DOD space programs get budget boosts

Fiscal 2008 Defense Budget

Editor's note: This story was updated at 6:15 p.m. Feb. 5, 2007. Please go to Corrections & Clarifications to see what has changed.

The Pentagon significantly boosted the budgets of several space and satellite programs in its fiscal 2008 budget request, released today. Major space program funding was raised to $6 billion, a $1.2 billion increase above fiscal 2007, according to Defense Department budget documents.

The increases would benefit space-based command and control, navigation, strategic and tactical communications, and meteorological information gathering. Programs that would see the biggest increases are the Transformational Communications Satellite (TSAT) program, the Space Based Infrared System-High (SBIRS-H), and the next-generation Navstar Global Positioning Satellite system.

TSAT is DOD’s transformational program to provide worldwide communications based on IP packet switching and laser technologies. TSAT funding will increase 32 percent to $963.6 million in fiscal 2008 if President Bush’s request goes through unchanged. TSAT is meant to replace the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) and Milstar satellite systems.

Led by Lockheed Martin and Boeing, TSAT does not expect to launch its first satellite until fiscal 2014. Meanwhile, AEHF’s budget was cut $20 million in the request.

SBIRS-H, a four-satellite constellation meant to provide early warning of ballistic missile attacks, would receive $483 million in procurement funds, raising its total budget to a little more than $1 billion for 2008 from $669 million this year. The money would go for assembling the first two SBIRS satellites and advanced procurement for the SIBRS GEO-3 satellite. The first SIBRS-H launch is scheduled for 2009.

The Navstar GPS program is to field a network of 24 orbiting satellites to provide military navigation and positioning for aircraft, ships, tanks and weapons delivery systems. Under the budget, that program would receive $929.8 million in 2008, up from $586.6 million in 2007.

Navstar 's 2008 funding would go toward a mix of research and procurement, including development of the GPS III satellite variant, which DOD calls “the next generation in precision satellite navigation.”

However, not all space programs would get increased funding. The Air Force’s Wideband Gapfiller System suffered a 23 percent cut from its 2007 allotment. Space radar funding, which totaled $185.4 million in 2007, was zeroed out in this year’s request.

In total, DOD released three requests totaling $716.5 billion for operations and war funding in the next two years.

The total base budget request for fiscal 2008 is $481.4 billion, an 11 percent increase over fiscal 2007 levels. DOD is asking for $93.4 billion in emergency war funding for the remainder of fiscal 2007 and $141.7 billion for the global war on terror in fiscal 2008.

Of the military services, the Army fared best; it would receive $130.1 billion, a 19 percent increase over 2007. The Navy and Air Force received proposed increases of 8 percent and 6 percent, respectively.

The base budget is designed to “continue the development of capabilities that will maintain traditional U.S. superiority against potential threat,” according to a DOD press release. Thirty-eight percent of DOD’s fiscal 2008 base budget, $176.8 billion, is characterized as “strategic modernization.”

Breakdown of 2008 base budget request for DOD
  • Strategic modernization: $176.8 billion.
  • Readiness and support: $146.5 billion.
  • Military pay and health care: 137 billion.
  • Family housing and facilities: $21.1 billion.
  • Total 2008 base budget for Defense: $481.4 billion.


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