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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)

Space Force is requesting a $2 billion budget increase to continue its growth in fiscal year 2022, with funding primarily going to support research and development of capabilities needed to deter threats in space and protect assets.

The 2022 spending proposal for Space Force, the military’s newest service branch that is entering its second year of existence, was presented Friday as part of the Air Force budget request.

The Air Force included $17.4 billion for Space Force within its overall $173.7 billion proposal for fiscal year 2022. That’s up 13.1% from fiscal year 2021.

Similar to last year, about 65% of the budget, or $11.3 billion, will go to research, development, testing and evaluation. Operations and management will get $3.4 billion, with the remaining $2.8 billion going to procurement.

With the research budget up $725 million this year, the service will invest in protecting space assets, field new capabilities, protect the joint force from adversary use of space capabilities in conflict, and build combat-effective digital service. It also looks to fund the development of a resilient missile warning and missile tracking, effective protect and defend architecture, command and control systems, protected satellite communications, and precision, navigation, and timing systems that are more survivable against adversary threats.

About $132 million would go toward the Next-Gen Overhead Persistent Infrared missile warning system.

With procurement funds, the Space Force would use $341 million to buy five space launch vehicles. It would also purchase two GPS III space vehicles and increase technical support with $64 million. This would allow for enhanced on-orbit management.

Remaining funds support the acquisition of spacecraft and terminals, ground control systems, launch services, and related communications security and training products.

While the Defense Department has requested an overall reduction in troops, Space Force is the only military branch proposing an increase in service members. The service plans to grow from 6,434 guardians to 8,000 in 2022. Those additional troops could come from the other service branches.

About $930 million from the Air Force appropriations would support Space Force guardians, according to the Air Force.

About 6,000 guardians transferred into Space Force from the Air Force within the last year, Gen. David Thompson, Space Force’s vice chief of space operations, said Wednesday during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s subpanel on strategic forces.

Space Force is in the process of accepting transfers from the Army and Navy, while also actively recruiting new members. It gained 114 new lieutenants from the Air Force Academy’s graduating class of 2021, the service academy said.

About 6,000 Air Force civilian workers are assigned to Space Force, Thompson said.

thayer.rose@stripes.com

Twitter: @Rose_Lori

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