.107 OCTOBER 27, 1977 COMPTROLLER G'NERAL OF THE UNITED STATES WASIINGTON, D.C. 05148 B-186100 The Honorable Jack Brooks, Chairman Committee on Government Operations House of Representatives Dear Mr. Chairman: This report, prepared in response to your March 8, 1976, request and subsequent meetings held with your Office, dis- cusses t.he management and value of the Maritime Administra- tion's Maritime Satellite Program. We are also enclosing copies (only to you) of our decision and letters concerning the relateC protest against the contract awarded to Computer Sciences Corporation for operation of Maritime's Fleet Management tests. We recommend that the Maritime Administration terminate the satellite program in early 1978 unless it (1) undertakes a cost-benefit analysis of the program to determine its value to the U.S. shipping industry and (2) demonstrates any iden- tified benefits of the program to the same industry. We also recommend, it.the event the above is done and the satellite program is continued, that the Maritime Administration correct numerous management deficiencies, which are described in our report. This report contains recommendations to the Secretary of Commerce on pages 27 and 28. As you know, section 236 of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970 requires the head of a Federal agency to submit a written statement on actions taken on our recommendations to the House Committee on Gov- ernwent Operations and the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs not later than 60 days after the date of the report and to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations with the agency's first request for appropriations made more than 60 days after the date of the report. We will be in touch with your office in the near future to arrange for release of the report so that the requirements of section 236 can be set in motion. Sincerely yours, dkiag Comptroll r General of the United States COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S MAFTtIME ADMINISTRATION'S REPORT TO THE HOUSE COMMITTEE SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS ON GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS PROGRAM: IS IT STILL NEEDED? DIGAO queEST GAO questions the continuing development of maritime satellite communications-related technology by the Maritime Administration because this technology is available com- mercially. (See p. 1.) For several years Maritime has been de- veloping satellite communications and re- lated computer techniques using its com- munications and computer center at Kings Point, New York, as the base for these experiments. (See pp. 8 and 13.) A commercial maritime satellite communica- tions system became available in mid-1976 to the world shipping community. Its owners offered the same range of communications services as did the Maritime Administration. Twenty-two foreign-flag and 10 U.S.-flag ships have been using the system, including 6 U.S. ships for which the costs were being paid by Maritime. Maritime satellites now co.er the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. Maritime's program covers mainly the Atlantic. (See pp. 11, 15 and 16.) Officials from 14 shipping companies told GAO that the costs for procuring, installing, and operating shipboard satellite communica- tions equipment are too high for them to in- dependently finance these operations, espe- cially since it has not been demonstrated that the potential benefits of satellite communications and related data processing could offset these costs. Officials from 12 companies not participating in Maritime's program said that present methods of communi- cations and present navigation techniques are more than adequate for shipping operations and they could not justify changes to the new methods because of the costs. (See p. 9.) Ta. Shet. Upon removal, the report cover date should be noted hereon. LCD-77-107 i LCD-77-107 Maritime continues to provide, largely at Government expense, satellite communica- tions services also offered by private industry. (See pp. 16 and 18.) Moreover, it has not, either by cost-benefit studies or test demonstrations, established bene- fits of its satellite communications and computer services which would offset their ccsts. (See p. 8.) This duplication of satellite communica- tions services no longer appears essen- tial. Unless Maritime can demonstrate cost-benefits to the users of its computer services, the satellite program should be terminated. (See p. 18.) Maritime's three program development con- tracts are cost-reimbursable arrangements. (See p. 3.) Dollar expenditures have exceeded the funding originally intended. (See p. 19.) Maritime ha; not taken the management measures required to insure that its program can proceel in an effi- cient, economical manner. Specifically, it should have an overall satellite pro- gram plan and prescribed management con- trols. (See pp. 19 and 26.) GAO concludes, and recommends that the Secretary of Commerce direct the Assist- ant Secretary for Maritime Affairs to: -- Undertake a cost-benefit analysis of the satellite program to determine th value to the U.S. shipping industry of using the satellite communications and the available fleet management computer pro- grams; benefits should be compared with commercial or Government costs for the services. -- Demonstrate these benefits to the shipping industry, if they can be shown to offset the equivalent commercial or Government costs for these services. -- Correct promptly the management deficien- cies discussed in this report, emphasis ii should be placed upon the development of and adherence to a master plan and requi- site management controls, and the method by which the Kings Point Center's func- tions, if proven cost effective, can be turned over to private industry. -- Terminate the satellite program unless the first two recommendations can be fully achieved. (See pp. 27 and 28.) The Maritime Administration agreed with most GAO recommendations and stated that definite actions are in progress to carry them out. It disagreed with the recom- mendation to terminate the program. (See pp. 28 and 29.) The conditional nature of the recommendation to terminate the program presents Maritime with the opportunity to determine whether the program's present direction and costs are justified, provided this is done by the end of 1977. (See pp. 29 and 31.) The Congress should review the results of the program's "fourth phase"--a determi- nation of program costs and benefits by the end of 1977--in conjunction with its con- sideration of research and development fund- ing requested by the agency for fiscal year 1979. (See p. 31.) The Maritime Administration questions GAO's conclusion that satellite communications cost more than conventional high-frequency communications for shipboard use. GAO's survey of high-frequency costs compared to shipboard maritime satellite equipment shows Maritime's cost assumptions to be inaccurate and reinforces the conviction that maritime satellite communications are more expensive than conventional communications. (See p. 30, and app. III, p. 35.) The Maritime Administration disagrees that it has performed no cost-benefit analysis since the first phase of the satellite pro- gram. GAO found that one cost-benefit Iuar 5aih iii analysis was drafted in 1975, but due to its lack of specific benefits, was not acknowl- edged by the shipping companies nor incor- porated into the program. (See p. 31 and app. III, p. 35.) The Maritime Administration also disagrees that it provides services that duplicate those of private industry. In GAO's opinion, every communications function being processed through the Center and then through the com- mercial system, can be provided directly through the system (except the data process- ing functions for which the value is to be determined). (See p. 29 and app. III, p. 37.) iv Contents Page DIGEST CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 1 Rationale for direction of maritime R&D 1 Maritime Satellite Program 2 Scope of review 6 2 SATELLITE PROGRAM BENEFITS HAVE NOT BEEN ESTABLISHED 8 Cost-benefit studies not made 8 Lack of apparent user benefits in- hibited interest in program 8 Sumrmary 11 3 NEED rOR MARAD'S SATELLITE PROGRAM IS IN SERIOUS QUESTION 13 Dedicated maritime satellite communica- tions system now available commer- cially 15 Value of MAPAD's computer service- nnt substantiated 17 Summary 18 4 NEED FOR BETTER PROGRAM MANAGEMENT IF SATELLITE-RELATED DEVELOPMENT IS TO BE CONTINUED 19 Program plan needed 19 Summary 26 5 CONCLUSIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS, AGENCY COM- MENTS AND OUR EVALUATION, AND MATTIKS FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE CONGRESS 27 Conclusions 27 Recommendations 27 Agency comments and our evaluation 28 Matters for consideration by the Congress 31 Page APPENDIX I Office of Commercial Development Projects (Organizational chart) 32 II Configuration of Maritime Coordination Center with Maritime Sa'ellite System 33 III Letter dated July 22, 1977, from the Assistant Secretary for Maritime Affairs, Maritime Administration, Department of Commerce 34 ABBREVIATIONS AII Applied Informaticn Industries ATS Applications Technology Satellite CDS Construction Differential Subsidy CPFF cost plus fixed fee CSC Computer Sciences Corporation DOD Department of Defense FLTSATCOM Fleet Satellite Communications GAO General Accounting Office INMARSAT International Maritime Satellite MARAD Maritime Administration MARISAT maritime satellite MMS Marine Management Systems NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration R&D research and development SSB-HF single side band--high frequency CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION At the request of Congressman the House Committee on Government Jack Brooks, Chairman of Operations, we initiated a review of the award by the Maritime of a cost-reimbursable-type contract Administration (MARAD) to Corporation (CSC) for operating MARAD's Computer Sciences Tests, Maritime Satellite Program, Fleet Management phase IV. The contract award was aJ 3 the subject of a protest cessful offeror, Marine Management to GAO by an unsuc- Systems, Inc. (MMS). During our preliminary inquiry into award, we observed and questioned the protested MARAD's mce ; in the development of maritime continuing involve- satellite related technololgy, Cince this technology communications- and marketed on a commercial basis. is now developed The commercially owned maritime communications MARISAT 1/is a that is presen-tly offering a full satellite system services between shore range of communications offices and ships at sea. Reportedly, 32 2/ U.S. and foreign flag vessels are using these services. WitI the concurrence of the Committee the review to incli'e an evaluation staff, we expanded of MARAD's program. As part of our review, and also as originally requested, we examined the protested award to CSC. of our review disclused no significant However, th s part tion to that reported in the Compt3oller information. in addi- (B-185860) dated September 14, 1976, General's decision General's letters dated December 10, and in the Comptroller of Commerce and to the attorney fvr 1376, to the Secretary MMS. RATIONALE FOR DIRECTION OF MARITIME R&D The Merchant Marine Act of 1936 (49 Stat. 1985), as amended, provides MARAD with the responsibility the development and maintenance of for fostering an American merchant marine sufficient to meet the needs of the national security and of the domestic and foreign commerce of the United States. 1/This is the title used by the COMSAT General Corporation and its partners for the maritime communications satellite venture. 2/This number has increased to 5i since mid-1976, the time of our review. The 1970 amendment to the legislation (Public Law 91-469), authorizes MARAD to subsidize and help rebuild a 300-ship U.S. merchant fleet. The 300 ships are to be built by 1980. FIARAD is also authorized to subsidize the operation of eligi- ble American-flag merchant ships to help offset the cost of paying seamen's wages, which are high compared to other nations' maritime wages. MARAD interprets the legislation as authority to under- take programs that will increase the efficiency, economy, and effectiveness of the American Merchant Marine's opera- tions, and elevate its competitive position within the inter- national shipping market. Also, as one of the bases for its present direction of research and development (R&D) effort, MARAD cites the President's message of October 23, 1969, which states: 'We will enlarge and redirect the maritime research and development activities of the Federal Government. Greater emphasis will be placed on practical applications of technological advances and on the coordination of Federal programs with those of industry." This message has been interpreted as a Presidential objective by MARAD and is also used as justification for the present R&D program direction. MARAD's stated goal for the R&D program is to make the U.S. merchant fleet more competitive through application of technological advances. The R&D program is also expected to help shipping companies become more self-sufficient, and to eventually rely less on Government subsidies. Thus, MARAD states that a measurement of the success of its R&D perfor- mance is a reduction in the amount of operating and construc- tion subsidies required by U.S. companies. MARITIME SATELLITE PROGRAM The satellite program 1/ is an R&D program sponsored by MARAD's Office of Commercial Development. Appendix I (p. 32) shows the Office's organizational structure and each research and development program it is presently spon- soring. The Assistant Administrator for Commercial Develop- ment is the principal official responsible for MARAD's R&D. He reports directly to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Maritime Affairs. 1/ During the past years, MARAD has applied different titles to this program. This report uses the term "satellite program" to encompass all titles used by MARAD in the past. 2 MARAD's initial work in satellite communications started in 1969. Since that time, MARAD's satellite-related projects have cost over $10.5 million. Future satellite-related costs have been estimated by MARAD to be about $5.3 million through fiscal year 1980. Although no costs have been projected beyond 1980, MARAD documentation shows more development planned in this area through 1990. A program manager from MARAD's Office of Advanced Ship Operations (see app. I, p. 32) directs the satellite pro- gram's elements. At the time of our review, MARAD had four major contracts l/ to perform the elements. The following table shows the satellite program's existing contracts, contractors, estimated costs per contract, and period of performance. Period of Estimated contract Contract Contractor costs (months) Concluding Fleet manage- CSC $ 416,052 23 :2/77 ment services Engineering and Magnavox technical Corporation 640,253 30 12/77 support Engineering Mitre services Corporation 149,713 13 12/77 Satellite Comsat General terminals Corporation 162,400 23 not definitized $1,368,418 1/Three cost-reimbursable development contracts and one lease arrangement for satellite terminals. 3 The stated objectives of MARAD's satellite program are: -- To extend to ships the quality, real-time communica- tions services now provided between locations ashore. -- To make continous, accurate ship location information available for use by both ship and shore stations. -- To enable U.S. companies to use new ship management techniques that exploit aerospace technology. --To increase operating efficiency through management techniques which expand use of the technologies men- tioned above. The actual purpose of the present satellite program is to conduct several fleet management experiments between a Maritime Coordination Center and participating ships at sea, utilizing the MARISAT communications link. Maritime Coordination Center The Center, located at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, New York, is an experimental computer/satellite communications processing facility built for MARAD in 1972. The Center is the central facility for operating and coordi- nating each 6f ?.ARAD's fleet management tests. These tests are a series of satellite-communications and computer- processing experiments being conducted by CSC and the Magnavox Corporation, which are designed to determine both the value and the feasibility of using the Center's shore-based computer to aid ship operations in such areas as navigation, fuel economy, and reduced maintenance costs. The following satellite communications services can be provided between shipping companies (or other shore points) and ships at sea. -- Telex (Teletype) -- Digital and analog facsimile --Voice -- Medium- and high-speed digital data transmissions Appendix II (see p. 33) shows the schematic representa- tion of the present commercial satellite system and the MARAD 4 Center's cornection. The routing of communications via the FiARAD Center offers no communications services not already commercially available but, as can be seen, adds an addi- tional link between the participating shipping companies and ships at sea. It appears that this additional link could increase end-to-end transmission time. In addition to its communication switching function, the MARAD Center is providing two categories of computer-proces- sing experiments which are being conducted between the Center and the ships participating in MARAD's program. MARAD calls these experiments the fleet management tests. Fleet management tests The first fleet management test category is concerned with the communications of operations data between the ships and their respective shore offices, such as ship performance (position, speed, course, estimated time of arrival), engine room data (boiler steam pressure, engine RPM), pay- roll data, ship stores and spare parts re ,isitions, and cargo manifest data. A minicomputer at the Center receives and assists with formatting the data, stores it in memory files, processes it where required, and forwards it to either the ships (via the MARISAT communications link) or to their shore offices (via the conventional communications lines). The data is transmitted in either raw, digital form or in the forms of teletype and facsimile reports. The second category of tests involves the Center's collection and transmission of Government service data to the ships (via the MARISAT link), such as weather fore- casts, notices to mariner reports, and vessel emergency reports. Global fleet management To place the satellite program in proper perspective with MARAD's total R&D effort, an explanation of MARAD's overall fleet management concept would be pertinent at this point. The Office of Advanced Ship Operations is attempting to attain as a major goal by 1980, a U.S. fleet management network that will direct at least 300 American-flag vessels worldwide. This concept was conceived by MARAD as the means of improving the competitive position of the U.S. merchant fleet. According to MARAD, global fleet management is the 5 process of optimizing the productivity and safety of the ocean transport of cargo, using to the best economic advantage all available capital, procedural and personnel resources on a global basis for the U.S. merchant fleet. To achievs this goal, which is in essence an integrated U.S. merchant marine transportation-management network, MARAD has been developing techniques that involve the use of advanced communications and management control systems such as satellites and com- puters. Three R&D programs comprise vhe elements of the Global Fleet Management program: (1' competitive shipping, (2) advanced ship control, and (3) QAvanced communications and navigation. 1/ MARAD plans to integrate these elements by 1978 and to have a global fleet management system by the early 1980s. In the competitive shipping program, MARAD has developed and is promoting the use by shipping companies, of a com- puter-based Shipping Operations Information System, which is expected to afford the companies computerized management systems to more effectively handle shore- and ship-based operations. In the Advanced Ship Control program, MARAD expects to develop high levels of automation aboard ships in such areas as machinery operations, bridge, and cargo- handling functions. Subsequently, these two elements are to be integrated with the results of the Advanced Communica- tions and Navigation element. Altogether, the three elements are expected by MARAD to tie all U.S. merchant slipping companies and their ships together, into an integrated American fleet management system, with the ships and logis- tics operations controlled by each of the companies; and to coordinate them through one common facility, the Maritime Coordination Center. SCOPE OF REVIEW During our review we examined pertinent background information, legislation, agency correspondence, and con- tractor files. We interviewed key officials and other per- sonnel at the Office of Administrative Services and Procure- ment, Department of Commerce; the Office of Audit, Department of Commerce; the Maritime Administration, Washington, D.C., l/The Maritime Satellite Program is the major portion of this element. 6 and the Maritime Coordination Center at Kings Point, Long Island, New York; several merchant shipping companies; Computer Sciences Corporation, Falls Church, Virginia; Marine Management Systems, Inc., Stamford, Connecticut; the Magnavox Corporation, Silver Spring, Maryland, and Torrance, California; and Comsat General Corporation, Washington, D.C. We also discussed the program with officials of the American Institute of Merchant Shipping, the Radio Officers' Union, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. National Weather Service, and the Defense Mapping Agency. 7 CHAPTER 2 SATELLITE PROGRAM BENEFITS HAVE NOT BEEN ESTABLISHED The Maritime Satellite Program appears to have initiated as the result of a 7-month study contractedbeen November 1970, with Applied Information Industries, in (AII), of Moorestown, New Jersey. The Inc. that potential dollar savings of about study postulated $120,000 to $470,000 per year for each ship would be achieved if between 300 and 2,000 ships used the combination of maritime satellite communications and a MARAD-developed satellite communica- tions coordination and computer center. 1/ COST-BENEFIT STUDIES NOT MADE The AII study urged the establishment of an center which would measure, rather than estimate, experimental the bene- fits to ship operations of satellite communications and com- puter technology. MARAD proceeded with this suggestion and awarded another contract to AII for the design and imple- mentation of the center and the follow-on communications experiments. The center was completed in lMarch 1973 under AII's contract cost just over $4.8 million. and work Despite the completion of AII's contract and several additional contracts and numerous experiments since that time, MARAD, up to the end of our review, had neither developed cost/benefit studies, nor had it measured the mensurate with the costs for potential users ofbenefits com- the satellite program. In short, the savings postulated by the have not been confirmed. AII study Although six vessels are now par- ticipating in the program, MARAD is paying for most of the associated costs. LACK OF APPARENT USER BENEFITS INHIBITED INTEREST IN PROGRAM During our review we interviewed 20 key officials 15 U.S. merchant shipping and 3 U.S. oil companies of in the ocean transport of goods. Included were involved merchant shipping companies and the two U.S. oil the four companies 1/Presently called the Maritime Coordination Center. 8 participating in MARAD's program. We discussed potential for using satellite communications each company's attempted to determine the officials' overall equipment and knowledge of MARAD's satellite program. We found from these interviews and examination of MARAD documentation that, of the 18 U.S. companies contacted, only 3 U.S. oil companies 4 merchant shipping companies being funded 1/ and the by gram expressed any immediate interest in either MARAD's pro- lite communications or participating in the using satel- fleet management, data processing aspects of the satellite program. More specifically, officials from 14 different companies told us that the costs for procuring, shipping installing, and operating shipboard satellite communications were too high for them to independently equipment fund these operations, especially since it had not been demonstrated to them that the potential benefits of satellite communications related data processing use could offset these and the These officials included two of those involved high costs. program. Also, 12 of the same officials from in the MARAD companies not participating in the program told us that methods of communications and their presenttheir present navigation tech- niques were more than adequate for shipping operations, and that they could not justify the costs for changes new methods. For example, most of these companies to the operate shipboard, single side-band high-frequency own and radio equipment. According to these officials, (SSB-HF) ment is capable of ocean coverage and affords this equip- communications with their ships. The officials them adequate also stated that navigational equipment being used aboard for some time, afforded the ships' officers ship had, with more than adequate course information. Consequently, was no need to automatically transmit or they felt tjhere receive data via satellite--one of the functions proposed navigation in MARAD's program. One other point was made by these officials, to have a significant impact on their decision which seems satellite equipment at present. Those companies not to use to build new ships in the near future planning satellite communications equipment, in can defer procuring order to allow the Government to help fund the venture. For example, when these companies build new ships, if the construction gible for Government subsidization, MARAD constructionis eli- 1/One oil company not funded by MARAD. 9 differential subsidy (CDS) will be used to fund the ship's construction. According to several of these officials (and supported by MARAD documentation), CDS funding could include a major portion of the costs for procurement and installa- tion of satellite communications equipment for that ship. According to MARAD, CDS funding will include any shipboard communications system that has a total cost of between $100,000- 125,000. Therefore, since MARAD could eventually fund the procurement of satellite communications equipment for new U.S.-registered merchant ships, the ships' owners deem it cost effective to delay this procurement. In the meantime, present shipboard communications methods are thought to be adequate. Our analysis of satellite communications versus existing shipboard communications methods shows that the costs for procuring and operating satellite equipment are much higher than for communications equipment presently in use. The following schedule compares the costs of marine mobile message services (SSB-HF) costs versus the costs for MARISAT communi- cations services. Costs Marine mobile MARISAT message service services Shipboard hardware Lease (monthly) $ - $1,275 Purchase 6,000 51,750 Telex (note a) 3 per minute 6 per minute (3 minute minimum) (bulk rate-- $4 per min- ute over 200 minimum usage) Telephone 5 per minute 10 per minute Message (note b) .33 per word .35 per full- rate word a/Teletype or immediate machine-to-machine record communica- tions. b/Cablegram or telegram. 10 It is obvious from this cost comparison that, except for the first minute's Telex services, the marine communications services presently in use are less expensive than similar services offered by MARISAT. Also, since the typical Telex traffic described by the shipping companies averages more than 3 minutes in length, the 1 minute comparison between MARISAT and conventional Telex has no major significance. We should point out that of the 32 vessels using the MARISAT service, 22 foreign-flag vessels and 4 U.S.-flag vessels are paying these satellite communications costs independent of MARAD funding. One U.S.-flag vessel, the "ARCO Prudhoe Bay," is owned by the Atlantic Richfield Oil Company and, according to a company official, his manage- ment has expressed an interest in participating in and being funded by MARAD's satellite program. He feels that the 24- hour communications with his company's ships at sea will greatly benefit his company and the U.S. merchant fleet. Of the other three U.S.-flag vessels using MARISAT, two are operating under Government contract and the other is foreign owned. MARAD-supplied documentation shows that satellite pro- gram officials were aware of the relatively high cost of satellite communications at least 1 year before the satel- lite's availability. Nevertheless, MARAD might have pro- moted wider participation in the satellite program had it been able to demonstrate the potential benefits of satellite communications and related data processing tech- niques to the shipping companies. SUMMARY The six U.S. shipping companies now participating in the MARAD satellite program seem interested in the benefits of satellite communications and the data processing services offered by the program. These services, however, are being funded largely by MARAD. Fourteen different U.S. shipping companies saw no evidence of benefits that would offset the higher costs of satellite communications, and 12 felt that existing (HF radio) communications were adequate. Some companies agreed that, if ship construction subsidies would help defray the costs of satellite terminals for new ships, the potential benefits of satellite communications might be attractive. Nevertheless, 22 foreign-flag and 4 U.S.-flag vessels are 11 using the MARISAT communications satellite and paying for its costs independent of any MARAD funding. Apparently, these companies expect to benefit from the service. MARAD should proceed promptly to establish whether bene- fits associated with the satellite program are commensurate with its costs. If so, it should be demonstrated to the U.S. shipping industry. This is equally important to MARAD's future program planning, since it will apparently be called upon to subsidize the more costly advanced satellite communi- cations technology, if employed. 12 CHAPTER 3 NEED FOR MARAD'S SATELLITE PROGRAM IS IN SERIOUS QUESTION In 1969 MARAD identified communications satellites and computers as the best U.S. technologies available to solve maritime shipping problems. Reliable communications between shipping companies and their ships at sea and the utilization of computer techniques to facilitate shipping management were assessed by MARAD as specific requirements for improving U.S. shipping operations. Therefore, in 1970 MARAD estab- lished the satellite and the Shipping Operations Information System programs to (1) develop reliable satellite communica- tions between ships at sea and their owners and (2) to develop comprehensive, computer-based data processing tech- niques to improve the responsiveness of management and con- trol of ship or fleet operations. It should be noted that, by this time, the NASA Applications Technology Satellites had demonstrated the practicality of satellite communications employing relatively small, mobile communications terminals and they were available for MARAD testing. When MARAD initiated the satellite program by contracting to AII, two requirements were identified that would have to 'be developed to implement a successful maritime, satellite- aided communications system. 1. A marine data center to integrate and disseminate all important performance and safety information affecting maritime operations. The center would provide continuously available and reliable com- munications via high-altitude satellite to each ship and ship operator. 2. A compact, shipboard communications terminal operating in consonance with the marine data center and with available communications satellites. Therefore, in March 1972 MARAD awarded a second contract (sole source) to AII for the development of an experimental Maritime coordination center to be located at the Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, New York. Officials, however, contemplated eventually turning the center's functions over to private industry when MARAD's objectives were at- tained. In addition to developing the center, AII was required to develop shipboard satellite communications 13 terminals that would operate with available NASA satellites and to perform communications experiments between selected ships at sea and the Center. More specifically, AII was requi to: -- Define and implement a Marine -..a Coordination Center at the Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point. -- Provide an earth station at the center for access to NASA ommunications Applications Technology Satellites (ATS). -- Design and develop 10 shipboard satellite com- munications terminals for MARAD. --Provide program support and operate a 5-month, on-air experiment of sateli te communications between 10 ships at sea ard che center, utilizing NASA's ATS 1, 3, and 5. This contract was awarded to AII for about $2.9 million, it was modified six times, and another contract was added; .tleresulting cost to the Government was about $4.8 million. In documents dated March and October 1972, MARAD pro- posed the development of an expanded or a worldwide mariti;,;e satellite communications system, consisting of three coordi- nation centers--one located on the east coast, one on the west coast, and one overseas. Each would provide the system with the capability of communicating via any available (NASA; satellites, and between ships located in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and their respective shore offices. In es- sence, MARAD was proposing to develop a dedicated maritime communications system capable of processing marine data through any available communications satellite. At that time, a dedicated commercial maritime satellite system was not under development. Specific capabilities of the center were to be: -- Developing and transmitting communications and navigational signals to any available communications satellite(s) for broadcast to addressed ships. -- Acting as a communicatic s center for ship/shore/ ship transmission of any required data. 14 It was also to be capable of receiving various other types of service information and of processing and dissemi- nating this information to selected ships, such as -- sea traffic direction advice, -- search and rescue information, --local environmental conditions, --weather data, -- ship distress, -- private and company business information, and -- time-shared computer services. MARAD's specific requirement for the maritime satellite communications system was that it be capable of transmit- ting (and receiving) teletype, voice, facsimile, and digi- tal information between the shore offices and ships. It is important to note that during the early 1970s the only communications satellites available for Merchant Marine experiments or use were the ATS satellites owned by NASA. In these circumstances, it was appropriate for MARAD to have taken the initiative in arranging for and facili- .ating (via the Center) their experimental use by shipping companies and their ships. These circumstances were destined !. change, however. DEDICATED MARITIME SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM NOW AVAILABLE COMMERCIALLY In early 1973 the COMSAT General Corporation entered the commercial maritime communications satellite business with a system called MARISAT. This move was prompted, in part, by a Navy contract of March 1973 to lease certain channels from the satellites for 2 years with options for additional services. Subsequently, three U.S. international record communications carriers 1/ joined in the venture. 1/Western Union International, RCA Globcom, and ITT Worldcom. 15 (These latter companies have, for years, provided commercial high-frequency radio services for ships at sea.) After some delays, on July 9 and August Atlantic- and Pacific-based MARISAT satellites15, 1976, the were available for commercial use. 1/ According to the made owners, MARISAT is a dedicated- maritime satellite satellite tions system capable of selectively broadcasting communica- at sea and also of receiving Telex, voice, digitalto ships facsimile, and medium- and high-speed digital data and analog transmis- sions. The MARISAT system is also capable of selectively broadcasting to specific ships, or groups of ships, information as weather or hydrographic and navigationalsuch information. This can be provided directly communications facility by the U.S. National to the MARISAT Weather Ser- vice, the Defense Mapping Agency, and the U.S. Coast Guard. The MARISAT system can be used to relay general to ships of a specific line, to ships of specific messages nationali- ties, or those ships sailing in a specific, geographical If necessary, all ships in such groups could simultaneously area. receive the service messages transmitted by the earth station(s). MARISAT Also, emergency distress signals received from a shipboard communications terminal would priority over all other traffic. The point herereceive MARISAT system presently has all the capabilities is that the originally contemplated for MARAD's coordinated system except fleet management, data processing services whose for the value (as we pointed out earlier) has not been adequately by MARAD to date. assessed Shipboard terminals now offered as off-the-shelf commercial items One other area of development--shipboard satellite terminals--was established by MARAD as a requirement for the original satellite program but since that time been developed commercially. However, as we point has chapter 4 (see pp. 24 and 25), terminal development out in being conducted by MARAD during the time of our was review. 1/A third satellite was placed over the Indian Ocean for Navy use. 16 Comsat General Corporation presently offers, for lease or purchase, shipboard satellite communications terminals. The lease price for each terminal is $1,275 per month for a 5-year lease, and the purchase price for a terminal is $51,750. A one-time installation charge of $3,000 per ter- minal is required in addition to the lease price. The terminals are compatible with the MARISAT system and provide the following information: ev':hange capabilities. -- Telex (teletype). -- Voice. -- Digital and analog facsimile. -- Medium- or high-speed data transmissions. RCA Globcom and Western Union International, two of the other MARISAT owners, also offer shipboard satellite terminals with capabilities similar to Comsat's. So far, as we pointed out earlier, 32 ships have been equipped with MARISAT ter- minals--22 foreign-flag vessels, 6 leased by MARAD, and 4 by other U.S. companies. The ships are linked--via earth stations located at Southbury, Connecticut, and Santa Paula, California, and via normal terrestrial (land-line) communi- cations--to their respective shore offices and also to one another, if required. VALUE OF MARAD'S COMPUTER SERVICES NOT SUBSTANTIATED Although the satellite communications services provided by MARAD's satellite program are now fully available commer- cially, the fleet management, data processing hardware and software programs portion of the MARAD-provided services are not. However, MARAD has made no relevant cost-benefit studies, nor have they been able to demonstrate the value of these services to the shipping industry. Other than the six U.S. companies now participating in the MARAD program (largely at Government expense), no other U.S. companies contacted, including those who are indepen- dently leasing MARISAT communications services, seem interested in the computer services. The provision of Government service data to ships, such as weather forecasts, notices to mariners, and vessel emergency reports using computer-aided store/forward or digital facsimile message techniques, be done by agencies furnishing such data could just as readily MARISAT communications facility rather directly to the than duplicating these services via the MARAD center. Finally, should MARAD demonstrate the benefits viding data through the Center, a plan of pro- to turn the Center's functions over to should be formulated private industry. as originally contemplated. SUMMARY MARAD's satellite program and the operation ter are adding no value to the communications of its cen- are now commercially available. This part services which (i.e., processing service messages, voice of the program and Telex traffic, etc.) appears duplicative of services provided industry. Also, the value of the computer by private by MARAD have not, in our opinion, been services provided clearly established. Since 4 U.S. and 22 foreign flag ships costs for commercial satellite communicationsare paying the independent of MARAD's program, these services alone to the shipowners. However, since six may be beneficial U.S. shipping companies are receiving comparable communications together with the additional computer services, services largely at MARAD's expense, we question provided whether the com- puter services portion would prove cost shipping companies if the MARAD funding beneficial to the were to be withdrawn. MARAD's role in duplicating the satellite services now available from industry communications no longer appears essen- tial. Therefore, unless MARAD can demonstrate to the users of its computer services, cost-benefits devoid funding, we believe the satellite program of Governmental minated. should be ter- 18 CHAPTER 4 NEED FOR BETTER PROGRAM MANAGEMENT IF SATELLITE-RELATED DEVELOPMENT iS TO BE CONTINUED Apart from questions as to the effectiveness for the satellite program, MARAD should have of or need implemented management measures to insure that the maritime program could proceed in an efficient, economicalsatellite The program's expenditures have greatly exceeded manner. funding originally intended by MARAD. We believe the excess could have been avoided, to some extent, this had these management measures been implemented. The satellite program's total contract costs, to the time of our review, have been about $10.5 million; the level of program development that had been but, for available documentation shows that MARAD had attained, spend only about $3 million. intended to We believe that, should the program proceed based on MARAD's identification ofbespecific permitted to for the U.S. merchant fleet and commensurate benefits management measures, such as program planning with its costs, should be implemented. and control, PROGRAM PLAN NEEDED In our review of MARAD's R&D program documents, find no overall satellite program plan. we could The formulation and use of a written program plan is a basic requirement for proper management control, and MARAD should have requirement before either awarding satellite met this program con- tracts or continuing the program's activities. The satellite program manager told us that, because the high degree of technical complexity involved of program and because of such contingencies as in this the delays in the availability of the MARISAT satellites and in obtaining shipping companies' requirements the delays satellite program tests, he did not formulate for the plan. Also, he felt that since the satellite a program program was reviewed each year during MARAD's annual budget justifi- cation cycle, MARAD management had adequate opportunity assess the program's performance. to 19 We believe that MARAD has had ample opportunity to organize the program's technical requirements and the shipping companies' requirements and to develop a compre- hensive plan for the satellite program. In our opinion, the failure to do so is attributable to MARAD's not following sound management practices and not emphasizing the need for such a plan. For example, we found that in 1973 the Commerce Department's Office of Audit completed a survey of the programs under MARAD's Office of Research and Development (now called the Office of Commercial Development). The auditors' report, dated March 20, 1973, cited MARAD's lack of written guidelines for planning R&D programs and recommended that MARAD issue instructions for preparing and periodically updating R&D planning documents. In response, MARAD R&D officials stated that the recommen- dation would be followed and that written instructions for program planning would be formulated. However, MARAD has not complied with that recommendation. In the absence of its own formal program-planning criteria, MARAD's Office of Commercial Development could have profited by the guidelines used by other departments in such matters. For example, Department of Defense Directives 5000.1 and 5000.2 1/ provide explicit guidance for the planning and management of major defense acquisi- tions. Application of these directives in their entirety would be inappropriate for the much smaller MARAD program. However, the planning and management prirciples should apply, as would the procedures applicable to more modest programs. These principles have been more recently enunciated in the Office of Management and Budget Circular No. A-109, dated April 5, 1976, which now requires among other things, that agencies: "Maintain a capability to: Predict, review, assess, negotiate and monitor costs for system development, engineering, design, demonstration, 1/DOD Directive 5000.1 issued July 13, 1971, and DOD Directive 5000.2 issued January 21, 1975; both revised January 18, 1977. 20 test. * * * Assess acquisition cost, schedule and performance experience against predictions, and provide such assessments for consideration by the agency head at key decision roints. Make new assessments where significant costs, schedule or performance variances occur." Obviously, this cannot be accomplished without a time- phased plan with clearly identified milestones for measurement of progress and control. The following examples illustrate the type of program deficiencies which we believe could have been avoided if MARAD had employed such sound management principles. Work called for under initial phase IV contract not completed On January 27, 1975, MARAD awarded a cost-plus-fixed- fee (CPFF) contract (modification) to Marine Management Systems, Inc. for the follow-on or fourth phase of fleet management testing of the Maritime Satellite Program. The modification was made to MARAD's (then) existing CPFF contract with MMS for the satellite program's third phase. The duration of the new contract, as revised, was 12 months, to January 1976, and the estimated costs for the new level of effort proposed were $300,000. Under the terms of MARAD's modification, MMS was to perform four major tasks. 1. Develop and implement a plan for augmenting the center's present (third phase) hardware and software configuration for the fourth phase of operations. This task was to take about 6 months and 38 percent of the contract's total level of effort. 2. Operate the center during phase four tests and coordin- ate the tests with participating shipping companies. MMS' proposed level of effort for this task was about 50 percent of the contracted resources, to be utilized over a'9 month period. 3. Evaluate and report on the results of phase four testing. This task was to take about 8 percent of MMS' resources and would be completed during the last 4 months of the contract period. 21 4. Provide overall contract management for phase four. MMS proposed that this task take about 4 percent its resources. of Although MARAD contemplated that this contract might be eventually extended for an additional period of testing, the $300,000 was considered to be an adequate estimate for the above mentioned tasks. On February 5, 1976, MARAD awarded another for "Fleet Management Tests, Maritime Satellite CPFF contract Four," to Computer Sciences Corporation. This Program Phase duration was to be 23 months, and its total contract's estimated cost to the Government was to be $416,052. Under the terms of this contract, CSC had five major tasks. 1. Operate the center during phase four testing. task was estimated to take about 55 percent of This CSC's total effort. 2. Provide technical assistance to the shipping companies in developing phase four tests. CSC's proposed of effort for this task was about 20 percent. level 3. Further develop the center, including an examination of the potential services that the Center could both commercially and to the Government. This offer, task was to take about 6 percent of CSC's total effort. 4. Coordinate the dissemination of results of the program to participants. CSC estimated about test of the total resources for this task. 16 percent 5. Assume overall management of the contract and analyze and report on the test results. CSC's estimate about 2 percent of the total for this task. was Our review of the circumstances concerning the four MMS and CSC contracts shows that (1) MMS phase plete its contracted tasks, although it was did not com- only required to concentrate its resources on about 40 percent contract's total level of effort (as shown below),of the (2) MARAD failed to assess MMS' ineffective contract performance it was too late and, (3) as a result, MMS was until the total estimated cost of its contract. In reimbursed for addition, CSC 22 is required to complete those tasks not completed during the MMS contract. For example, the Atlantic-based MARISAT was not made available for commercial use until July 9, 1976. So, for the duration of MMS' phase four contract, or from January 1975 to April 1976, 1/ MMS could not perform those tasks that were MARISAT-dependent. Our analysis of the MMS con- tract activities shows that the operation of tasks 2, 3, and part of task 4 were MARISAT-dependent. Therefore, about 60 percent of MMS' proposed level of effort could not be performed without the satellite. Consequently, the antici- pated costs related to the MARISAT-dependent tasks (about 40 percent of the contract's level of effort), which could not be completed by MMS, were about $180,000. Since the satellite did not become available for commercial use during its contract period, MMS could con- centrate its manpower resources on those tasks not requiring the satellite, such as test plan development and, more significantly, on the design and development of the center's phase four software. MMS did not complete these tasks. In a memorandum dated January 6, 1976, MMS reported to MARAD's satellite program manager that all of its required software development for the fleet management reports and its development of test plans would be completed during the week of January 19, 1976. On January 30, 1976, MARAD modified the MMS contract to extend its period, without additional cost, to March 15, 1976, to allow MMS to continue debugging and documenting the software developed under the contract. On April 5, 1976, MARAD again extended the contract to allow MMS until April 20 of that year to com- plete it3 software development. Although the contract extensions were made to accommo- date MMS, not all of the software tasks were completed at the termination of MMS' contract. As an example, in a MARAD memorandum dated March 11, 1976, the satellite pro- gram manager recommended to the Department of Commerce Procurement Division that the task of developing the center's software for input and transmission of service reports (weather, notice to mariners, etc.) to ships should be canceled since it could not be completed within the remaining 1/MARAD extended the MMS contract to April 20, 1976. 23 contract peri(od. This software was important to MARAD's program because the center's processing of service in- formation was one of the two major Fleet Management Test categories. Although the contracted tasks were not completed, MMS was reimbursed the total estimated $300,000 based on its vouchers for those services that were performed. The satellite program manager stated that he was unaware of MMS' improper performance until early January 1976 when the contract was nearly completed. In a January 27, 1976, memorandum to the Department of Commerce Procurement Division, the program manager stated that, under MMS' con- tract, a rather substantial overrun of the tasks occurred that amounted to over 100 percent. He also stated that "MARAD was able to accommodate the additional expense, because of the delay of the r.^RISAT launch." He also indicated that MMS was usually late with delivery of monthly program status reports, and for that reason he was not able to detect these problems sooner. It appears that it was January 1976 before MARAD's program manager became aware of the shortfall in MMS' performance under this contract--too late to effectively control it. The second phase four contract was then competitively awarded to CSC. This contract included all of the tasks not yet accomplished in the previous contract with MMS. Moreover, the unfavorable conditions that existed during the MMS performance period (i.e., lack of an overall program plan and demonstrated benefits) continued during the CSC contract and at the time of our review. Communications hardware development contract requires more stringent specifications On June 27, 1975, MARAD awarded a CPFF contract to the Magnavox Corporation, essentially to design and provide hardware needed for the satellite program. This hardware development was to include the modification of 10 satellite terminal systems, 2 of which had been used with the NASA satellites, to make them work in a different frequency band allocated for the commercial MARISAT satellites. In addition, Magnavox was to provide modems 1/ and interface electronics 1/Modems are used to interface with data processing devices and to convert data to a form comFatible for sending and receiving on transmission facilitates such as satellite voice communications channels. 24 for use with the 10 terminals. They were also to test and maintain all equipment involved. In June 1976, MARAD modified its Magnavox contract, increasing its value from about $436,000 to $640,000. Under this contract modification Magnavox was to furnish four MARISAT-compatible terminals of its own design and install these together with six MARISAT terminals, which MARAD had leased from Comsat General, on ships designated by MARAD. Additionally, they were to continue their delivery and test of special modems. Work on modifying the original satellite terminals was canceled. We found that the specific amounts and types of special communications modems to be provided and experimented with under the basic Magnavox contract were deleted in favor of no specific amount or types, in the contract modification. However, the estimated cost allotted by MARAD for providing the unspecific modems and their experimentation was almost doubled. MARAD's documentation that accompanied and justified the contract modification stated that the modi- fication was made because the satellite program's require- ments had been more specifically defined, but the action taken in the modification appeared to contradict the justification. For example, in the basic contract's task 4, MARAD had provided about $152,000 for the development and experimsn- tation of nine special communications modems (3 for data, 3 for analog and digital facsimile and 3 for voice communi- cations). The contractor was also to install the modems and to develop electronics equipment as interfaces between the modems and satellite terminals being provided under task 1. In the modification, however, the number and types of special modems to be provided under task 4 were specified "as approved" in the "deliverables" clause instead of the specific number "nine" as they were in the basic contract. Also, MARAD pro- vided $280,000, or an additional $128,000, for the modified task 4. We questioned the satellite program manager about the rationale for deleting the specific number ana types of special modems in favor of no specific number and types in the modification and for almost doubling the estimated fund- ing for this task. We also asked him to explain why this an-'on was taken, especially ir light of MARAD's written justification foL the additional funding, which stated that the satellite program's requirements had been more specifically defined. 25 The program manager told us that the lack of specific types and numbers of modems allows him more leeway in managing the communications aspects of the program. He can decide what modems should be developed during the course of the program. He also said that the program's requirements are more specifically defined and, for that reason, he will be able to make more specific decisions on what should be developed during the course of the program. This shows again, in our view, the need for definite planning and management control that should be a pre- requisite for cost estimating, funding, and procurement actions. MARAD should not proceed with any continued or new satellite/computer related developments unless formal specific planning and management controls are employed such as those from applicable portions of DOD Directive 5000.1, 5000.2 and Office of Management and Budget Circular No. A-109. SUMMARY The satellite program should be continued only if MARAD can resolve the issues and questions raised in earlier chapters. If these matters are resolved in a timely manner and the program is continued, the management weaknesses noted in this chapter, specifically the lack of a master plan and prescribed management contr ls, demand prcmpt and effective remedies. 26 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS, AGENCY COMMENTS AND OUR EVALUATION AND MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE CONGRESS CONCLUSIONS program is The continued need for the MARAD satellite questionable because: its -- It is doubtful that the program can attain the objectives unless MARAD can demonstrate to U.S. shipping industry, and for its own purposes, the benefits of the program commensurate with its costs. -- The communications services provided by the program, although warranted in earlier years, duplicate those now available from private industry. the -- The value of the computer services provided by program has not been established. Their benefits, in excess of their costs, need to be shown. more than Satellite communications cost considerably see no ad- conventional HF radio, and many U.S. shipowners flag and vantages to using satellites. However, 22 foreign MARISAT system, 4 U.S. flag ships are now using the commercial It appears independent of the 6 ships in MARAD's program.benefit by that these ships, or their owners, expect to using satellite communications services. Apart from the questionable merits of the satellite of the program, MARAD has not exercised prudent management program's objectives, activities, and costs. RECOMMENDATIONS the We recommend that the Secretary of Commerce direct Assistant Secretary for Maritime Affairs to: -- Undertake a cost-benefit analysis of its satellite program to determine the value to the U.S. shipping industry of (1) using the MARAD-provided satellite communications and (2) using the available fleet 27 management computer programs. Benefits should be compared with the commercial or Government costs (respectively) for these services. -- Demonstrate these benefits to the U.S. shipping industry, if they can be shown to offset the equivalent commercial or Government costs for these services. -- Correct promptly the management deficiencies dis- cussed r. this report, if the program is continued or reoriented. Particular emphasis should be placed upon the development of and adherence to a master plan and requisite management controls and the method by which the center's functions, if proven cost effec- tive, can be turned over to private industry. -- Terminate the satellite program unless the first two recommendations can be fully im- plemented in a timely manner. AGENCY COMMENTS AND OUR EVALUATION MARAD generally concurred with most tions and stated that definite actions areof inour recommenda- progress to carry them out. (See app. III, p. 37.) 1/ MARAD did not agree, however, with our recommendation to terminate the satellite program unless its specific benefits can be identified and clearly demonstrated, in a timely manner, for the U.S. shipping industry. MARAD feels that our recommendation to terminate the program seems premature because (1) the combined Shipping Operations Information System and satellite programs may eventually realize compound benefits, (2) continued Navy funding for the commercial MARISAT is not assured, (3) the United.States should continue to prepare for its participation in the proposed, commercial international maritime satellite (INMARSAT) venture, (4) MARAD desires to help U.S. shipping companies to learn to fully utilize satellite communications and (5) the Maritime Coordination Center's potential benefits have not been fully explored. 1/Twenty-five pages of detailed data provided as appendixes to MARAD's comments are not included. 28 In our opinion, the conditional nature of our recom- mendation to terminate the program affords MARAD the oppor- tunity to study these five points and to determine whether or not these are adequate requirements to cost justify con- tinuing the program's present direction of effor'.. The question of continued Navy support for MARISAT is still open. Although the Navy has three FLTSATCOM satellites in production, the Congress' refusal to allow funds in fiscal year 1978 for two more satellites will likely increase the Navy's dependency upon MARISAT. If FLTSiiTCOM gets no more funding, the Navy might be obliged to seek a successor to MARISAT for the early 1980s. Concerning point three, the United States has become a participant in the planning foi an international (commercial) maritime satellite system. (INMARSAT) scheduled for operation in the mid-1980s. The INMARSAT system will not be directly related to MARISAT, although the two systems could be tech- nically similar. For example, INMARSAT satellites are ex- pected to be positioned over the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Cleans to provide transoceanic communications between ships . sea and shore offices. Although it is conceivable that MARISAT could be the forerunner of the international system, the INMARSAT's specific technical requirements have not been defined, and the participating countries have not delegated the INMARSAT's management responsibilities to any commercial entity. The point we are making here is INMARSAT and MARISAT are two unique systems, which are not specifically Lelated to one another. MARAD's present satellite program is concerned mainly with the utilization of the MARISAT communications system. Once INMARSAT's requirements are known, MARAD should then determine if and how its R&D resources should be allocated for the international program. MARAD disagrees that it provides services which duplicate those of private industry, since the MARISAT owners are not charging space segment communications costs to the six com- panies in MARAD's program. As we pointed out earlier, how- ever, MARAD's Center proceses service messages that can be transmitted directly to ships via the MARISAT syste.. This action obviously duplicates activities that could be served on a commercial basis. In addition, every communications fnction being processed through the Center (except the questionable data processing services for which the V.Lue is to be determined) can be provided directly through the commercial system, without, in our opinion, the need for coordinating it through an additional dedicateo maritime processing center. 29 As one other point, MARAD disagrees with our view, and with several shipping companies' points of view, that conven- tional shipboard communications costs less than MARISAT com- muni:ations. Specifically, MARAD disagrees that a typical, shipboard HF equipment configuration (new) costs less than MARISAT shipboard equipment. MARAD supports its view by ref- erence to a study performed by the COMSAT General Corporation, one of the MARISAT co-owncrs, which analyzes the relative costs for HF and maritime satellite, shipboard communications. The significant point we can make concerning this study is that one of its critical assumptions is inaccurate. COMSAT General assumes that a typical, shipboard HF configuration costs $70,000 1/, which indeed, is more expensive than MARISAT equipment, which costs about $52,000. However, we discussed the costs of typical HF equipment with two major suppliers of marine communications equipment (in addition to the several shipping company officials with --hom we discussed the same issue). Both vendors pointed out that it is common knowledge in the shipping industry that satellite communications costs more than conventional communications presently being used. Also, between the two vendors, they suggested a range of costs for marine HF radio equipment (depending upon the degree of sophistication and redundancy desired) between $4,000 and $35,000, with a typical or adequate installation without Gov- ernment subsidy costing about $6,000. However, it is plau- sible that shipping companies could elect to install the more sophisticated, expensive HF communications equipment should the Government subsidize a significant portion of their costs. Nevertheless, since MARISAT equipment costs $52,000 and HF equipment typically costs between $4,000 and $35,000, it seems clear that costs of shipboard equipment for satellite communi- cations are significantly more than those for HF communications. Also, a recent study performed by the Exxon Corporation compared the actual costs of MARISAT and marine HF. The study results show marine HF equipment and operating costs to be less costly than MARISAT costs. In addition to the issue of MARISAT versus HF costs, MARAD contends that satellite communications services are of a higher quality than HF services now being provided, and if U.S. flag companies are to capitalize on this advan:ced technology they must be encouraged to use it. 1/These costs were included as detailed support data in appendix B of MARAD's comments on our draft report. The detailed support data was omitted from our report. 30 It is difficult for us to reconcile this point fact that MARAD's Office of Commerciel Development with the is also sponsoring a 2-year R&D program to improve ventional HF communications services for the quality of con- the U.S. shipping com- munity. It seems that if this effort is successful, it will tend to deter rather than promote the use of satellite services. In any event, we should point out that our report does not purposely imply that one particular communications ice is more beneficial than the other. serv- As we mentioned on page 9, several shipping companies we contacted review felt that the additional cost for during our satellite communica- tions over the use of conventional services was not justified by the amount of improvement gained. We do question the added value of MARAD's satellite program, since the commercial satellite communication system is completely operational. MARAD disagrees that it has performed no analysis since the first phase of the satellitecost-bene'it program. We found, however, that one cost-benefit analysis MMS in 1975, but due to its lack of specific was drafted by benefits, was not acknowledged by the shipping companies nor incorporated into the program. In light of our comments, therefore, it is tionable whether MARAD can identify any still ques- specific benefits of satellite communications use that offset the equivalent com- mercial or Government costs for these services. Finally, MARAD says that the objectives of its current phase IV contract with Computer Sciences Corporation are to: -- permit an evaluation of the benefit of satellite communications applications by U.S. shipping companies, and -- evaluate the potential services which the Maritime Coordination Center will offer ana their cost-benefits. These actions should be completed in a timely manner. If, in fact, MARAD's objectives are met at the conclusion of phase IV (due by end of 1977), then continuation program--with management improvments--may of the be of value. Con- versely, if they are not met, the program should be terminated in early 1973. MATTERS FOR CONSIDERPATION BY T!!E rN(GREPS The Congress should review the results of MARAD's phase (due by the end of 1977) in conjunction fourth with its con- sideration of any R&D funding requested by the agency for fiscal year 1979. 31 APPENDIX I APPENDIX I sb P~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ F LU I II ~~~~~~~ I i~~~~~~~~~~IL 3I ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~l-6 1k1 ~~~~ui '." , ~ C3~ S ~ E ,~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ LU La..w 2 o'3 II I ~~~~~~~~~~~~U uO c I 0m I - I IL- UJ j .L E a j s~~~~~~~ LU -C la z ui V5 U -.Jc L~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~J ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ il rC ~ P.> > 81g W C xi log z g I ~~~z a~~~~~ L~~~~~~ ~~~~L ~ ~ HR, E et w 0 IL~~~~~0 o ~~~~~~~~~~~ rj o _I ~~I " $~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ o~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~u ii~LJ r ,~~~~~~WU U WC PC a ~~~' 0- w ~~~~~~~~a~3 APPENDIX II APPENDIX II ,J VW -J si I1L' 4", ~ zI.. ~ ~ Ir (1 O* U~~~~ =I ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~·~~~~~~~~~.O 1 2ji.i u ~'J w ~" oY c , c~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~U0 :U IL,, n a L~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~f itft2 uz Ao cC~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~f 10 FF13" i co, -C-C - IL r~~~~~~~~~~ u t~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~f m~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~-D rg Eu~~~~~~~ u ~~~~~~~~~~ cV1~~~~~~~I -O 2r f a W FCU1 I' u w LW 2 W~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~U 4 . ;d a~~~~~~~~~~~~~~f at Id 33 APPENDIX III APPENDIX III I UNITD STATES DEPARTMEIlNTF -COMMERCE The Assibrtant Saeretary for Maritime Aitairs Washirnon. D.C. 20.30 JUL 22, 1977 Mr. Henry Eschwege Director, Community and Economic Development Division U.S. Ceneral Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548 Dear Mr. Eschwego: The Secretary of Ccomerce has requested me to comment on your draft report entitled "The Maritime Satellite Program; Is It Still Needed?" (GAO Code 941096.) The report has been carefully reviewed by our staff. As written, it demonstrates a significant grasp of a highly complex and dynamic program. Its delineation of certain areas where deficiencies appear to exist is very beneficial to the Department of Commerce and the Maritime Administration, in their efforts to maintain a high level of quality in their programs. There are, however, certain errors of fact in this report. Perhaps more seriously, there appear to be misunderstandings of the intent and scope of the current program phase that should be corrected. Dwelling as it does on th* central question of whether the program should continue in the future, perhaps it is understandable that the report does not discuss the success of the program to date. However, I believe it is appropriate to point out the Maritime Administration Satellite (MARSAT) program has contributed significantly to the development of a major maritime communications capability which should benefit the safety and efficiency of operation of ships of the U.S. 'Mrchant Marine. The NARSAT program as conceived in 1969-1970 envisioned an international satellite communications system to meet maritime requirements by 1980. The fact that a commercial U.S. maritime satellite O(BARISAT) communi- cations service was created and made available in 1976--four years ahead of the original target date--is a significant achievement and worthy of note. At last count, and after only this short period, 51 vessels and mobile platforms (including 23 U.S. users) have installed MARISAT terminals. The MarAd program has made important contributions to those successes. The question, however, is "Is it still needed?" Rather than to attempt to comment in detail on the report, it is more productive to address the sense of the six major recommendations summarized on pages ii and iii, and to refer to matters of detail in the context of those recommendations. Each of these recommendations is addressed below. 34 APPENDIX III APPENDIX III 1. The Naritime Administration concurs in the recomendation has anticipated the need to "undertake a cost/benefit anal-sis and in fact of its satellite program -- ". As discussed in Appendix A, "Cost/Benefits of Satellite Comunications," a series of cast/benefit studies were conducted during Phases I-III. (See GAO Note 2 below.) The following abstracts from Contract No. 6-38012 indicate the relevant work now being performed under Phase IV by Computer Sciences Corporation: "1.0 Objectives - The objectives of this effort are to: Provide a technical and economic base of valid data to permit an adequate evaluation of the potential benefits of satellite communication applications by U.S. shipping companies. 3.3 Task 3 Maritime Coordination Development Center --- During Phase IV, tests will be conducted that are intended tn realistically allow evaluation of new satellite-supported communication procedures on -ship manageent. In addition, an analysis of the potential services and value- of the MCbC (See GAO Note 3 below.) is required. This task will examine potential services that an MCC will offer; both commercial and government. Benefits and costs for such service, will be projected." With regard to costs, the report as presently written, can be misinterpreted. The table and supporting language on page 13 of the report indicate that "the costs for procuring and operating satellite equipment are significantly higrhe than the costs incurred by shipping companies for presently utilized communications equipment." The data used does not reflect comparable services by marine mobile message service and MARISAT, nor does it reflect total communications costs. Appendix B covers these mattersaccurately in some detail and concludes that MARISAT TELEX for low-vulume users MARMSAT voice cannels .for bigh-olume users are less expeasive than and HF services. (See GAO Note 2 below.) 2. We also concur in the recommendation to "domonstrate these benefits to the U.S. shipping industry --- ". In fact, this is the major thrust of Phase IV. The U.S. maritime industry is a very conservative community and tends to judge benefits and costs on the basis of experience rather studios. IWhile commercial satellite communications services are now than available, as are some fleet management services, it is unlikely that an industry concerned with many other serious problems will readily adopt such services rapidly and widely without some Government leadership. In an earlier paragraph, it was noted that 23 terminals have been on U.S. vessels or platforms. During the same time there have beeninstalled foreign installations. Out of 14 pending orders,.4 are for U.S. flag28 35 APPENDIX III APPENDIX III installations and the other 10 are foreign, even though U.S, users have significant advantages in both installation costs and user charges. It seems clear that if U.S. flag companies are to capitalize technology, they must be encouraged and assisted on this advanced in learning to use it. Our present program is designed to provide such assistance. 3. Chapter 4 of the GAO-report, "Need for Better Management, etc.," states that the Satellite program was lacking in program and that formal guidelines for planning and relatedplanning and control improve the program. Our honest assessment of this management tools would review of the program lead us to the same conclusion statement and internal although we may disagree with the GAO in certain specific areas. First of all, the direction of a satellite communication undertaking of great technical complexity and is program is an uncertainties in schedule and performance because inherently subject to of the potential problems with equipment, booster launch and operation. Thnerefore, program plan cannot be so rigidly planned that schedule any satzllite cannot be accommodated. The structure of a workable changes, etc., plan for the satellite communications area should be arranged to handle' such contingencies by means of periodic review and revision. lbe Advanced Communications and Navigation program has already allocated manpower and funds for the specific purpose of developing program planning and review document which will a comprehensive be management tool for the '4 ontinucd direction of the used as a primary document will also address the manner in which the satellite program. This Maritime Coordination Center's functions can be turned over to private industry, care that the interests of the user community are exercising due We believe that this action both anticipates and adequately protected. complies with the substance of the GAO recomendations in this area. 4. The recormendation to terminate the satellite program unless certain coaditions arenmt seems premature. Even if not near future, the potential compound benefits for fully quantified in the the Shipping U.S. flag shipping from Operations Information System and should not be discounted. Furthermore, while Maritime Satellite programs the United States now has a clear lead in satellite communications, it is based to on U.S. Navy support. Such continued Navy participationa considerable degree Accordingly, preparations for U.S. participation is not assured. in INMARSAT must continue. It also follows that emphasis on helping U.S. flag fully utilize satellite communications to improve companies to learn to their competitive position must continue. The ICC plays an important part in this process. While it does not provide a Comunication capability p so, it provides an information interchange function between ships, shipping companies and Government Weather Service, U.S. Coast Guard, Defense Flapping agencies (National Agency, and the fIaritimoe Administration). Neither the economic, safety nor security aspects function have been fully explored and evaluated. of this Such evaluation will take several years to complete, and operation as - profitable commercial venture my well be further abay. 36 APPENDIX III APPENDIX III S. The recommendation that the Congress should consider whether further funding should be made is properly conditioned upon the demonstration of the program's value. In the executive budget process, review of further funding is accomplished within the Maritime Administration, the Department of Commerce, and the Office of Management and Budget. The report makes reference to some growth of the program costs. It is equally important to point out that the program has saved substantial amounts of Covernment funds. The original program plan was dependent upon NASA providing a dedicated satellite at the following estimated costs: Revised ATS-3 satellite and L-Band Transponder (ATS-Yl - October 1971) $ 4.4M, Thor Delta Launch System 6.1M NASA Facilities, Management, etc., (2 years) 2.01 Total $12.SM Not only was the above amount saved by the Government by the development of the KARISAT capability, but a more realistic "operational" system was made available. 6. The question of "whether the Gevernment fMarAd) should provide communications services (at Government cost) which' duplicate those of private industry" seems to be based on a misunderstanding. Communications services are provided commercially by the MARISAT consortium--not tarAd. No-cost service is provided under bilateral agreements. between larAd and members of the consortium for use by shipping companies in specific Fleet Management Tests. Hence the MarAd services use, rather than duplicate, those of private industry. As a matter of general policy, it is our intention to make maximum use of the capabilities of private industry in carrying out our responsibilities. In summary, we are of the opinion that the Maritime Satellite program in the past has made commendable contributions to the development aid implementation of a major technological innovation in maritime communications. While the equipment development phase is now essentially complete, a major task still remains, that of developing and demonstrating the value of Fleet Management activities made possible by this new capability. It is the purpose of the ongoing program to carry out that task, making use of commercially available communications. While disputing some of the details of the draft report, we are in agreement with most of the recommendations, and definite actions are in progress to carry them out. With regard to the recommendations concerning termination of the program, we feel that such recommendations, while conditional, may raise false doubts about the future and potential benefits of satellite communications. Such doubts would likely inhibit their use, to the detriment 37 APPENDIX III APPENDIX III of the U.S. flag carriers in a commercial sense and to the national objectives which the Maritime Administration seeks to.achieve.., Thank you for the opportunity to respond to this interesting report. .Sincorely, " R6BERT J. KWEL Asscristant eta;y for Maritime Affairs GAO NOTES: 1. Page references in this appendix may not correspond to pages of this report. 2. Twenty-five pages of detailed data provided as appendixes are not included in this report. 3. The MCC is MARAD's Maritime Coordination Center. (941096) 38
Maritime Administration's Satellite Communications Program: Is It Still Needed?
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-10-27.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)