Shelton: Sequestration Destroying Military Space Program

Launch of Delta IV NROL-65, August 28, 2013 from Vandenberg Air Force Base. (Credit: ULA)
Launch of Delta IV NROL-65, August 28, 2013 from Vandenberg Air Force Base. (Credit: ULA)

With the budget fight heating up in Washington, the threat of a government shutdown looming, and Congressional Republicans attempting to repeal new health care law for the 42nd time, the nation’s top military space official is warning of a looming crisis in national defense.

Using his most stark language to date on the topic, the U.S. Air Force’s top uniformed officer for space described the automatic U.S. budget cuts known as sequestration as “silliness” and warned that their compounded effects into 2015 could effectively torpedo the entire U.S. military space enterprise.

“You will break every program,” said Gen. William Shelton, commander of Air Force Space Command.

Speaking at the Air Force Association conference here Sept. 17, Shelton also said the main payload for the Air Force’s next generation of positioning, navigation and timing satellites faces manufacturing and processing issues and currently has no firm delivery date. The GPS 3 satellites are nominally supposed to start launching in 2015.

Shelton spent much of the speech stressing that the military requirements have not changed since the advent of sequestration, but their funding outlook has.

Space News has the full story.