Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) at an armed services subcommittee hearing questioned Air Force officials about forthcoming “more bad news” on delays and overruns with both the Space Based Infrared System-High satellite program and the National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS). The Air Force Undersecretary acknowledged that both programs are examples of what led Air Force leadership to institute the block approach for space program development. (USAF already is restructuring the Transformational Satellite into blocks.) Ronald Sega noted both progress on SBIRS and on work toward a new “competitor capability” to parallel SBIRS, which avoided a new Nunn-McCurdy breach under the new rule that enabled USAF to revise its baseline estimate, per the latest Selected Acquisition Report to Congress. NPOESS has been put on the latest breach list, and the Pentagon attributes its more than 25 percent rise in costs to “technical challenges.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.