Budget Expert Predicts Small US Air Force ABMS Funding Boost for FY 2021

The US Air Force is unlikely to request enough funding in FY 2021 to formally begin its ABMS effort A budget expert said the programme is still determining its vision for the architecture it wants A Pentagon budget expert has predicted that the US Air Forces' (USAFs') fiscal year 2021 (FY 2021) funding request for the Advanced Battle Management...
  • The US Air Force is unlikely to request enough funding in FY 2021 to formally begin its ABMS effort
  • A budget expert said the programme is still determining its vision for the architecture it wants

A Pentagon budget expert has predicted that the US Air Forces' (USAFs') fiscal year 2021 (FY 2021) funding request for the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) Internet-of-Things (IoT) combat concept will be too small for the service to formally start the programme.

Todd Harrison, director of the aerospace security project and defence budget analysis division at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank in Washington, DC, told reporters on 7 February that the USAF is still studying what the ABMS will look like. The service would have to better define the architecture and what it wants to buy in order to request, and ultimately receive from Congress, enough funding to start the programme.

An F-22 Raptor took part in the US Air Force's ABMS demo in December. A budget expert predicts that the FY 2021 budget request for ABMS will be too small for the service to formally start the programme. (Lockheed Martin)
An F-22 Raptor took part in the US Air Force's ABMS demo in December. A budget expert predicts that the FY 2021 budget request for ABMS will be too small for the service to formally start the programme. (Lockheed Martin)

"I do not think (the US Air Force) has a clear enough vision for the architecture for what they want," Harrison said during a preview of the Pentagon's FY 2021 budget request, which will be released on 10 February.

The USAF is transitioning from a platform-centric warfare approach to focusing on networking and information sharing. A highlight of this effort is the ABMS, which the air force wants to use for rapid and ubiquitous information sharing through networking and a system-of-systems approach to combat.

The service in December conducted its first demonstration over a span of three days. Operators across the USAF, US Army, US Navy (USN), and industry tested multiple real-time data-sharing tools and technology in a homeland defence-based scenario enacted by the US Northern Command (NORTHCOM) and enabled by USAF senior leaders.

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