June 16, 2024
1 Solar System Way, Planet Earth, USA
Space

House Armed Services Committee Advances 2025 Defense Policy Bill

WASHINGTON — The House Armed Services Committee, in a late-night vote on May 22, approved its version of the Fiscal Year 2025 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by a vote of 57-1. .

More than 700 amendments were negotiated. The NDAA, which authorizes $850 billion for the Department of Defense, now heads to the House floor.

One of the most controversial amendments on space policy was related to the National Space Guard. The proposal introduced by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) requires governors to approve any transfer of Air National Guard units to the Space Force. It also requires annual reports to Congress on the status of transfers of Air Guard units to the Space Force.

This provision could impact the Space Force's plans to allow Air Guard members responsible for space missions to enter the Space Force's new hybrid full- and part-time workforce structure.

  • The HASC voted to grant the Under Secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition and Integration oversight of the Contractor Responsibility Watch List (CRWL). The Air Force sought that authority to hold accountable contractors who underperform in acquisition programs.
  • The bill establishes a program known as Business Augmentation Space Reservation allow the Department of Defense to sign agreements with commercial companies that commit to providing satellite capacity or other services to the military during conflicts.
  • The committee also approved an amendment requiring the Department of the Air Force to report to Congress on how it plans to leverage commercial solutions to meet identified mission areas in the U.S. Space Force. Commercial space strategy published in April.
  • The HASC passed an amendment by Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) directing the Pentagon to evaluate the impact on intelligence sources of leaked classified information about Russia's development of an anti-satellite nuclear weapon. That provision was aimed at a social media post in february from Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) warning of a serious threat to national security and urging the Biden administration to declassify and discuss the information publicly. Turner opposed Moulton's provision, but it was still approved.

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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