Defense Bill Includes Commercial Weather Pilot Program

Stormy winter weather (Credit: Douglas Messier)
Stormy winter weather (Credit: Douglas Messier)

On Wednesday, the Senate Armed Services Committee will take up legislation to fund the Defense Department that includes provisions for a pilot program to determine how commercial weather data could be used to support military operations.

“The [Defense] Secretary would have 1 year and up to $3.0 million to carry out the pilot program by purchasing and evaluating commercial weather data that meets the standards and specifications set by the Department of Defense,” according to a summary of the provisions. “The Secretary would be required to provide interim and final briefings on the utility, cost, and other considerations regarding the purchase of commercial satellite weather data to support the requirements of the Department of Defense.”

Earlier this month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a schedule for its Commercial Weather Data Pilot program, which also will last one year.

The American Space Renaissance Act, which Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) proposed earlier in April, calls for the incorporation of commercial weather data into NOAA and defense forecasts.