There are lingering concerns about the potential cost of a new military branch.
The White House is unhappy with the Senate language because it doesn’t give DoD full legal authority to establish a space service.
Sen. Jack Reed: “I think within a year, next year at this time, we’ll have a Space Force."
Whatever the final language that comes out of conference, it will likely not include many of the items that DoD has asked for.
The House and Senate voted in support of a space service to be nested inside the Air Force, but much still remains unresolved.
Proposed changes to the National Security Space Launch program that Smith introduced in the HASC version of the NDAA made it into the House bill.
White House challenges HASC Space Corps language, strongly objects to space launch provisions in NDAA
On the National Security Space Launch program, the administration “strongly objects” to HASC language “as it would increase mission risk for the nation’s national security satellites.”
Air Force officials see growing support for space on Capitol Hill and DoD despite ongoing leadership changes.
Smith so far has not been happy with the Air Force’s response to his concerns about the launch program.
The amended language retained two key provisions that help SpaceX and Blue Origin, and removed two others that were opposed by ULA.
A bipartisan amendment to strike Smith’s space launch provisions is expected to be offered by Colorado lawmakers Lamborn and Crow.
Several provisions in the markup address space procurement policy and assign specific tasks to the Space Development Agency.
One of the running themes in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act is Congress trying to light a fire under the Defense Department with regard to technological innovation.
Both chambers want legislation that strengthens the U.S. military space posture, said Thornberry. The House and Senate are “not going to let up in our push to do better in space.”
The Senate Armed Services committee report notes that funding for Blackjack is the Air Force’s highest unfunded priority.
Rogers: Regardless of what the final DoD report states, “there’s still things in space that have to be fixed.”