July 15, 2024
1 Solar System Way, Planet Earth, USA

Senate Armed Services Committee Advances 2025 Defense Policy Bill

WASHINGTON – The Senate Armed Services Committee approved its version of the Fiscal Year 2025 National Defense Authorization Act on June 14. The bill now heads to the Senate floor. The legislation, which has not yet been released in its entirety, includes compromise language on a long-running dispute over the transfer of space units from the Air National Guard to the active-duty Space Force.

According to a executive Summary Released out of committee, the bill addresses the contentious question of how to integrate the Air National Guard's existing space operations into the Space Force.

Also on Friday the House approved its own version of the NDAA. However, the House bill carry important luggage in the form of controversial social policy amendments, setting the stage for a likely showdown with the Democrat-controlled Senate.

These partisan provisions, championed by House Republicans, touch on hot-button issues such as abortion access for service members, diversity initiatives and gender-affirming health care. Democrats said its inclusion threatens to upend the typically bipartisan nature of the defense authorization process.

Space Policy Provisions in the SASC Bill:

  • Requires the U.S. Air Force to transfer certain space functions from the Air National Guard to the U.S. Space Force. But such a transfer should not reduce the end strength of affected state Air National Guard organizations.
  • Requires the Department of Defense to convene private equity firms to discuss opportunities in the competition space and address “adverse predatory investment strategies.”
  • Authorizes DOD to identify poorly performing contractors and require approval for additional contracts.
  • Authorizes the designation of a Program Executive Office for the indication of moving air and ground targets from space.
  • Leads a review of DOD efforts to acquire new moving target indicator capabilities and related programs.
  • Authorizes the establishment of a Commercial Augmentation Space Reserve program and requires a report on commercial insurance for Department of Defense space support services.
  • Requires DOD to designate a Space Command, Control, and Integration Program Executive Officer to acquire a system to support a combined operations center at the National Space Defense Center.

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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