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Satnews Daily
October 23rd, 2017

Lack of Funding Warning for SBIRS from U.S. House Armed Services Committee Thornberry

According to the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), in the committee's online publication Defense Drumbeat, damage to the nation's military is what is occurring every day we [the nation] live under with a continuing resolution.

The problem, according to the infosite, is the Space-Based Infrared Warning System (SBIRS), a constellation of satellites run by the U.S. Air Force, is a pillar of the Nation’s ability to gather intelligence on, identify, and track missile launches around the globe. The fact that North Korea has launched more than 20 missiles this year, in addition to the increasingly sophisticated Iranian missile program, highlights how important these satellites are to the nation's overall missile defense system. Although operational, the nation has yet to procure all of the planned satellites for the SBIRS system and complete the constellation.

Artistic rendition of an SBIRS satellite.
Image is courtesy of Lockheed Martin.

At the current funding levels under the CR (Continuing Resolution), the SBIRS program is under-funded by nearly a billion dollars and there is the risk a delay in the acquisition of the next two, crucial satellites. A portion of the program associated with ground modernization efforts remains entirely unfunded, as this is a new-start program for 2018, and under the CR, no new-start programs receive funding.

What we should be doing is to have the House-Passed NDAA fully to fund the SBIRS program — this would provide an additional $75 milllion above the President’s budget request to address emerging cyber threats and antenna upgrades that were included within the U.S. Air Force’s unfunded priorities list.

115th Congress