Investing in the Future of Space

Leading members of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s strategic forces panel said Wednesday they were concerned about the future of space-related science and technology investment. For example, the Pentagon’s Fiscal 2013 budget request terminates the Air Force’s Space Test Program that has played an important role in the Pentagon’s space research activities since the mid 1960s, they said. “I wish we could spend more money on [science and technology],” responded Air Force Space Command boss Gen. William Shelton during the oversight hearing. “I truly do, but the Budget Control Act called for reductions and that’s one of the places we felt we could take reductions.” However, Shelton said there is still plenty of money allocated in Fiscal 2013 for this purpose. This includes $242 million in the Air Force Research Lab’s budget, $160 million in DARPA’s budget, $27 million in the Navy’s budget, and $22 million in the Army’s budget, said Pentagon officials at the hearing. “We meet every year with AFRL leadership to establish 174 technology needs across the enterprise. We do the same thing with DARPA, so we get a voice in how that money is spent,” said Shelton. (Shelton’s prepared testimony)