The Space Force is given its first separate budget by the Omnibus spending bill

Congress’ unprecedented $2.3 trillion spending package approved for the fiscal year 2021 provides the Defense Department with $696 billion, including $15.2 billion for the United States Space Force.  The bill was passed on December 21 in the Senate and House and is pending President Trump’s signature. It’s the first bill on military appropriations that include different budget lines for maintenance and operation of the Space Force, acquisition as well as RDT&E (research, development, testing and evaluation). 

The Space Force military as well as civilian staff support from the Space Force, continues in the United States Budget for the Air Force. Underneath the Department of the Air Force, the Space Force is a separate and independent agency. For every program line, that can be a “bureaucratic nightmare,” the Air Force had to move funds from Air Force to Space Force, stated Todd Harrison, a military budget analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

He stated that the Space Force was yet to ask for a different budget for army members. “In total, therefore, Department of Defense got what it requested in FY21 in order to create separate bank accounts for the financing of the Space Force,” Harrison informed SpaceNews. Via September 30, 2021, the budget bill finances the federal government. Support for the Space Force provides $2.4 billion for operations and servicing, $2.3 billion for acquisition, as well as RDT&E $10.5 billion. According to the Pentagon’s budget proposal, Congress marginally decreased Space Force acquisition from $2.4 billion to $2.3 billion but raised RDT&E from $10.3 billion to around $10.5 billion.

In the National Security Space Launch program, Congress cut the contract budget from $1.04 billion to about $996 million. According to Congressional rationale records, the cut was made based on projected ‘contract savings’ that were made in the NSSL Step 2 launch services procurement.

The National Security Space Launch RDT&E component was reduced from $560 million to about $550 million. Congress deducted $100 million, funds the Air Force no longer needs to pay Northrop Grumman as well as Blue Origin for the termination of the Launch Operation Arrangement contracts. But policymakers have added $90 million to support new projects, $15 million for next-generation engine testing plus $75 million for upgrades in upper-stage resilience. For “tactically responsive launch,” a project in which the Pentagon did not seek any funds, Congress also added $15 million.

In the financial year 2021, the $2.3 trillion programs have $1.4 trillion to finance the government plus $900 billion for COVID-19 aid. The coronavirus bill expands the so-called Section 3610 authorization Congress approved in March to March 2021, allowing the Pentagon to compensate contractors for epidemic-related costs and pay firms for work which is behind schedule as a result of the pandemic.

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