Space Command asks Congress for $ 67 million to reach full operational capacity

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$26.8 million of that funding is set aside for achieving full operational capability, something that Gen. James Dickinson says the command has been unable to achieve since being stood up in 2019. The FY21 budget was the first to include federal appropriations for SPACECOM, allowing it to begin building the staff, facilities and technology needed to fulfill its mission. “However, the command has not yet received the necessary fiscal support to overcome prior year shortfalls,” Dickinson told lawmakers. “This forces U.S. Space Command to push unfunded requirements into future years which further delays reaching FOC [Full Operational Capability] and jeopardizes our ability to outpace the threats posed by our determined adversaries.”

The $26.8 million will enable SPACECOM to establish a Military Information Support Operations capability, obtain operations and planning software, buy and integrate modeling and simulation tools, incorporate artificial intelligence systems and integrate Federally Funded Research and Development Center expertise.

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The final ask on the unfunded priority list is $10 million to demonstrate a Joint Space Rapid Experimentation and Demonstration pilot program, which the general said will accelerate technology demonstrations and rapid prototyping while leveraging non-traditional vendors. The general is also asking for $30.2 million, largely to shore up the command’s space domain awareness capabilities. The funding will allow SPACECOM to move to 24/7 space domain awareness operations and integrate commercial capabilities until the U.S. Space Force delivers a program of record. The money will also provide engineering expertise to add new capabilities.

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