Senate owners bolster military space programs in 2023 spending bill

Defense bill adds more than $2 billion for military space programs beyond what the Biden administration has requested

WASHINGTON – Senate Appropriations Committee heads unveiled July 28 12 Appropriation Bills for the coming fiscal year, including a defense spending bill recommending a A budget of 792 billion dollars for the Department of Defense.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana), chairman of the appropriations defense subcommittee, said the main line of defense is $63.6 billion above what Congress passed in fiscal year 2022. The increase is needed to “address higher inflation of acquisition programs, goods and services and higher compensation costs,” the committee said in a statement.

The defense bill adds more than $2 billion for military space programs beyond what the Biden administration has requested. Most of the increase is in satellites and launch services from the Army’s Missile Warning Space Network. They include the following:

  • $400 million to expedite the acquisition of low Earth orbit missile warning and tracking satellites for the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command$300 million to expand the Space Force Medium Earth Orbit Missile Warning and Tracking Constellation
  • $250 million for Space Force test and training infrastructure
  • $250 million for defensive measures for high-value satellites
  • $216 million to the Space Development Agency to purchase two additional launches to accelerate the deployment of missile warning and tracking satellites to low Earth orbit
  • $100 million for tactically responsive launcha congressional-directed program that the DoD did not fund

In a report accompanying the defense bill, senate officials said they want to see a “responsive launch program to rapidly place and replenish space assets in support of combatant command and defense requirements.” resilience of space companies”. They direct the Secretary of the Air Force to submit to Congress a strategy for acquiring this capability.

The committee also wants the DoD to invest in technologies to reach and operate in cislunar space beyond Earth orbit. Last year, Congress allocated $61 million for a cislunar flight experiment and $70 million for a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency effort to develop propulsion technologies for cislunar flight.

“Developing capabilities and operating in cislunar space is imperative for the nation to achieve national security, science and technology, and economic benefits,” the report said, urging the Secretary of the Army to seem to increase investment in this area.

Senate appropriation officials did not include funding for a Space National Guard, but asked for additional information on how current space activities conducted by the Air National Guard will transition to the Space Force.

“The committee notes that there are Air National Guard units that conduct space missions and that there is disagreement within the Department of the Air Force on how best to allocate those forces. after the creation of the Space Force,” the SAC report said.

Officials direct the Department of the Air Force to submit a “comprehensive analysis of costs, benefits and impacts on the unit” and explain future plans for transferring space missions, personnel or Air National Guard equipment to the Space Army.

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