Re: Air Force Space Command to discontinue space surveillance system

From: Brian Weeden (
Date: Wed Aug 14 2013 - 17:22:36 UTC

  • Next message: Paul Cefola: "Re: Air Force Space Command to discontinue space surveillance system"

    Let me put it this way - the new S-Band Fence MIGHT have been part of the
    decision but SHOULD NOT have been.
    The challenge was how to cut the O&M budget for the existing SSN as a
    result of sequestration. Earlier this spring AFSPC was mulling the option
    of cutting back ops at Shemya, Cavalier, and AFSSS to 8-hr ops:
    Although other sensors in the SSN play a very limited role in space
    surveillance, they are off the table for cuts because they play in missile
    warning / missile defense and the missile defense advocates in the House
    would raise hell (even if it meant no real increase in risk).
    Instead, it appears AFSPC targeted the heavy space surveillance sensors
    because they have no strong constituency in Congress.  They would
    apparently rather have less capability and a higher collision risk than
    face political heat from the House. I wrote about this back in March:
    The S-Band Fence could help RATIONALIZE the elimination of the AFSSS, as
    one could argue that (eventually) it would provide a new capability that
    eliminates the need for the AFSSS. But that's trading an existing,
    functional and useful capability for an uncertain future capability.
    There is another possibility - the AFSSS was eliminated to force Congress
    to approve funding for the S-Band Fence.  If that's the case, it's a very
    risky gamble, and one that best case means a degraded ability to identify
    and track breakups and large amounts of debris for at least the next 5
    On Wed, Aug 14, 2013 at 12:33 PM, Nick Eftimiades <>wrote:
    > Brian,
    > Just because the funding pots are different doesn't mean the decision is
    > not linked. In fact, I can't possibly see how the decision could be made
    > without considering the S band fence.
    > On 14 Aug 2013, at 17:41, Brian Weeden <> wrote:
    > The procurement of the new S-Band Fence is not linked to the shutdown of
    > the old AFSSS. The money for the two projects comes from two completely
    > separate funding pots - Operations and Maintenance (O&M) funds for
    > operating the existing AFSSS versus Research, Development, Testing, &
    > Evaluation (RDT&E) funds for procuring the new S-Band Fence.
    > ---------
    > Brian
    > On Wed, Aug 14, 2013 at 11:37 AM, Allen Thomson <>
    > wrote:
    > > A bit earlier 2017 was given as the IOC for the Kwajalein S-band radar,
    > > but the project has been under review since sequestration.  The second
    > > S-band seems to have disappeared from the discussion.
    > >
    > > [OT]
    > > BTW, note that the savings that are claimed from shutting down the
    > present
    > > VHF system are claimed to be $14M/yr, whereas the cost of procuring the
    > > S-band system will run in the $1B-$3B range, presumably spread out over a
    > > decade or so. The financial logic of that is not totally obvious.
    > > [/OT]
    > >
    > >  ------------------------------
    > > *From:* Brian Weeden <>
    > > *To:*
    > > *Cc:* "" <>
    > > *Sent:* Wednesday, August 14, 2013 10:02 AM
    > > *Subject:* Re: Air Force Space Command to discontinue space surveillance
    > > system
    > >
    > > Note that no date for IOC of either the new S-Band Space Fence or JMS was
    > > provided. They are still dreams for the future.
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