Spacelift Washington: Hart-Rudman Panel endorses SIG Space for civil, military space policy-and space launch

Spacelift Washington
Spacelift Washingon Archive

WASHINGTON Ė For the second time in three weeks a Congressionally-mandated blue ribbon panel has endorsed a shake-up of how U.S. senior officials oversee space policy. Wednesday the Hart-Rudman Commission on National Security for the 21st Century called for an overhaul in federal security policy and structures. The report recommended a Senior Interagency Group for Space be established, staffed, and operated within the Presidentís National Security Council. The groupís recommendations went further than the recent Rumsfeld panel in suggesting that the SIG-Space shop be responsible for both civil and military space policy operations and coordination. It also called for a re-alignment in some functions now in the Defense Department.

"The commission recommends to the president that the existing National Security Space Architect be transferred from the Department of Defense to the National Security Council." The report strongly suggests that space as a new, national priority should be viewed as an adjunct of the existing national security infrastructure. There is no mention of a National Space Council. The commission, headed by former U.S. Senators Gary Hart (D-Colo.) and Warren B. Rudman (R-N.H.) also was critical of the pace and extent to which reducing the cost of space transportation has been addressed by the previous administration. "The commission strongly recommends that the modernization of the nationís space launch capability be accelerated," said the final report released Wednesday in Washington. If more advanced, cost effective, and quicker space launch were available to policymakers, the report suggested, the faster national security-related and defense payloads could be launched in response to crises.

The group also recommended the creation of a more advanced orbiting network of space reconnaissance satellites, and that the satellites come directly under a new Pentagon space czar and not the National Reconnaissance Office. A similar recommendation was made January 11th by the Rumsfeld panel. Commercial and civil space was increasingly seen as part of the nationís security and economic competitiveness industrial base.

  • Commission on National Security for the 21st Century
  • Roadmap for National Security: Imperative for Change, 31 January 2001 (Acrobat)


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