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The Space Force is asking for a small piece of the Pentagon’s war chest

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is requesting about as much money for overseas operations in the coming fiscal year as in this one, but there is at least one noteworthy new twist: the first-ever Space Force request for war funds.

Officials say the $77 million request is needed by Oct. 1 not for space warfare but to enable military personnel to keep operating and protecting key satellites.

Maj. Gen. John Pletcher, a top budget official in the Air Force, under which the nascent Space Force falls, told reporters this week the money is needed to pay for three missions.

One is counter-space operations, which means systems and tactics for defending satellites from adversary efforts to disable them. The second is satellite communications in support of military operations abroad. The third is operating and maintaining missile-warning satellites like the ones that reportedly detected an Iranian missile attack last month on bases where U.S. troops were deployed in Iraq.

The $77 million request in “overseas contingency operations” money is a small part of the $740.5 billion national defense budget request for fiscal 2021 and is tucked away in the $15.4 billion piece of it slated for Space Force, almost all of which previously went to the Air Force.

The funding illustrates key facts about the defense budget and modern warfare.

First, the $77 million Space Force war money would be for what Pentagon officials call “enduring requirements,” which signifies activities happening either overseas or in the United States that would likely occur whether or not U.S. troops were deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria or any of several African countries.

All told, 70% of the Pentagon’s fiscal 2021 war request of $69 billion is either not for war at all or it is for activities only tangentially related to combat, according to budget documents released this week.

Fully $32.5 billion of the …read more

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