The House Armed Services Committee’s strategic forces panel on Wednesday reduced the President’s $9.9 billion request for national security space programs in Fiscal 2011 by $182.2 million during its markup of the defense authorization bill. The biggest loser was the NPOESS weather satellite program, down $300 million to just $52 million. “This cut stems from the lack of a clear strategy for restructuring the weather program,” said Rep. James Langevin (D-R.I.), panel chairman. The panel also reduced space based surveillance system funding by $30 million. On the plus side, it added $50 million to transition technology from the now-defunct TSAT program to other communication satellites, boosted operationally responsive space accounts by $40 million, and provided $28 million for a common upper stage for Atlas and Delta launch vehicles. On the missile defense side, it increased Airborne Laser Test Bed funding by $50 million. (Langevin statement)
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.