In the proposed budget request for the fiscal year 2024, President Biden has allocated $30 billion to the U.S. Space Force under the Department of Defense. Space Force, marking the largest funding request to date for the military space branch. The increase in funding is primarily for the development and procurement of missile-warning satellites and launch services, with the aim of securing the use of space in the face of increasing threats to U.S. national security space systems.
What Does the Budget Include?
The proposed Budget Request includes $19.2 billion for research and development, $4.7 billion for procurement, $4.9 billion for operations and maintenance, and $1.2 billion for military personnel. The biggest increase is in the research and development category, with funding for low and medium-orbit missile-tracking satellites nearly doubling from $1.2 billion in 2023 to $2.3 billion in 2024.
The Space Force’s budget request also reflects a transition to a more diversified satellite architecture. To stay ahead of the threat, the military branch plans to use smaller and cheaper satellites that can be built faster than traditional large satellites. The shift toward more affordable and resilient architecture is due in part to the commercial industry’s trend toward less expensive designs.
“It’s All about Launch”
The Space Force’s Budget Request has been steadily increasing since it was established three years ago. Its first budget in the fiscal year 2021 was $15.3 billion, growing to $18 billion in 2022 and jumping to $26.3 billion in 2023. The proposed $30 billion budget request for 2024 reflects the military branch’s commitment to advancing next-generation capabilities and staying ahead of potential threats, particularly from China’s military modernization program.
As Major General Michael Greiner, deputy assistant secretary for budget, stated, “this year it’s all about launch.” The budget proposal includes $2.6 billion for launch services for 15 missions, with a focus on the National Security Space Launch and the Space Development Agency’s low Earth orbit data relay constellation.
One Step Ahead of Potential Threats
Overall, the proposed budget reflects the Space Force’s ongoing efforts to modernize and diversify its capabilities, as well as its commitment to staying ahead of potential threats in the rapidly evolving space domain.