WASHINGTON — The U.S. Space Force’s $24.5 billion funding request for fiscal year 2023 represents a 40% increase over last year, driven by the urgency to develop the space architecture of Department of Defense Missile Warning and Tracking.
Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told reporters at an embargoed press conference March 25 that the growth of the Space Force’s $7 billion budget from the $17.4 billion request billion dollars for the service’s fiscal year 2022 represents a need to transition to more resilient space-based architectures. Much of the increase is focused on research and development, but it also includes additional transfers from other services as well as the Space Development Agency, which will transition to Space Force in October.
“The reason there is a space force, the reason the Obama administration changed its strategy for space, was because of the threat – the widespread investment that China and Russia have in space capabilities. anti-space and anti-space, including the things that threaten us and within all different orbital regimes,” Kendall said. “This is an evolution toward systems that can continue to provide the services that we depend.”
Kendall noted that while a large portion of Space Force’s fiscal year 2023 budget request resides in its research and development portfolio, funding will shift to procurement in future years as the service begins to implement a new proliferated architecture. The service’s $15.8 billion research and development request is $4.5 billion higher than in fiscal 2022 and more than four times the procurement funding request in fiscal 2023, which s amounts to approximately $3.6 billion.
“When you see the R&D to supply cost ratios that you’re seeing in our budgets right now, it’s like a red flag that tells you that the supply costs that are going to be needed to buy the things you have in R&D are going to go up,” he says. “So we’re doing R&D and it’s a down payment on future capability, but there’s a necessity – if we’re going to be able to effectively deter and project the power the way we need to be able to – to move that R&D money and go into procurement and get real quantities of real equipment into the hands of our operators.
Kendall said he’s instructed the Air Force and Space Force acquisition offices to structure the programs to get a “meaningful” capability in place as quickly as possible.
“Because of this, I think there will be some very tough choices as we go through R&D and define exactly what we are going to buy in order to go into supply mode instead of into supply mode. R&D,” he said.
The Space Warfighting Analysis Center has led the force design efforts that will support major Space Force architectural changes, and its early efforts have focused on the Department of Defense missile warning and tracking systems. defense. Informed by this work, the service’s budget request proposes $4.7 billion for the satellites, sensors and ground systems that will make up this architecture.
This includes a $1 billion increase for the Next Generation Airborne Persistent Infrared System, which is developing missile tracking satellites that will be based in geosynchronous and polar orbits as well as a new ground segment that will fuse sensor data missile warning sign. The service’s fiscal year 2022 budget included $2.45 billion across the program’s three segments.
The DoD has yet to release its detailed budget justification documents, so it’s not immediately clear how the $1 billion is distributed, but spokeswoman Capt. Samantha Morrison told C4ISRNET that the increase includes $576 million in additional funding for the GEO segment and $238 million for Polar, with the remaining $186 million likely supporting the ground segment.
The budget request also proposes $1 billion for what appears to be a new initiative called Resilient Missile Warning and Tracking, which Kendall said would fund development of the service’s long-term architecture. He didn’t provide many details about the effort, but said it would be part of a “proliferated, multi-orbit, disaggregated architecture” that’s more resilient to attack. The early development funding, if approved, will put the service on track to begin initial provisioning of this architecture within the next five years, Kendall noted.
Morrison said the other element of the department’s space-based missile defense architecture, the Space Development Agency Tracking Layer, is part of the Resilient Missile Warning and Missile Tracking funding line. She did not provide details on specific funding levels for SDA’s missile tracking capabilities, saying “the entire portfolio is currently being reviewed to determine how best to use resources.” .
Elsewhere in the budget, the service is asking for $1.6 billion to purchase six Space Force and SDA launches and is proposing a $406 million increase for the Evolved Strategic Satellite Communications program — significant growth over the last year’s $160 million claim. ESS will succeed the Advanced Extremely High Frequency Satellite program to provide secure, survivable and anti-jamming communications.
The request also adds $108 million for Deep Space Advanced Radar Capability, a rapid acquisition program that will provide all-weather space domain awareness in GEO. FY2023 funding, if approved, would support the establishment of the first DARC site as well as radar prototyping. In February, Space Force awarded Northrop another $341 million transaction deal for the program’s first augmentation.
Courtney Albon is C4ISRNET’s Space and Emerging Technologies Journalist. She previously covered the US Air Force and US Space Force for Inside Defense.