President Biden is asking for $24.5 billion for the US Space Force in fiscal year 2023, a substantial increase from the $18 billion allocated by Congress for fiscal year 2022. Part of the increase is due to transfers from other parts of the DOD budget, but research and development funding in particular is boosted.
In total, the Air Force Department is requesting $234 billion for fiscal year 2023 as part of the DOD’s $773 billion request. The Department oversees two military services, the Air Force and the Space Force. The Space Force became a separate military service in 2019.
For fiscal year 2022, President Biden requested $17.4 billion for the Space Force and Congress appropriated slightly more, $18.055 billion. This did not include money for personnel, which has been accounted for in the Air Force budget thus far. The two services are gradually separating their budgetary accounts.
In fiscal year 2023, the Space Force now includes personnel in its budget request with $1 billion transferred from the Air Force. The Space Development Agency (SDA), part of the Office of the DOD Undersecretary for Research and Engineering, is also transferred to the Space Force pursuant to the National Defense Authorization Act for the financial year 2021.
During a budget briefing this afternoon, Air Force Undersecretary Gina Ortiz Jones said the request for fiscal year 2023 reflects the Department’s operational imperatives, the first of which is to define resilient and efficient order of battle and spatial architectures.
She said the request reflected efforts to move to a resilient missile warning and tracking system and the “Space Force pivot to a series of resilient, survivable and defensible architectures” to deal with hypersonic missiles and anti-satellite weapons. She added that this framework provides access to “a more diverse base of satellite vendors and launch vendors that are also pivoting to proliferated constellations for commercial applications.” The Department is also investing in space domain awareness, including Deep Space Advanced Radar Capability or DARC, an all-weather radar capability to “counteract existing and emerging threats in deep space and support the tactical schedules set for strategic space defence”.
The Department is also “collaborating with industry on national security space launch, to drive innovation and increase launch capability to maintain robust and assured access to space.”
Still, the Space Force makes up a small portion of the Department’s budget, $24.5 billion compared to the Air Force’s $169.5 billion.
The FY2023 Space Force demand breakdown is shown in this Air Force chart.
The comparisons are with the “FY 22 PB”, the President’s budget FY2022, which means that the demand for FY2022 is not what Congress appropriated. The tables were prepared before Congress finalized appropriations for fiscal year 2022 two weeks ago.
SpacePolicyOnline.com created this quick table of the FY2022 budget request, FY2022 appropriations, and FY2023 request for the Space Force.