Staff Sgt. David Diehl II, 436th Communications Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of wing cybersecurity, displays his new United States Space Force tapes and service branch patch at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Feb. 12, 2021.

Staff Sgt. David Diehl II, 436th Communications Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of wing cybersecurity, displays his new United States Space Force tapes and service branch patch at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Feb. 12, 2021. Mauricio Campino / U.S. Air Force

US Space Force Seeks 2,020 Civilian Acquisition Staff in 2022

$17.4 billion request includes two GPS satellites, five launch vehicles.

The Defense Department is requesting $17.4 billion for the U.S. Space Force in 2022, up from the $15.2 billion it received in the current budget year, or roughly a 7 percent increase after inflation.

In the request, Space Force is seeking $3.4 billion for operations and maintenance, up from $2.6 billion; $2.8 billion for procurement, up from $2.3 billion; and $11.3 billion for research, development, test, and evaluation, up from $10.5 billion.

The request includes $1.4 billion for two GPS III Follow-on satellites that have new spot beam anti-jam capabilities, and it requests funding for five National Security Space Launch vehicles. 

In the 2022 request, Space Force seeks to grow its active duty end strength from 6,434 in 2021 to 8,400 Guardians. The larger number would include 2,020 civilian positions for space acquisition. Congress has repeatedly pressed the Space Force to build up its acquisition workforce and speed the delivery of new systems. 

The RDT&E budget also seeks $2.451 billion for Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared missile warning system, which is meant to replace the Space Based Infrared Systems and reshape missile warning and missile defense to provide better protection for overhead satellites. 

“The evolution of threats to on-orbit systems force[s] us to rethink how we both protect and defend our strategic assets, and how future strategic capabilities should be designed to mitigate threats,” Space Force officials said in its 2022 budget documents. The increase for Next-Gen/OPIR is also intended to keep the program on track for the first launch in 2028. 

The budget request also includes $43.2 million to create a Space Warfighting Analysis Center to support new wargaming and modeling. 

Space Force benefitted from the department’s emphasis on new technology across all services to stay ahead of what it sees as significant capability increases by China. 

“This budget stays true to our focus on matching the pacing challenge we see from the People's Republic of China,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told lawmakers Thursday at a House subcommittee hearing. 

At the same hearing, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said, “They are not our peer or near peer just yet, but they are rapidly growing and their objective is by probably the mid 2030s, for sure by midcentury to be equal to or greater than the United States militarily …  They are advancing rapidly in space, cyber in maritime, both surface and subsurface, and in air and ground. So they are a very, very significant competitor to the United States, but they are not yet our equal, but their intent is to be our equal.”

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