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SN Military.Space Sandra Erwin

The Trump administration’s $750 billion national defense budget request for fiscal year 2020 includes $14.1 billion for space programs. According to DoD budget documents released on Tuesday, the space request is about $2.6 billion more than what Congress enacted in fiscal year 2019.

The Pentagon justified increased spending on space as necessary to ensure “unfettered access to and freedom to operate in space,” the budget documents state.

The budget includes $306 million to establish three new organizations: a U.S. Space Force, a Space Development Agency and U.S. Space Command. The Defense Department must “adapt to posture itself for the wars of the future,” the documents say. “The DoD must be prepared to assure freedom of operation in space, to deter attacks and, when necessary, to defeat space and counter space threats.”

“The administration has made space an everyday conversation for Americans. The space budgets right now are the strongest they’ve been since 9/11. We are thankful that the President and Congress continue to see space as a priority.”

John Stopher, principal assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force for space

The administration is seeking $72.4 million for 160 billets to establish the Space Force headquarters (120 would transfer from other services and 40 would be new hires). The budget also requests $83.8 million to stand up U.S. Space Command and $149.8 million to establish a Space Development Agency.

NEW ORGANIZATIONS To staff U.S. Space Command in fiscal year 2020, DoD will transfer 587 military and civilians from the National Space Defense Center, the Joint Force Space Component Command, the Joint Navigation Warfare Center and other organizations. These units currently report to U.S. Strategic Command.

The Space Development Agency will be dedicated to “rapidly developing, acquiring and fielding next-generation space technologies,” the budget documents say. The SDA will be placed in the office of Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Mike Griffin but will transition into the Space Force if and when the new branch is established.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...