First Budget Request for Space Force Tops $15 Billion

First Budget Request for Space Force Tops $15 Billion

For the first time, the President’s Budget Request includes funding for the U.S. Space Force, which was created as a sixth military service in December.  Most of the funding for Space Force in the F2021 request simply reflects shuffling funds into the new account structure, but an Air Force official said today there is a $900 million increase compared to FY2020.

Space Force is now a separate entity within the U.S. Air Force, headed by the Chief of Space Operations, Gen. Jay Raymond.  Raymond previously was Commander of Air Force Space Command (AFSPC).  When President Trump signed the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law on December 20, 2019, AFSPC basically became the Space Force.

Its 16,000 military and civilian personnel were immediately assigned to the Space Force, although they must officially transfer to the new service before they actually are members of the Space Force, which will take some time. Therefore funding for personnel has not yet shifted to the Space Force.  That will happen once an integrated Department of the Air Force pay system is operational.

Still, the AFSPC budgets for developing, building, launching and operating space systems are now the Space Force budget. Air Force Maj. Gen. John Pletcher briefed reporters today with a number of charts showing the budget for both the Air Force and the Space Force.  The unclassified FY2021 request for Space Force is $15.4 billion.

Because Space Force did not exist in FY2020, it is difficult to compare with FY2021, but Pletcher said if they are normalized, FY2021 is a $900 million increase over FY2020, “the fourth straight year of growth in overall space funding.”

Source: Snip from briefing chart from Maj. Gen. John Pletcher, USAF FY2021 budget briefing, February 10, 2020

The $15.4 billion includes $10.3 billion for research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E), $2.4 billion for procurement, $2.5 billion for operations and maintenance (O&M), and $0.1 billion in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) budget.

Pletcher said the procurement request is for three launches and two GPS III Follow-on satellites.

Air Force budget documentation shows the $10.3 billion RDT&E budget broken down as follows. It includes development of the Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) system ($2.3 billion), next generation operational control ground system (OCX) for GPS ($482 million), National Security Space Launch ($561 million), and military GPS user equipment ($391 million).




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