White House Releases Fact Sheet on New National Space Strategy – Updated

White House Releases Fact Sheet on New National Space Strategy – Updated

The White House released a brief summary of a new National Space Strategy yesterday.  It puts “American interests first,” “emphasizes dynamic and cooperative interplay between the national security, commercial, and civil space sectors,” and builds on the National Security Strategy “emphasizing peace through strength in the space domain.”

The fact sheet, “President Donald J. Trump Is Unveiling an America First National Space Strategy,” was posted on the White House website without fanfare and is dated March 23.

It has five major headings with several bullet points each.  The following excerpts provide a snapshot.

“AMERICA FIRST AMONG THE STARS: President Trump’s National Space Strategy works within his broader national security policy by putting America’s interests firsts.”  It “emphasizes dynamic and cooperative interplay between the national security, commercial, and civil space sectors,” and “ensures that international agreements put the interests of American people, workers, and businesses first.”  It also “prioritizes regulatory reforms that will unshackle American industry….”

“SPACE PREEMINENCE THROUGH THE AMERICAN SPIRIT: President Trump’s National Space Strategy harnesses the American spirit and continues the American tradition of pioneering and exploration.”  It lays “the groundwork for the next generation of American exploration in space” and “establishes forthrightly that securing the scientific, commercial and national security benefits of space is a top priority for this Administration.”

“PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH: President Trump’s space strategy builds on the National Security Strategy emphasizing peace through strength in the space domain.”  It ensures “unfettered access to, and freedom to operate in space”; “affirms that any harmful interference with or attack upon critical components of our space architecture … will be met with a deliberate response at a time, place, manner, and domain of our choosing”; “recognizes that our competitors and adversaries have turned space into a warfighting domain”; and the “United States will seek to deter, counter, and defeat threats in the space domain that are hostile to the national interests of the United States and our allies.”

“FOUR PILLARS FOR A UNIFIED APPROACH: President Donald J. Trump’s new National Space Strategy drives a “whole-of-government” approach to United States leadership in space, in close partnership with the private sector and our allies, and is based on four essential pillars.”  They are: “transform to more resilient space architectures”; “strengthen deterrence and warfighting options”; “improve foundational capabilities, structures, and processes”; and “foster conducive domestic and international environments.”

“A NEW DIRECTION FOR U.S. SPACE: President Trump has already taken significant steps to reorient American space policy and set it on the right path for the future.”  It identifies those steps as recreating the National Space Council and signing Space Policy Directive-1.

Generally speaking, a “strategy” is a plan for implementing a “policy.”

The current U.S. National Space Policy was issued by President Obama in 2010.  It remains in effect until a new policy is issued.  Trump’s Space Policy Directive-1, signed on December 11, 2017,  modified one paragraph of that policy, restoring the Moon to NASA’s human spaceflight program and eliminating a reference to sending humans to an asteroid by 2025.

The Obama Administration released a National Security Space Strategy in 2011 that was developed by DOD and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).  A White House official told SpacePolicyOnline.com today that the national security space provisions of the Trump National Space Strategy replace that 2011 document.

The Obama Administration did not promulgate formal strategies for civil or commercial space.  The Trump strategy covers all three sectors.

The Trump strategy contains little that is new.  Trump administration officials have been making most of these points for months in speeches, at congressional hearings, and at meetings of the National Space Council.  It does pull all the pieces together, however, and formalizes it with the official White House stamp of approval.

The fact sheet is available on the White House website.  It is significantly more succinct than the 55-page public version of the Trump Administration’s National Security Strategy, but a White House official tells SpacePolicyOnline.com that it is the only public version expected to be made available.

Trump’s National Security Strategy included “priority actions” regarding space, none of which appear to conflict with what is in the new National Space Strategy.  In fact, one of those priority actions was for the National Space Council to develop a strategy integrating all the space sectors, so that action is now completed.

Note: This article was updated after receiving the White House official’s explanation that the national security provisions of the new strategy replace the 2011 National Security Space Strategy.

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