Today’s Tidbits: March 7, 2018

Today’s Tidbits: March 7, 2018

Here are our tidbits for March 7, 2018:  DOD policy chief puts FY2019 DOD space budget request at $12.5 billion; join William Shatner and send your name to the Sun!  Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live tweeting of events.

DOD Policy Chief Puts DOD Space Budget Request at $12.5 Billion

Under Secretary of Defense for Policy John Rood told the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee today that DOD’s FY2019 budget request for space is $12.5 billion, an increase of $1.1 billion over FY2018.

Varying estimates of DOD’s space budget request exist and all are thought to represent funding only for unclassified programs, not classified programs in agencies like the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).

Mike Tierney, Jacques & Associates, at CSIS seminar on Strategic National Security Space: FY19 Budget Forum, February 28, 2018. Screengrab.

Mike Tierney of Jacques & Associates gave a detailed budget presentation at a recent CSIS seminar on Strategic National Security Space: FY19 Budget Forum.  After poring over DOD budget books, his analysis concluded that the request was $7.88 billion, an increase of 22 percent.  He cautioned, however, that it is difficult to extract from the budget books exactly what is counted as “space” and other estimates exist.  His estimate is what he could “track back to what’s publicly available” and the percentage increase compares what DOD projected last year that it would request in FY2019 versus what it is actually requesting.

Rood did not provide details of what is included in his $12.5 billion estimate, but characterized it as funding “to take steps to establish a more resilient, defendable space architecture.” He added that the United States “does not fight alone” and allies and partners share capabilities and information.  “Cost sharing agreements, hosting U.S. national security payloads on foreign systems, and data sharing arrangements to bolster shared space situational awareness are just a few of the opportunities” they provide.

The hearing today was very brief because members had to leave to vote in the House.  They were planning to return after the votes, but at that point the hearing would be closed to discussed classified matters.  During the 30 minute open session, most of the discussion focused on missile defense programs.

Join William Shatner and Send Your Name to the Sun

NASA is getting ready to launch the Parker Solar Probe this summer, the first spacecraft to “touch” the Sun’s corona to learn more about how the Sun works.  Included on the spacecraft will be a microchip with the names of anyone who wants to be included.  One must sign up by April 27, 2018.

NASA has been offering such opportunities for a variety of missions as part of their public outreach efforts.  They have enlisted William Shatner (Star Trek’s original Captain Kirk) to get the word out this time.  Click the first link in the tweet below to sign up.


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