The Pentagon’s relatively new Space Development Agency (SDA) is continuing its planned efforts related to building new space-based sensor layers over the next five years as Congress works through fiscal year 2020 funding under the current FY ’19 continuing resolution, the agency’s acting director said Oct. 16.

If the CR extends past its scheduled deadline of Nov. 21 and into the new year, the SDA could feel the pinch of insufficient funding, Derek Tournear told reporters at the Association for the U.S. Army’s annual conference in Washington, D.C.

He noted that he was “pretty optimistic” that lawmakers would pass a budget authorizing funds for FY ’20 soon. But in the event of an extended CR, the agency could still move ahead with parts of its efforts using existing funding within the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering – which houses the SDA – as well as within the Missile Defense Agency, he added.

The Defense Department requested nearly $45 million in operations and maintenance costs for the SDA in fiscal year 2020, as well as $105 million for the nascent agency to build a next-generation space-based sensor layer architecture.

Lawmakers’ FY ’20 budget appropriations and authorizing marks have included differing amounts of support for the SDA. The House Appropriations Committee’s budget, passed by the House in May, included a stipulation that said no funds could be obligated to the SDA until 90 days after senior defense officials submit a report to Congress to include the proposed plan to establish the SDA, along with a description of the programs and projects that the SDA plans to work on over the next three years, along with expected funding requirements.

The Senate Armed Services Committee’s version of the FY ’20 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), passed in June, included $55 million in research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) funds for the SDA.

Tournear previously said in September at the Air Force Association’s annual Air, Space and Cyber Conference that the SDA plans to reach initial operating capability for six space-based sensors layers that would make up a mesh network of capabilities by fiscal year 2024 (Defense Daily, Sept. 20).