DOD Wants 17 Percent Increase for Space Activities in FY2020

DOD Wants 17 Percent Increase for Space Activities in FY2020

DOD is requesting $14.1 billion for space activities in FY2020, a 17 percent increase over FY2019 according to DOD officials.  Included in the request is $72 million to begin establishing a Space Force as a separate military service within the Air Force in anticipation of Congress approving that action, although it is not assured.

A Pentagon press release on the Trump Administration’s $750 billion request for national security, of which $718.3 billion is for DOD, listed the following four space priorities:

Source: DOD press release, March 12, 2019

Air Force Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget Maj. Gen. John M. Pletcher said at a Pentagon budget briefing this afternoon that the request is 17 percent above FY2019 funding. The $72.4 million for the U.S. Space Force (USSF) is to stand up a “provisional” headquarters that will be responsible for “addressing scope of mission and function, organizational components, and planning considerations to implement the new service.”

The funding is part of the Air Force’s Operations and Maintenance (O&M) account and includes 160 personnel billets.  Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan sent his proposal to establish a Space Force to Congress on March 1.  If Congress agrees, funding would ramp up with a total additional cost over 5 years of about $2 billion and annual costs of $500 million once it is fully established.

The 17 percent increase for all space activities above the FY2019 appropriations of $11.8 billion is across the entire Air Force portfolio — O&M, Procurement, Military Personnel, and Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) — Pletcher said.

The total Air Force FY2020 request is $165.6 billion, $9.8 billion above FY2019 appropriations.  That makes space approximately 8 percent of the Air Force budget request.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein will testify to the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee tomorrow morning to explain the request.   Wilson is resigning, but not until May.

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