July 14, 2024
1 Solar System Way, Planet Earth, USA

House Appropriations Committee reduces Space Force budget request

WASHINGTON — On June 13, the House Appropriations Committee moved forward an $833 billion defense spending bill for fiscal year 2025, that's $16.5 billion less than President Biden asked for. The measure was approved by the panel by a vote of 34 to 25.

The bill greenlights $28.7 billion for the Space Force, or about $900 million less than the White House requested. According to estimates by the consulting firm Velos, the cuts were distributed across several research, development and acquisition programs of the Space Force, affecting both classified and unclassified projects.

Of note, recipients cut funding for the Global Positioning System satellite program. The committee cut $185.9 million from the procurement account for GPS IIIF satellites.

The HAC also questioned a new initiative from the Department of the Air Force accelerate the development of “rugged GPS,” an effort to use commercial technologies to build smaller, less expensive GPS satellites to augment the existing constellation. Under so-called “quick start authorities,” Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall attempted to reallocate $117 million for the Resilient GPS project, which is estimated to cost $1 billion over five years.

The committee said it is not convinced that these smaller satellites increase resilience against interference threats compared to other alternative positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) concepts.

In a report, appropriators noted that this new program focuses on the space segment and does not address long-standing shortage of GPS user equipment that is compatible with the newest anti-jamming signals.

The HAC rejected Kendall's requested funding realignment and directed the Pentagon's cost accounting office to examine the Resilient GPS program and evaluate whether it is the best option to increase the resiliency of the Army's PNT systems.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology, and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as NDIA's National Defense Editor…

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