Realizing Savings in Space

The Air Force expects to save more than $1 billion in its Advanced Extremely High Frequency military communications satellite program and more than $500 million in its Space Based Infrared System early warning satellite program, said Acting Undersecretary Jamie Morin on Monday. The service attributes those savings to the Efficient Space Procurement strategy, formerly known as Evolutionary Acquisition for Space Efficiency, that’s meant to stabilize space procurement by buying two satellites of each type at a time. Funding for the most recent batches of these satellites, which first appeared in the Air Force’s Fiscal 2013 budget request, will be spread out through Fiscal 2017, eliminating the huge spike in funding the space budget otherwise would have had to absorb. In Fiscal 2014, the Air Force has requested $653 million in total for AEHF research and development and procurement, and $964 million for SBIRS. “The savings were redirected within the context of the Fiscal 2014 President’s budget,” said Morin during an April 15 briefing with reporters. “We programmatically took dollars out of those programs reflecting our reduced cost estimates based on contract negotiations and we reapplied them elsewhere in the Air Force budget.” Morin said he does not believe sequestration will impact the satellites’ multiyear contracts, but said it could prevent the Air Force from expanding ESP to other space programs. “It’s hard to say yet,” he said. (See also Breaking the Space Status Quo from Air Force Magazine’s January issue.)