House Proposal Would Keep ORS Office Alive Next Year

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee recommends funding a rapid-response military space activity known as Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) that the Pentagon has marked for termination next year.

In its 2013 budget request, the Air Force proposed closing the ORS office and allocating $10 million to integrate ORS concepts into other military space programs. In marking up its portion of the 2013 defense authorization bill, the House panel recommended rejecting that proposal.

In report language drafted for the 2013 defense authorization bill and posted on the full committee’s website April 25, lawmakers proposed funding ORS activities at $25 million. They recommended no funding for the ORS integration activity, which is spread across five space budget accounts in the Air Force budget request.

The committee said it is not convinced that the Air Force plan “will fully address joint military operational requirements for on demand space support and reconstitution.”

The report language also directs the Air Force to develop a plan for the future of ORS, conceived as a way to develop and field low-cost space capabilities quickly in response to emerging military needs. The Air Force report, along with an implementation plan, would be due to the committee Nov. 30, lawmakers said.

Air Force Gen. William Shelton, commander of Air Force Space Command, told lawmakers March 8 that eliminating the ORS program would be part of the service’s contribution to $487 billion in planned reductions in defense spending over the next decade mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011. Congress appropriated $110 million for ORS programs in 2012.

 

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