Bill Fences NPOESS Funds Pending Management Plan

by

Conferees from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives agreed Oct. 8 on a 2010 defense authorization bill that fences off funding for the troubled National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) until a new funding and management plan is completed.

NPOESS, a joint military-civil weather satellite program, has been hampered by an ineffective management structure and technical difficulties that have put the satellites well behind schedule and over budget.

The final version of the 2010 National Defense Authorization bill would prohibit half of the Air Force funding for NPOESS from being spent until the White House approves a new strategy for the program, according to language in the report accompanying the bill.

The bill also requires the secretary of defense and secretary of state to conduct an assessment of the national security risks associated with removing satellites and related components from the restrictive U.S. Munitions List for export purposes. An unclassified report would be due to Congress 180 days from the passage of the act.