What’s Happening in Space Policy October 30-November 3, 2017

What’s Happening in Space Policy October 30-November 3, 2017

Here is our list of space policy events for the week of October 30-November 3, 2017 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate are in session this week.

During the Week

Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK).

Rep. Jim Bridenstine’s (R-OK) nomination hearing to become NASA Administrator will take place on Wednesday morning before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.  NASA Administrator nominees don’t usually provoke much debate, but this time is different.  Last week Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) joined two other Senators (Florida’s Bill Nelson, a Democrat, and Marco Rubio, a Republican) in publicly expressing concerns about the nomination.

Murray’s strong opposition is based on Bridenstine’s views on climate change and social issues, including Bridenstine’s vote against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women’s Act and statements he has made regarding the LGBTQ community and immigrants. She finds those views very concerning when he will be overseeing a diverse NASA workforce of 19,000 employees.

Publicly supporting Bridenstine are Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), who chairs the Commerce Committee’s Space, Science, and Competitiveness subcommittee, and Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), who chairs the Senate appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA.

Bridenstine is one of four nominees who will be at the witness table.  Two others are nominees for positions at the Department of Commerce, and the fourth is for the Consumer Product Safety Commission.  One of the Department of Commerce nominees is Neil Jacobs, who would become Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction, a top NOAA position (NOAA is part of the Department of Commerce).  He is currently the Chief Atmospheric Scientist at Panasonic Avionics Corporation.

Speaking of NOAA, recently confirmed NOAA Deputy Administrator RDML Timothy Galludet (Ret.) is on the agenda tomorrow (Monday) morning to speak to the NOAA Science Advisory Board (SAB).  He is NOAA’s Deputy Administrator, but is also serving as Acting NOAA Administrator according to the main Department of Commerce website.  (NOAA’s own website hasn’t caught up with the news yet and still lists Ben Friedman in that role.)  The SAB meeting will be available by “webinar” (we’re not sure how that’s different from a webcast).

The Senate Banking Committee is holding its own nomination hearing this week — at exactly the same time as the Senate Commerce hearing on Bridenstine and Jacobs.  The Banking Committee will consider the nominations of several individuals to serve at the Export-Import Bank.  The existence of the ExIm Bank was in doubt not so long ago, and while Congress finally reauthorized it in 2015, only two of the five Board positions were filled, less than a quorum.  That meant the Board could not approve transactions over $10 million.  If this slate of nominees is approved, first by the committee and then the full Senate, it should be completely back in business.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, conference negotiations are taking place on the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  Although they have some thorny issues to work out — like whether to direct DOD to create a Space Corps (the House’s position) or a Chief Information Warfare Officer (the Senate’s position) or something else to change how DOD space programs are managed — the two chambers have always managed to reach agreement eventually.  The first NDAA was passed in 1961 and they haven’t missed a year yet.

There are so many really interesting meetings this week we wish we could highlight them all, but this would go on forever.

Below are all the events we know about as of Sunday morning.  Check back throughout the week for others we learn about later and add to our Calendar.

Monday, October 30

Monday-Tuesday, October 30-31

Tuesday-Thursday, October 31-November 2

Wednesday, November 1

Wednesday-Friday, November 1-3

Thursday, November 2

Friday, November 3

User Comments

SpacePolicyOnline.com has the right (but not the obligation) to monitor the comments and to remove any materials it deems inappropriate.  We do not post comments that include links to other websites since we have no control over that content nor can we verify the security of such links.