President Signs FY2014 Defense Authorization Into Law

President Signs FY2014 Defense Authorization Into Law

President Obama signed the FY2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law yesterday, sustaining a record that spans more than 50 years of enacting this annual law despite the ups and downs of Washington politics.

The law provides a total of $607 billion for defense:  $527 billion as the base budget plus $80 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) such as the war in Afghanistan.

Among the provisions related to national security space activities in the bill as passed by Congress and explained in a joint explanatory statement from the House and Senate Armed Services Committees are the following (“sec.” refers to section numbers in the bill):

  • Prohibits the President from allowing foreign governments to place monitor stations for navigation satellite systems on U.S. territory without the approval of the Secretary of Defense (SecDef) and Director of National Intelligence (DNI).  The provision apparently is aimed at a request by Russia, which is being considered by the State Department and is opposed by DOD and CIA, to place monitor stations for Russia’s GLONASS navigation satellite system in the United States.  The stations would make GLONASS more accurate. (sec. 1602(b))
  • Prohibits the SecDef from entering into contracts for commercial satellite services with a “covered foreign entity in a covered foreign country” if there is a reasonable belief that the “covered foreign entity has an ownership interest that enables that government to affect satellite operations.”  The provision includes a “7-day notice-and-wait” period. (sec. 1602 (a))   Covered foreign country is as defined in sec. 1261 (c)(2) of the FY2013 NDAA (P.L. 112-239; 126 Stat. 2019).
  • Requires the DOD Executive Agent for space to certify to the congressional defense committees that the SecDef is carrying out the Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) program in accordance with law (10 U.S. C. 2273a), and prohibits spending more than 50 percent of the funding for the Space-Based Infrared System modernization initiative wide field of view test bed until that occurs.  Also requires a report within 60 days of enactment on a potential mission that would “seek to leverage all  the policy objectives of the [ORS] program in a single mission.” (sec. 220)
  • Requires the DOD Executive Agent for Space to do a study on operationally responsive launch and for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review that study. (sec. 915)
  • Requires the Secretary of the Air Force “to develop and implement a plan to ensure the fair evaluation of competing contractors in awarding a contract to a certified evolved expendable launch vehicle [EELV] provider.”   The joint explanatory statement adds that this “should not be construed as direction regarding ongoing procurement or any aspect of source selection criteria.”  Also requests GAO to review the Air Force EELV acquisition strategy and brief Congress before the Air Force releases a draft request for proposals.  (sec. 145
  • Requires the SecDef and DNI to contract with the National Research Council for a review of near- and long-term threats to U.S. national security space systems and to take into account the affordability and technical risk of recommended courses of action. (sec. 912)
  • Requires briefings from various DOD officials to the congressional defense committees on DOD’s strategy for the multi-year procurement of commercial satellite services. (sec. 913)
  • Requires the Commander of U.S. Strategic Command to notify Congress of each attempt by a foreign actor to disrupt, degrade or  destroy a U.S. national security space capability within 48 hours of determining that such an attempt occurred and to provide additional information within 10 days.  Congress notes in the joint explanatory statement that this is not intended to be a duplicative process, is not intended to be a notification of every anomaly, and is only for when there is reason to believe it was an intentional attempt. (sec. 911)
  • Requires the SecDef to report to the congressional defense committees on the space control mission of DOD.  The joint explanatory statement states that Congress believes the nature of DOD’s space control mission “is fundamentally changing from purely collision avoidance and cataloging space objects” to ensuring the United States has “the capabilities to respond at the time and place of our choosing” to “purposeful interference with U.S. space systems, including their supporting infrastructure” and the right of “free access and use of space” as called for in DOD’s October 18, 2012 Directive on Space Policy. (sec. 914)
  • Requires the SecDef to submit to the congressional defense committees all materials presented to inform the Deputy SecDef on DOD’s counter space strategy over the past 3 years that resulted in “significant revisions to said strategy” and limits the amount of money that can be spent on the Space Protection Program by $10 million until that occurs. (sec. 916)
  • Requires the Air Force Chief of Staff to submit a report to the congressional defense committees on the Eagle Vision imagery ground station. (sec. 917)
  • Modifies  DARPA’s biennial strategic plan requirement “to make more explicit the linkage between the strategic objections [sic] of the agency with the missions of the armed forces.”   The joint explanatory statement uses DARPA’s Phoenix  program (for satellite servicing and advanced robotics for geosynchronous earth orbit systems) as an example, noting that Phoenix has significant potential, but “may raise complex policy issues, as well as pose as a disruptive technology to established approaches and operations.” (sec. 211)
  • Requires the SecDef to develop a long-term plan for satellite ground control systems and implement a GAO recommendation in its report on Satellite Control Operations (GAO-13-315) concerning the use of dedicated satellite control systems.  (sec. 822)

Congress did not agree to a House-passed provision that would have required an analysis of alternatives to the Precision Tracking Space System (PTSS), which was terminated.

President Obama did not mention any of the space-related provisions in his signing statement, which focuses on provisions regarding Guantanamo.

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