Space Development Agency a ‘casualty’ of budget gridlock
The future of the Space Development Agency is absolutely necessary to delivering persistent, global space capabilities in an affordable and timely manner, according to U.S. Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Mike Griffin. However, the ongoing budget gridlock puts the future of the fledgling agency at risk.
“Continuing resolutions, budget battles of any kind, are an enormous problem for the national security community,” said Griffin. “When the things we think we need to do are delayed or prevented by budget battles in Congress and continuing resolutions, it slows us down and in some cases prevents us from doing things that we earnestly believe we need to do. The Space Development Agency is one of, but by no means the only, casualty of our current situation.”
Griffin says he sees bipartisan agreement in Congress that the United States needs to reform its space architecture. But for now, the SDA is waiting for Congress to allocate them the funding needed to pursue the projects on its agenda, he said.
“I don’t know if we will ever get a budget,” said Griffin. “We will cope as best we can.”
Griffin oversaw the establishment of the SDA as a way to build the future national security space architectures while avoiding the conventional acquisition system, which was operating at too slow a pace to meet the military’s needs.
“Our government acquisition timelines tend toward the 15-year mark on average, from statement of need to operational capabilities. Our adversaries are using three- and four-year timelines consistent with what we used to be able to do,” said Griffin.
Know all the coolest acronyms Sign up for the C4ISRNET newsletter about future battlefield technologies.
Thanks for signing up!
Sign up for the C4ISRNET newsletter about future battlefield technologies.
By giving us your email, you are opting in to the C4ISRNET Daily Brief.
As an example, Griffin pointed to the F-117A stealth fighter, where there was only a 32-month stretch between signing a contract and getting an operational plane on the runway.
“If we can’t relearn how to do what we once knew how to do better than any other society, we will not prevail,” said Griffin. “So the Space Development Agency was created in the DoD to work outside the existing acquisition system to work with commercial space, to work with the purveyors of new architectures that will be more proliferated, more resilient and above all else, more timely in their application.”
For Griffin, the SDA was established to solve two overwhelming needs for the military: guaranteed communications and the ability to detect and track hypersonic weapons.
The SDA is currently looking to provide that first need through a layer of 70 satellites in low-Earth orbit. That large constellation provides resiliency through numbers, explained Griffin, and prevents a Pearl Harbor-type strike that could knock out all of the U.S. military’s guaranteed communications capabilities in a single blow. While the DoD will continue to purchase significant amounts of time on commercial communications satellites, that need for a resilient, guaranteed communications capability is unlikely to be provided commercially, he added.
Griffin also sees the SDA providing a LEO solution to detecting and tracking hypersonic weapons, which are much dimmer than the conventional ballistic missiles the Air Force’s current missile detection architecture was designed to handle. According to Griffin, the hypersonic challenge can be met in two ways: placing sensors closer to the missiles themselves (i.e., placing the sensors in LEO instead of geostationary orbit) or by putting even stronger sensors in GEO. In cooperation with the Missile Defense Agency, the SDA is taking the former approach.
“This will give us the persistent, global, low-latency surveillance, tracking, targeting and fire control we have to have to meet these new threats,” said Griffin. “If we take as our paradigm that this is going to be government business as usual, then I don’t know what the outcome will be, but … I can guarantee what the outcome won’t be: The outcome won’t be affordable and it won’t be timely.”
Amid budget uncertainty, US Army may seek funding override for virtual training program ORLANDO, Fla. — If Congress does not approve the fiscal 2020 budget by the end of December, the Army may seek an exemption that would allow its … read more
Can a middle-class budget buy a new American car? Probably not Americans were paying about 38% more for a new car or truck over the summer than they were just 10 years ago. The average transaction price for some popular … read more
NATO Offers Trump a Budget Bonbon as Summit Nears BRUSSELS — In another gesture to President Trump, NATO announced on Thursday that it had agreed to reduce the United States’ contribution to the alliance’s relatively small central budget, a move … read more
UK parties not credible on budget promises to voters: IFS By William Schomberg LONDON (Reuters) – Neither of Britain’s two main political parties are going into next month’s election with credible tax and spending plans, a leading think tank said … read more
White House budget office formally held Ukraine aid on same day as Trump-Zelenskiy call – AOL The White House Office of Management and Budget made its first official move to withhold military aid to Ukraine on July 25, the same … read more
White House Budget Official Raised Legal Concerns About Ukraine Aid Freeze – The Wall Street Journal WASHINGTON—A top White House budget official tasked with freezing security aid to Ukraine raised legal concerns about the hold before another official assumed responsibility … read more
Two budget staffers resigned after voicing concerns about halted Ukraine aid, official says | TheHill – The Hill Two staffers for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) resigned after expressing frustrations about a hold on military assistance to Ukraine … read more
White House budget office attorney resigned in part over Ukraine aid hold: official WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An attorney for the White House’s budget office resigned in part because of concerns over the hold on U.S. military aid to Ukraine, an … read more
UK budget deficit hits five-year high, before election give-aways UK budget deficit hits five-year high, before election give-aways By David Milliken and William Schomberg LONDON (Reuters) – Britain ran a much bigger budget deficit last month than expected, showing how … read more
LONDON — European budget airline easyJet says it will become the first major carrier to operate net-zero-carbon flights, offsetting carbon emissions from the fuel used on every flight. The company says Tuesday it will offset the carbon “by investing in … read more
Why Elizabeth Warren Wants To Slash the Pentagon’s Budget Giselle Donnelly Politics, An $800 billion decision. While candidate Elizabeth Warren’s plan to pay for her “Medicare for All” proposal has drawn critiques from almost every quarter, including from her rivals … read more
White House budget official breaks ranks and testifies – CBS News Longtime White House budget employee Mark Sandy appeared in a closed hearing on Saturday before the House committees conducting the impeachment inquiry, making him the first official from the … read more
Impeachment Investigators Question Budget Official About Withheld Aid ImageOther witnesses with significant roles in American diplomacy toward Ukraine have testified that the aid was delayed as part of a broad pressure campaign. Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times WASHINGTON — House … read more
White House budget official to testify in impeachment probe on Saturday The dome of the U.S. Capitol Building is seen as the sun sets on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 26, 2019. REUTERS/Erin Scott WASHINGTON (Reuters) – White House … read more
White House budget official who could prove key impeachment witness to testify Saturday WASHINGTON — The highest-ranking civil servant at the White House budget office is expected to appear before the congressional impeachment panel on Saturday, providing testimony that could … read more
Stars Making Budget Buys Look Just As Good As Designer Wear: Sofia Richie, Selena Gomez & More There are few things more exciting than seeing celebs in stylish, affordable outfits & we rounded up all of the stars who rocked … read more
SecDef: Expect ‘Trimming, Reducing, Some Eliminations’ in 2021 Budget Esper touts “good progress” in high-level review intended to cut fat and find funds for projects to counter China and Russia. NEW YORK — Pentagon officials are “making good progress” in … read more
Australia’s Futuristic Submarine Could Be A Real Budget Buster Andrew Davies, Marcus Hellyer Security, Asia Pacific Even if we don’t know yet how much it will cost. We’ve known for a while that SEA 1000, the Defence Department’s future submarine … read more
How a CR would hurt; USAF budget preview; War-ready F-35s; and more… Hello from Defense One’s Outlook 2020, our annual future-looking discussion of global threats, industry trends, advanced technology, national-security policy and more. I moderated the opening panel, which was ostensibly … read more
Chicago Public Schools to plug new budget hole with one-time measures CHICAGO (Reuters) – The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) said on Tuesday it would use $134 million in one-time revenue and savings to cover additional spending in its current budget … read more
Federal Budget Deficit Swelled to Nearly $1 Trillion in 2019 The United States federal budget deficit jumped 26 percent in fiscal 2019 to $984 billon, reaching the highest level in seven years as the government was forced to borrow more … read more
Fun Homemade Halloween Costumes On A Budget A very game-accurate Lara Croft costume by beebinch. It’s almost Halloween, which means it’s time to plan a costume, buy some candy, eat all of the candy, and realize you’ll need to buy … read more