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Analysis of New National Space Policy Begins

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 02-Jul-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:12 PM)

The Secure World Foundation and the Arms Control Association sponsored a seminar yesterday on President Obama's new national space policy. The organizations plan to post a transcript of the meeting in the near future. In the meantime, DODBuzz reported on it.

Jeff Abramson of the Arms Control Associaion was the moderator. Speakers were:

  • Marcia Smith,
  • Ben Basely-Walker, Secure World Foundation
  • Bruce McDonald, U.S. Institute of Peace

Also, Jeff Kueter at the Marshall Institute has posted his analysis, including a side-by-side comparison, of the Obama policy compared with President George W. Bush's 2006 version.

Obama Administration to Create Single Export Control Agency

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 01-Jul-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:16 PM)

National Security Adviser James Jones yesterday announced plans to create a new single independent agency to handle export controls at a luncheon on Capitol Hill for the Senate Aerospace Caucus. The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) praised the decision in a press release that summarized the talk, which was also reported by news organizations. This "Single Licensing Agency" will be governed by a board of directors composed of cabinet officials from agencies with export control responsibilities according to reports in the Wall Street Journal and The HIll.

UPDATE: House Subcommittee Takes No Position On Obama Exploration Plan, Restricts Availability of Funds

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 29-Jun-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:18 PM)

UPDATE: Subcommittee staff explained after the markup that funding for the various mission directorates was not cut, but that funds for labor costs were shifted into the Cross-Agency Support line. Also, the restrictions on spending for exploration do not apply to the COTS commercial cargo activity since that it already authorized.

UPDATED STORY: The House Appropriations Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) subcommittee marked up the FY2011 CJS bill today. It includes funding for NASA and NOAA. The subcommittee recommended $19 billion for NASA, the same as the request, but there were changes in allocations within that top level number including a cut to the request for the exploration program. Most importantly, none of the funding for exploration (other than for COTS) could be spent until Congress passes and the President signs into law an authorization bill detailing what that program should be.

Subcommittee chairman Alan Mollohan (D-WV) made it clear that he considers the Constellation "program of record" unexecutable from a fiscal standpoint, but said that the subcommittee takes no position on the President's proposal. Instead, he feels that this should be determined through the authorization process and therefore no funds could be spent until Congress deliberates on an authorization bill, passes it, and the President signs it into law.

This is just the first step in the appropriations process. The subcommittee recommendations go to the full appropriations committee and then, technically, to the floor of the House for debate. A Senate bill would go through the same process and the two chambers would then reach a compromise under normal procedures. However, little about the congressional appropriations process follows the typical steps these days.

The explanatory language was not available at the markup, but the dollar numbers are as follows:

  • Science, cut $301.1 million
  • Aeronautics and Space Research and Technology. Split into its two components, with $375 million for aeronautics and $512.1 million for space technology. That's a total of $887 million, compared to the $1.152 billion requested
  • Exploration, cut $699.9 million
  • Space Operations, cut $427.2 million
  • Education, increased $59.4 million
  • Cross-agency support, increased $1.522 billion
  • Construction and Environmental Compliance and Remediation, increased $111.4 million
  • Inspector General, no change

Subcommittee staff explained after the markup that funds were not cut from the various mission directorates, but money in those accounts for labor costs were transferred into Cross-Agency Support.

The top level number for NOAA, $5.54 billion, was cut $29 million, but it is not clear whether the cut is related to NOAA's satellite programs.

Official Comments on New National Space Policy

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 29-Jun-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:16 PM)

GAO Assesses Export Controls in Other Countries

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 29-Jun-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:13 PM)

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report yesterday assessing how export controls in six countries -- Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom -- differ from the United States. It also assesses how two proposed Defense Trade Cooperation Treaties, with the United Kingdom and with Australia, will change export controls. The report does not make any recommendations, but notes that the report may help inform U.S. efforts to reform the export control system.

White House Releases New National Space Policy

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 28-Jun-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:18 PM)

The White House released a new national space policy today. Its tone is markedly different from that of the 2006 policy released by President George W. Bush, reaching out to industry and international partners. In a written press statement, the President said that "above all, this policy is about the boundless possibilities of the future...We do not fear the future; we embrace the future. Even in times of trial, we do not turn inward; we harness the ingenuity and talents of our people, we set bold goals for our nation, and we lead the world in new frontiers...."

WSJ on New National Space Policy

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 27-Jun-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:18 PM)

Andy Pasztor at the Wall Street Journal has a story about what he's heard about the new national space policy.

Events of Interest: Week of June 28-July 2, 2010

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 27-Jun-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:13 PM)

The following events may be of interest in the coming week. For more information, see our calendar on the right menu or click the links below. Times, dates, and witnesses for congressional hearings and other activities are subject to change. Check the relevant committee's website for up to date information. All times are EDT.

During the Week

Rumors are rampant that the White House will release a new national space policy this week, perhaps on Monday, perhaps later in the week. Check back with for updates.

Tuesday, June 29

Wednesday-Thursday, June 30-July 1

New National Space Policy Conciliatory, not Confrontational

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 26-Jun-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:15 PM)

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.

House Appropriations to MarkUp CJS Bill on Tuesday

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 26-Jun-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:14 PM)

The Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to markup the CJS bill on Tuesday, June 29, at 3:30 pm in Room H140 Capitol. That bill includes FY2011 funding for NASA and NOAA.

Events of Interest    

Full calendar of future events (with filters)-click here »


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