WASHINGTON - Led by Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL) and Ranking Member Jim Cooper (D-TN), the Committee on Armed Services Subcommittee for Strategic Forces today released its proposals for the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The Subcommittee will meet at 10:30 AM on Thursday, June 22nd, in Rayburn 2118. The markup will be live streamed on the committee’s website. The Subcommittee’s mark is available here.
In releasing their mark, Mr. Rogers and Mr. Cooper said, “There is bipartisan acknowledgement that the strategic advantages we derive from our national security space systems are eroding. Not only are there developments by adversaries, but we are imposing upon the national security space enterprise a crippling organizational and management structure and an acquisition system that has led to delays and cost-overruns." They continued, "We are convinced that the Department of Defense is unable to take the measures necessary to address these challenges effectively and decisively, or even recognize the nature and scale of its problems. Thus, Congress has to step in. The adversary will continue to build capabilities to hold our space assets at risk. For that reason, we must act now to fix national security space and put in place a foundation for defending space as a critical element of national security. Therefore, our Mark will require the creation, under the Secretary of the Air Force, of a new Space Corps, as a separate military service responsible for national security space programs for which the Air Force is today responsible. We view this as a first, but critical step, to fixing the National Security Space enterprise."
The Strategic Forces mark proposal authorizes space, nuclear, and missile defense capabilities that protect national security. Specifically, the proposal:
Reform and Reorganization of National Security Space
- Reorganizes the national security space enterprise to ensure prioritization of the space domain by creating a U.S. Space Corps as a separate military service within the Department of the Air Force and under the civilian leadership of the Secretary of the Air Force;
- Establishes U.S. Space Command as a new sub-unified command within U.S. Strategic Command, elevating the space mission to a four-star command and improving the integration of space forces.
National Security Space
- Prohibits the Secretary of Defense from entering into any contracts for satellites services that pose a cybersecurity risk, or whereby such services are provided by satellites launched from certain foreign countries or launched using launch vehicles designed or manufactured by certain foreign countries;
- Requires development and implementation of a plan to enhance the resilience of positioning, navigation and timing capacity, including measures to add the capability to receive signals from the European Galileo and Japanese QZSS satellites;
- Establishes an annual “Space Flag” training event, modeled after the Air Force’s Red Flag training event, for space professionals to improve upon, exercise, and develop concepts of operations in, from, and through the space domain.
- Creates strong oversight processes to ensure the nation’s nuclear command, control, and communications system remains robust and secure during ongoing recapitalization efforts;
- Provides a mechanism to ensure that the U.S. Air Force pursues a command and control concept for its ground-based strategic deterrent program that meets combatant commander requirements while maintaining competition;
- Authorizes the full budget request funding level for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) nuclear weapons activities and defense nuclear nonproliferation program, including critical efforts to modernize the nuclear weapons stockpile;
- Requires an independent assessment of whether the contracts for the management and operation of the NNSA national laboratories should be for-profit or not-for-profit prior to awarding a new contract;
- Recommends to the Chairman funding for defense environmental clean-up programs.
- Requires the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) Director to begin the development of a space-based sensor layer for ballistic missile defense, and submit certain information on such development, including cost;
- Continues the committee’s commitment to ensuring the Aegis Ashore sites in Romania and Poland are equipped with organic anti-air warfare capabilities by requiring such capabilities are deployed in Romania within one year and at Poland within one year after the site is declared operational;
- Requires the Secretary of Defense to transfer acquisition authority for operational missile defense and missile defeat programs from the MDA Director to a military department by time the President’s budget is submitted for fiscal year 2020;
- Prevents the Army from retiring GEM-T interceptors from its inventory until the Secretary of the Army submits an evaluation of the Army’s ability to meet warfighter requirements and operational needs without GEM-T interceptors;
- Recommends to the Chairman authorizing funding to procure an additional 24 THAAD interceptors and 147 PAC-3 MSE missiles above the President’s Budget Request in order to meet inventory levels indicated in the unfunded priorities list;
- Recommends to the Chairman providing Israel the resources it has requested, approximately $705 million, for co-production, including in the United States, and co-development of Israeli missile defense systems, including Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and Arrow;
- Gives the U.S. Army until April of 2018 to develop a modernization schedule that acceptably meets warfighter requirements for a replacement to the legacy Patriot air and missile defense radar system or have acquisition program transferred to the Missile Defense Agency.