White House fights for more funding for missile warning satellite system

July 11, 2019


The Trump administration is fighting a House defense committee for hundreds of millions of additional dollars for a space-based early warning missile system, claiming in a July 9 statement that without the funding the satellite program will be delayed by years and actually cost more in the long run.

The Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared system will provide advanced warnings of ballistic missile attacks on the United States, its deployed forces and its allies. The Air Force says OPIR satellites will provide greater missile warning capabilities and be more survivable than the current early warning missile system, the Space Based Infrared System. The Air Force has contracted with Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin to build the satellites.

The Pentagon requested $1.4 billion for OPIR for fiscal year 2020—$459 million more than what the Department of Defense anticipated in their budget request for fiscal 2019. On June 12, the House Armed Services Committee voted to authorize $1 billion for the program in fiscal 2020, about $376.4 million less than the Pentagon had asked for.

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