Government Space Budgets
United States Government Space Budget
The DoD’s space budget of $## billion, ##% of the total U.S. space budget, covers programs overseen by the military services and at least two major but clandestine organizations: the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). The very natures of the NRO and NGA allow the DoD to classify not just program details, but program budgets, making it difficult to know the share of the DoD’s budget each one receives. The top five unclassified military space programs funded in 2014 were the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV), Global Positioning System (GPS), Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS), Advanced EHF (AEHF), and Space Fence.
Civil agencies received ##% of the total funds spent by the United States on space. NASA, which constitutes ##% of civil spending, received a ##% budget increase to $## billion in 2014. NOAA’s budget of nearly $## billion made it the next largest U.S. civil space organization on the 2014 budget list.
The 2014 U.S. space budget was substantially larger than that of any other country. The budget of $## billion was split among 11 agencies and departments, and the budgets allotted to each organization highlighted the priorities of U.S. policies and goals, with the Department of Defense (DoD) and NASA receiving a combined ##% of the budget. Even though NASA’s 2014 allocation experienced a higher growth rate, the DoD budget still exceeded that of NASA by ##%. The U.S. space budget was ##% of the total U.S. national budget in 2014.
In a different category of support for space infrastructure, the U.S. government provides funding for the development of materials, equipment, and software through Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E) budgets appropriated for each military service (Army, Navy, and Air Force) and other defense agencies. When RDT&E programs reach specific goals, they are moved from RDT&E funding to other funds allocated for operations and maintenance. Contractors conducting RDT&E activities for the services and agencies received an average annual appropriation of $## billion (adjusted for inflation) from 2004 to 2014, with ##% of that total allocated to space-related programs. Of the $## billion in RDT&E funding disbursed in 2014, less than ##% was dedicated to space-related programs.
Global military space spending is significant, but difficult to quantify, as many countries do not substantially distinguish between military and civil space programs. Also, information on many aspects of military space spending is not publicly available, especially for sensitive programs such as spy satellites. Despite these challenges, military space spending is estimated using a methodology that combines public data with estimates for areas where data is not available. For example, total U.S. military space spending in fiscal year 2013 is calculated by applying the growth in identifiable DoD unclassified military space programs to the FY 2012 total DoD space spending figure.
The U.S. government operated in a constrained fiscal environment in FY 2013, culminating in a 16-day partial shutdown of the federal government at the onset of FY 2014, due to a lapse in budget appropriations. No FY 2013 appropriations bills passed the U.S. Congress. Instead, agencies were funded under a series of Continuing Resolutions (CR) limiting funding to the amounts spent during the prior year. In addition, agency budgets were reduced by a mandatory percentage, known as the sequester, under the Budget Control Act of 2011. The combination of the sequester and the CR-level funding resulted in an approximately ##% reduction in the NASA budget in FY 2013 as compared to FY 2012. NASA operated with a budget of $## billion in FY 2013.
The United States was responsible for ##% of global government space spending in 2013. During fiscal year (FY) 2013, which ran from October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013, U.S. government agency space budgets totaled $## billion, a ##% decrease from 2012. Defense-related space activities, comprised of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), totaled $## billion, or approximately ##% of U.S. government space spending.