After several years of taking legislative dysfunction to new heights, the U.S. Congress has shown signs in recent weeks of a return to some semblance of sanity.
The U.S. government, primarily the Department of Defense, plans to spend some $6 billion on efforts to monitor the space environment in real time through 2020, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
For stakeholders in the U.S. government space enterprise, the most important agenda item for Congress is passing a budget for the new fiscal year that will keep high-priority programs on track. Unfortunately, an uglier scenario — budgetary chaos — is looming.
A failure by Congress to pass a 2016 budget by the Oct. 1 start of the fiscal year would delay several new classified and unclassified programs aimed at improving U.S. space protection and counter space capabilities, the head of U.S. Air Force Space Command said Sept. 16.
Two high-priority Defense Department initiatives to more closely monitor and manage space activity — the Joint Space Operations Center Mission System and the follow-on to the Space Based Space Surveillance system Block 10 satellite — could face delays.
A senior U.S. Missile Defense Agency official expressed concern June 18 about a House spending bill that provides some 22 percent less funding than requested for a new kill vehicle and said the impact could spill over onto other programs.