U.S. Lawmakers Seek Study Of Military Ground Systems

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Looking to trim satellite ground infrastructure costs, the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee has asked the Pentagon for a study of satellites slated to use dedicated ground systems instead of a shared ground system.

The request appears in a markup the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act approved by the committee June 14. The full House of Representatives passed its version of the bill June 14.

In an April report, the Government Accountability Office said the U.S. Air Force’s satellite ground systems are “fragmented and potentially duplicative.” 

At press time, the Senate committee had not publicly released its version of the bill. But in a press release, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) announced some of its highlights.

These include a provision that adds $10 million to the Operationally Responsive Space program, which was zeroed out in the Obama administration’s 2014 budget request. That money would be used to continue designing a low-cost weather satellite, according to the release.

The committee also calls on the defense secretary to report to Congress on future options for missile defense, including an interceptor site on the U.S. East Coast. The Pentagon is studying location options for a third site for U.S.-based missile interceptors, including two possibilities near the East Coast. The two existing sites are in Alaska and California.