DoD Buzz

A warning on prompt global strike

The White House is warning Congress that language in this year's House defense bill could impinge upon its ability to go forward with developing its "prompt global strike" weapons -- the suite of missiles and other equipment that DoD wants to be able to kill anyone or destroy anything on very short notice. Other military space projects also could be affected, write AvWeek's Michael Bruno and Jen DiMascio.

The noose is slowly beginning to tighten on defense spending, and as we saw last week in the cautions from rocket-builder Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, it appears that space and space companies are among the first to feel a real squeeze. Their counter-arguments are familiar: Space is important; we cut it at our peril; we'll lose talented engineers and have to start buying equipment from overseas -- or do without it altogether.

In this case, as Bruno and DiMascio wrote:

Industry boosters also sounded alarm June 23 over effects to military space programs under the [House Appropriations Committee] legislation. "We understand the need for belt-tightening in today's economic climate," Aerospace Industries Association CEO Marion Blakey says. "However, we are deeply concerned that the cuts to national security space go too far."

AIA says the bill's reductions for space, not including classified programs, total nearly $600 million off the administration's $10.2 billion request for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.

Besides fully funding the request, AIA called on lawmakers to fully back the Pentagon's new Evolutionary Acquisition for Space Efficiency purchasing model

Here's another reason why this is interesting -- the idea for prompt global strike has been around for years, but on the periphery when compared to some of the Pentagon's other big programs and projects. We know the incoming secretary of defense, Leon Panetta, supports it, even as the administration is warning it could be trimmed back in the House's version of the bill. So the question is, how much will Panetta, arriving this week as the new ruler of the Puzzle Palace, fight to protect these global strike weapons?


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