Congress Squints at NPOESS Woes: The new weather satellite is $3 billion over budget and probably three years late, NOAA and USAF tell lawmakers. We reported a Nunn-McCurdy breach by the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite earlier (DR 09/29/05). At last week’s House Science Committee hearing on the program, panel chairman Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.) said Congress has been deprived of “clear, accurate, and timely information” on the program. Boehlert cited NOAA specifically for not being “forthright.” Undersecretary of the Air Force Ronald Sega told the panel that an OSD analysis would be done in December, but he said that technical problems had delayed “too much work,” making it impossible to maintain the current schedule. Boehlert’s closing comments put a cap on unilateral actions: “This committee expects, perhaps I should say ‘demands’ full information” on options to fix NPOESS “before a final decision is made.”
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.