Internal Debate Over New U.S. Space Policy Divided Into Four Camps

Internal Debate Over New U.S. Space Policy Divided Into Four Camps

Obama Administration experts wrestling with development of a new U.S. space policy are divided into four camps according to SAIC’s Dr. Peter Hays. Dr. Hays supports the National Security Space Office at the Department of Defense (DOD) and spoke to a seminar on space security on January 21.

He described the four camps as those who believe that not much has changed since the 2006 National Space Policy was released and therefore no change in policy is needed; those who acknowledge that things have changed and believe we need to do better; those who argue for more international cooperation, partnering, development of Transparency and Confidence Building Measures (TCBMs), and leveraging commercial space capabilities; and those who want to increase DOD’s “less benign” capabilities.

The current deadline for releasing the new space policy is summer 2010, he said, while cautioning that the disparate points of view make meeting that deadline a challenge. As he noted, it took four years (2002-2006) for President George W. Bush’s national space policy to emerge. He also predicted that a “non-prescriptive” version of the congressionally required Space Posture Review would be released along with the FY2011 budget request to meet the congressional deadline (which actually has passed already – it was December 1, 2009), with the “bulk of the work” merged into a national space strategy that would be released after the new national space policy.

A summary of the seminar, including more of Dr. Hays’ comments, is available on the left menu of our home page (see Our Meeting Summaries) or by clicking here. The other speakers were Cesar Jaramillo of Canada’s Project Ploughshares, which spearheads production of the Space Security Index – the main topic of the seminar; Clay Mowry from Arianespace, Inc.; and Marcia Smith of

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