By: Christopher P. Mulder, Clementine Starling, Mark J. Massa, and Julia Siegel
What is the kernel of the issue?
The US lacks a long-term, actionable strategy that will secure space for many years to come. Previous such strategy documents lay out shorter timeframes for securing space. However, space activity requires a much longer-term vision and executable strategy.
Why is the issue important?
Security and prosperity on earth rely on long-term space technology developments and any short-term degradation to space assets can have over-sized negative impacts to earth-based activity. Presidential administrations and congressional members come and go quite regularly, creating challenges to sustain space activity in the long term. The private sector, in many cases, takes cues from the US government on where and how to expend resources. Without a long-term strategy, both public and private organizations may find themselves only partially applying resources to a domain that requires a full commitment by all stakeholders.
What is the recommendation?
The Biden administration should adopt and implement a long-term strategy for space that looks out a few decades, perhaps thirty years and beyond. To maintain momentum, the strategy should be able to garner public buy-in, strong congressional support, and corresponding legislation to make it a reality. In addition, a newly appointed US special presidential envoy for space and eventual US Space Ambassador, working in conjunction with an empowered National Space Council, can play an important foreign and domestic space champion role that will see a long-term space strategy through.