HASC Denies Pentagon Request to Reprogram $15M for New Space Development Agency

HASC Denies Pentagon Request to Reprogram $15M for New Space Development Agency

The Pentagon has been denied a reprogramming request to allocate $15 million to the Space Development Agency (SDA) in fiscal 2019 by the chairman and ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, Space News reports.

Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Ranking Member Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) wrote current Pentagon Comptroller David Norquist on July 3 informing him of the decision stemming from concerns about leadership uncertainty at the new agency and the direction of its mission, according to the report.

The decision, based on a review of Pentagon reprogramming requests that included approximately $518 million over several fiscal years, has brought additional uncertainty to the agency, the report said. The denied funding has temporarily stalled agency activities, which included hosting an industry day event later this month to discuss upcoming projects with interested contractors.

Fiscal year 2020 starts Oct. 1 and it remains unclear if spending deal will be reached that would return needed funding to continue building out the agency.

Former acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan, who was a champion of the agency, ordered SDA’s creation in March with its operations placed under the office of the DOD undersecretary for Research and Engineering rather than the Air Force. However, the agency’s future has become further clouded by Shanahan’s abrupt resignation in June, National Defense Magazine reported.

President Donald Trump’s fiscal year 2020 budget request seeks $150 million for the SDA, but the organizational and personnel shakeups have caused HASC leadership to balk at allocating significant funding, according to the report.

“Due to this abrupt change in direction and confusion with regard to the SDA, the request for $15 million is denied,” the committee leaders concluded in their July 3 letter.

Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Andrew Satran

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