Pentagon seeks $10.6 billion to fund SDA, despite criticism

 

Though US Dept. of Defense’s space agency has not received much support from within the country and is also facing international criticism, it is seeking large increase in budget to deploy 1200 satellites. To meet this target Pentagon has requested for $11 billion for the US Space Development Agency that can be allotted over next five years. The SDA established this March was announced by former US Defense Secy. Patrick Shanahan as a response to continuous action by peer competitors Russia and China that may try to later deny or degrade US space capabilities.

The agency which has no connection with the proposed Space Force of President Trump it recently received $150 million for starting operations as per official documents filed in Sept. Pentagon has asked for a modest budget to increase its starting fund to $259 million for financial year 2021.

In forthcoming years the officials for SDA want to increase the budget to $1.1 billion by 2022 followed by $1.9 billion in 2023, $3.67 billion in 2024. The request for increase is likely to taper off by 2025 as the Defense Dept. has asked for $3.68 billion for that year. The agency stated that these funds will be used to build and launch its “notional space architecture” and a constellation with six layers consisting of hundreds of satellites that will be designed to keep an eye on Russian and Chinese hypersonic weapons. It is unclear how this budget will be cleared as since its formation there have been drastic changes in its leadership and it has been the subject of criticism in the past seven months. Representatives of House Armed Services Committee sent a letter to SDA in July that “apparent change of direction” in the agency’s policies has led to their denial of funds worth $15 million for the agency as requested by Pentagon. Though it has received criticism from several quarters its spokesperson Jennifer Elzea stated that the agency is committed to its goals.

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