WASHINGTON — The House on July 14 passed the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act  by a vote of 329-101. The bill authorizes $839 billion for military spending, or $37 billion more than the administration requested.

The House version of the NDAA will have to be reconciled with the Senate’s version in a House-Senate conference later this year. The Senate has not yet scheduled a vote on its version of the NDAA.

The bill approved by the House includes several space-related amendments adopted on June 23 by the House Armed Services Committee. These amendments include increases in funding for space launch and requirements for the Pentagon to stand up a “tactically responsive space” program focused on rapid launch of small satellites. 

Other provisions in the House NDAA urge DoD to use commercial space services for communications, space domain awareness, and debris removal.

The bill also establishes a Space National Guard, which the Biden administration firmly opposes. 

In  a July 12 statement of administration policy, the White House said “we continue to strongly oppose the creation of a Space National Guard.” The administration supports personnel reforms to “allow part-time service within the Space Force without requiring the additional overhead of a separate component.”

The White House “urges the Congress not to create a new, potential costly bureaucracy with far-reaching and enduring implications.”

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...