House Armed Services Committee strategic forces subcommittee Chairman Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) speaks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Credit: CSIS

WASHINGTON — The House Armed Services Committee’s strategic forces subcommittee on June 22 advanced its portion of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes multiple provisions on space procurement and use of commercial space technologies.

“Regarding space, we continue our focus on increasing the resilience and capability of our space assets,” subcommittee Chairman Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) said in opening remarks.

He noted the committee continues to press the Air Force procure commercial space domain awareness services and to use allied nations’ positioning, timing and navigation in order to disincentivize an attack on the GPS constellation.

Cooper said the draft bill continues to support the development of a constellation or “space sensor layer” capable of tracking both advanced ballistic and hypersonic missile threats “despite the Department’s astonishing lack of focus on this effort over the past four years.”

Ranking Member Mike Turner (R-Ohio) said nearly half of the provisions in the subcommittee mark were requested by both parties. The draft bill is heavy on nuclear weapons policy and missile defense.

By comparison last year the panel passed its NDAA mark by party-line vote.

“We’ll certainly debate the funding and requirements in the full committee mark, but this mark contains several provisions that advance the committee’s ability to provide that oversight,” said Turner.

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...