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Guest Blog | Re-create a National Space Council

This is the Executive Summary of a proposal I drafted to re-create a National Space Council. This body would have significantly different roles, responsibilities, and staffing from previous iterations.  With the Cold War a distant sight in the rear view mirror there is an opportunity to advance the nation's position in space by reformulating how we coordinate and integrate space planning, requirements, technology development, and capabilities.  At this point our national space and related trechnology development organizations are still quite insular, separated by institutional culture, rivalries, competing budgets, processes, missions, and security.  A National Space Council would provide direction integrating planning and development for civil, commercial, and national security space.

I hope to post the full proposal in a few days.

 

National Space Council
Executive Summary 

PURPOSE:  To establish a National Space Council providing leadership and strategic direction to U.S. national security (military and intelligence), civil, and commercial space sectors.

BACKGROUND:  Previous Democrat and Republican Administrations maintained a National Space Council.  These bodies were limited in scope and influence, as the military, intelligence, and civil space sectors had established institutions with defined roles, missions, and established processes shaped during the Cold War.

DISCUSSION: The following reasons explain the need for a National Space Council under the Office of the Vice President.

  • The Office of the Vice President is well positioned to address the interests of the national security, civil, and commercial space sectors.
  • Leadership from the Office of the Vice President will be needed to implement change  against powerful agency self interests. 
  • The U.S. government lacks a mechanism and processes to provide leadership and strategic direction to national security, civil, and commercial space sectors
  • New institutional paradigms and national level direction is required to take advantage of the advances in information processing and space-related technology that cross over institutional boundaries.
  • Current processes maintain Cold War institutional paradigms and subjugate U.S. economic, national security, and scientific activities in space to market forces and foreign space program developments.
  • Continued degradation of the U.S. commercial space market and national security interests will likely result in losing an area of U.S. strategic dominance to potentially hostile forces. 

The National Space Council will formulate and promulgate mid and long term strategic policies to accomplish the following:

  • establish long term national space goals and objectives
  • establish mid term goals and milestones
  • develop the nation’s economy
  • maximize use of the nation’s (and global) space resources
  • reduce the high cost of space systems
  • ensure the U.S. rapidly assimilates advances in space technology
  • support technological and industrial infrastructure requirements.  

The National Space Council will structure itself to maintain approval authority and oversight over the following government functions:

  • Integrated Space Architectures and Strategic Planning
  • Space technology development strategy and investment priorities
  • Strategic coordination with U.S. space industries
 

Nicholas Eftimiades is an author and space policy expert whose 28-year government career included seven years with the National Security Space Office. Eftimiades published the executive summary of his forthcoming proposal Nov. 8 on his website and gave SpaceNews permission to republish it here.
 
The National Space Council was a White House coordinating body for U.S. government space activities, civil and commercial. The United States has not had a National Space Council since then-President George H. W. Bush left office in early 1993.  
 
Let Nick know what you think about his propsal the comments section below.
 

 

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