United States Government Space Budget

U.S. National Security Space Budgets

2011 – U.S. National Security Space Budgets – Snapshot

Military space spending is significant but difficult to quantify because most nations do not publish budget and program information about space-related national security and intelligence activity. Additionally, space capabilities have become an integral part of modern warfare, and space programs therefore often receive supportive funding from secondary sources not clearly defined as space-related. Also, many missions labeled primarily as civil assets serve dual-purpose military objectives. For all of these reasons, the estimation of military space spending is uncertain.

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2009 – U.S. National Security Space Budgets – Snapshot

Estimating worldwide government spending on military space activities is difficult because in most cases defense budgets are not fully, or even partially, transparent. The opaque nature of defense programs is complicated by the fact that many space products and applications have dual civilian and military uses, so the funding sources may be mixed between civil and military budgets. However, it is possible to estimate non-US military space spending in the aggregate based on observed trends in national programs and priorities. In 2008, it was estimated that ##% of the worldwide government spending on defense-related space programs occurred in the United States. Estimated U.S. defense space spending in 2009 totaled $## billion, meaning that worldwide military space spending in 2009, excluding the United States, can be estimated at $## billion.

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2008 – U.S. National Security Space Budgets – Snapshot

As noted, DoD spending represents a majority of U.S. government space funding, yet there is limited clarity regarding what is included in this funding overall or how the funds are broken down between the individual military services. As a result, the Defense Appropriations bill passed by Congress for FY 2008 called on the Pentagon to develop a Major Force Program (MFP) budget category to aggregate space spending in a single budget line, including not only equipment and services procurement, but also research and technology development programs. The FY 2009 budget request submitted to Congress identified $## billion as related to major joint space-based programs, including Space-Based Infrared Systems, communications satellites, GPS satellites, environmental satellites, Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellites, and related launch vehicles.

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2007 – U.S. National Security Space Budgets

The most recent available estimate of annual DoD space spending continues to be the $## billion estimate released by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) in 2006. Intelligence agencies and MDA are organizationally tied to the DoD; however, their budgets are not included in the DoD space spending estimate. The CRS estimate uses the virtual major force program (vMFP), a budgetary mechanism for grouping space expenditures, as the source for U.S. DoD space budget expenditures.

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2005 – U.S. National Security Space Budgets

Determining the DoD’s space budget is more complex. This report includes budget figures drawn from the DoD’s virtual space major force program (vMFP). In DoD usage, a major force program is a “budgeting mechanism that aggregates related budget items into a single program to track program resources independent of the appropriation process and contains the resources needed to achieve an objective or plan.” There is no major force program for space funding, and, as a result, one of the recommendations of the Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization (Space Commission) in 2001 was to create such a space major force program. Rather than create an entirely new, separate major force program just for space, DoD elected to create a “virtual” major force program that would draw space-related budgetary data from the pre-existing major force programs.

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