Budgeting for Space

The Pentagon’s Fiscal 2012 budget proposal—slated for release next week—will represent a “concrete manifestation” of the recently renewed US space priorities outlined in the first-of-its-kind National Security Space Strategy, said Deputy Defense Secretary Bill Lynn. Specifically, the Air Force has added more money to the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program in the hopes of securing a more stable buy and ensuring “we have an industrial base that preserves our access to space,” he said during a briefing following the strategy’s release last week. The Defense Department also will roll out its new approach to space acquisition with the budget request. Dubbed evolutionary acquisition for space efficiency, or EASE, it consists of three elements: block buys, fixed-price contracts, and a stable, sustainable engineering line “so that you can introduce technology refresh on a regular pace,” said Lynn. NSSS focuses on protecting the military’s existing capabilities, reducing space clutter, and building partnerships with allied nations. (Lynn-Schulte transcript) (For more on NSSS, see Space Strategy Encourages New Thinking)