Space Force Gets $2 Billion Boost in FY2022 Request

Space Force Gets $2 Billion Boost in FY2022 Request

President Biden’s budget request for the U.S. Space Force is $17.5 billion, a $2.1 billion increase, of which half is due to programs transferring in from other services. That is a tiny percentage of the overall Air Force request of $156.3 billion, but Space Force officials proudly reiterate that they will keep this new military service small, agile and digital.

Congress created the Space Force as part of the Air Force in the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The organizational arrangement is akin to the Marine Corps, which is part of the Department of the Navy. Gen. Jay Raymond is the Chief of Space Operations (CSO), parallel to Gen. C. Q. Brown, the Air Force Chief of Staff.

The Space Force was formally established on December 20, 2019, the day President Trump signed that NDAA into law.  The service is still in its formative stages and this is just the second year that a Space Force budget is being submitted.

The Space Force’s unclassified budget request is part of the Air Force budget documentation. The $17.5 billion comprises $3.4 billion for Operations & Maintenance (O&M); $11.3 billion for Research, Development Test & Evaluation (RDT&E); and $2.8 billion for procurement. For FY2021, the Space Force received $15.4 billion: $2.6 billion in O&M, $10.5 billion in RDT&E, and $2.3 billion in procurement.

Maj. Gen. James Peccia III, Air Force Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget, laid out the major elements of the Space Force request along with those for the Air Force at a briefing yesterday.

The Space Force procurement request includes five national security space launches, compared with three in FY2021, and two GPS III Follow-on satellites, the same as FY2021.

Peccia explained that half of the roughly $2 billion increase for the Space Force is “related to transfers into the Space Force from Air Force, from Navy and from Army.”  Examples are the Wide Band Enterprise Satcom from the Army, the MUOS communications satellite program from the Navy, and money for Space Force facility restoration and maintenance that was bookkept in the Air Force O&M budget last year.

He added there is $800 million for new classified programs that he cannot discuss.

The request includes $930 million for military Space Force personnel, called Guardians, but that funding remains in the Air Force budget, not the Space Force budget. It envisions growing the number of Guardians to an end-strength of 8,400, an increase of about 2,000 that Peccia said primarily will be transfers from other services.

That does not include civilian personnel. At a May 26 Senate Armed Services Strategic Forces subcommittee hearing, Vice CSO Gen. David Thompson said about 6,000 civilians are currently assigned to the Space Force and are funded in the Air Force budget. They are in addition to the current 6,400 uniformed members, 6,000 of whom transferred from the Air Force in the last year.

Detailed budget documents show that Space Domain Awareness (SDA) is one of the areas where the Space Force wants a significant increase. The request for the Deep Space Advanced Radar Concept (DARC) almost quadruples from $33 million in FY2021 to $123 million for FY2022 as the Space Force prepares to issue a Request for Proposals for new ground-based radars to track space objects. The increase is for Site 1 Rapid Prototype design, development and build contracts to ensure the first site is operational in 2025. Two additional sites are planned. The Space Force also is upgrading the existing GEODSS system and developing new technologies for SDA.

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