WASHINGTON — U.S. Space Command sent Congress a $74 million unfunded requirements aimed at positioning the command to better monitor and defend the space domain.
The funding would support three projects at the National Space Defense Center, which falls under SPACECOM’s Joint Task Force-Space Defense and brings together space domain awareness information from the intelligence community, the Department of Defense and commercial companies. NSDC also provides command and control support for the Space Force’s Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program.
“Russia and China continue to invest in, demonstrate and field counter-space capabilities designed to directly challenge our position as the premier spacefaring nation,” SPACECOM Commander Gen. James Dickinson told lawmakers in an April 4 letter obtained by Defense News. “The command’s priorities for FY23 outlined below enhance our existing abilities to directly monitor the space domain and defend our nation’s vital assets.”
The unfunded requirements letter, which outlines money the command needs beyond what was in DoD’s fiscal 2023 budget request, was first reported by Inside Defense.
The largest ask is for nearly $37 million to fund the integration of new capabilities into NSDC’s C2 architecture, around-the-clock communications support and needed sustainment for threat assessment. The funding would provide supporting capability while the Space Force matures a new C2 Delta designed to support NSDC’s mission.
“USSF current planning requires a period of maturation to reach initial, and then full, operational capability,” the letter states. “USSPACECOM requires additional resourcing to fund shortfalls in USSF supporting capability during this growth period.”
Also on the list is $28.6 million for its new Consolidated Space Operations Facility (CSOF), which will house operators monitoring and troubleshooting potential threats in space. The construction of the building is funded, but the additional money would pay for IT and security equipment as well as furniture.
SPACECOM is also asking for $8.5 million in operations and maintenance funding to renovate existing space for use as an interim NSDC facility, noting that the center has outgrown the temporary building housed at Schriever Space Force Base, Colo.
“Funding renovation of additional spaces will provide NSDC the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility and Special Access Program spaces required to house additional personnel already programmed into the FY23 budget, thereby reducing risk to current and future operations until the CSOF is complete,” the letter states.
Once the NSDC interim space is no longer needed, the SCIFs can support future Space Force needs, the letter notes.
Courtney Albon is C4ISRNET’s space and emerging technology reporter. She has covered the U.S. military since 2012, with a focus on the Air Force and Space Force. She has reported on some of the Defense Department’s most significant acquisition, budget and policy challenges.