WASHINGTON — House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) on June 12 released his proposed bill for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024, known as the chairman’s mark.

The full committee will consider Rogers’ mark on June 21.

Rogers in the bill adds another twist in the contentious battle over the proposed relocation of U.S. Space Command from Colorado to Alabama. The move has been on hold pending DoD and Air Force reviews.

The bill would prohibit U.S. Space Command from spending money on new or improved facilities at its current headquarters at Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, “until the Secretary of the Air Force delivers a report on the selection of a permanent location.”

Rogers also would restrict travel funds for Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall until the delivery of the report.

Other space policy provisions in the chairman’s mark:

  • Halts procurement of WGS-12 satellite. The bill would prohibit the U.S. Space Force from issuing a contract for the procurement of the Wideband Global Satcom WGS-12 satellite that Congress directed in the 2023 spending bill. Rogers wants the Department of the Air Force to certify that the requirements met by WGS-12 cannot be fulfilled by commercial providers. 
  • Presses DoD on space policy reports. The bill would limit the availability of 10 percent of the travel funds for the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy until DoD submits an overdue congressionally mandated unclassified report explaining how the U.S. will defend satellites in orbit.
  • Requires the Space Force to “maximize competition in the acquisition strategy for the National Security Space Launch” Phase 3 procurement.  The bill says the program should “provide opportunities for emerging launch providers while also assuring access to proven launch capabilities for low-risk tolerant payloads.”

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...