DoD, Air Force Spending Legislation Moves Forward
On Sept. 16, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee passed its FY 2011 Defense Appropriations bill, S. 3800, which added $44.4 million to the Department of Defense (DoD) 's $94 million request for the Operationally Responsive Space Office to fund responsive space launch capabilities.
The bill zeroed out the Air Force's $325.5 million request for National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite (NPOESS) and provided $50 million to continue development of unique sensors for DoD weather satellites. In August, the DoD had approved plans for the Air Force to move forward with a new $5 billion weather satellite development program to replace NPOESS. In the Senate Defense Appropriations Report, the Committee stated it was premature for the DoD to set up a large program office to begin building the next defense weather satellite system, saying that there are more cost-effective ways for the DoD to use the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA)'s significant investment in the NPOESS program.
The bill has been placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar and is awaiting action from the full Senate. If the bill passes the full Senate, it will have to be reconciled with the House version before the President can sign it into law. The House version has been passed out of the Defense Subcommittee and is awaiting action by the full House Appropriations Committee.