New National Space Policy Conciliatory, not Confrontational

New National Space Policy Conciliatory, not Confrontational

Whenever it is formally released, President Obama’s new national space policy will have a very different tone than his predecessor’s.

Rumors remain rampant that the new policy will be released on Monday, but some of those in the know say that it more likely will be later in the week. Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley intimated on Wednesday that it might even be longer than that.

Nevertheless, a one page summary of the policy’s “Top Level Messages,” dated June 25, is making the rounds. It says that the two major principles of the policy are “responsible use of space” and “nurturing the U.S. space industry.”

“Responsible use of space. The United States considers the sustainability, stability, and free access to, and use of, space vital to its national interests. It is the shared interest of all nations to act responsibly in ways that emphasize openness and transparency, and help prevent mishaps, misperceptions, and mistrust.

“Nurturing the U.S. space industry. A robust and competitive commercial space sector is vital to continued progress in space. The United States is committed to encouraging and facilitating the growth of a U.S. commercial space sector that supports U.S. needs, is globally competitive, and advances U.S. leadership in the generation of new markets and innovative entrepreneurship.”

Among U.S. space goals will be expanding international cooperation and strengthening stability in space. The tone is more conciliatory towards international partnerships than the 2006 Bush Administration’s national space policy. That policy was widely criticized for what many viewed as its confrontational attitude, even though many of the specifics were very similar to prior presidential space policies.

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