Happy Birthday, National Space Policy!

Posted: June 28, 2011 in Songs of Space and Nuclear War
Tags: , ,

soft power mangaEven though policy is overrated, the NSP is now one year old and anniversaries are one of those journalistic call-outs: it needs a synopsis, a review, an analysis of the event.  Jeff Foust does so at The Space Review.

The Foust article is a great read and is a roll-up of a Secure World Foundation sponsored forum.  Of course, there are a few choke points (that is, statements that make me choke) that were exposed in the article:

“It [recent recommendations regarding LightSquared’s GPS jamming made by the National Space-Based PNT Advisory Board] was an awareness by the US’s advisory board that the foreign PNT systems were just as valuable as US domestic PNT systems, again, reflecting back to what was in the president’s policy,” he [Peter Marquez, formerly of government and now of OSC] said.

Except foreign PNT isn’t as valuable!  I know it’s impolitic, but does anyone really think Compass, Glonass, and/or Galileo are just as valuable as GPS?  After all, GPS is the free global utility!

While SSA is critical to safe and responsible space operations—one of the central tenets of the overall policy—it’s not adequately funded, he [Marques] said.

Then define “adequate” funding.  DoD (read the American taxpayer) has been doing almost all the heavy lifting (providing manpower and money) for SSA.  Space fence, JSpoC mission system (as well as existent capabilities), and Space Based Space Surveillance come to mind as efforts that should be viewed as adequate.  SSA: all it takes is time and money.

“When the term ‘mission assurance’ was put into the policy, my intent was not to mean assuring the satellite’s function,” he said. “That was the last thing in my mind. What was really meant there was to assure the satellite’s reason for being.”

Oh my goodness: the term mission assurance has had (and does have) one centrally accepted definition as long as I’ve been around and it isn’t “to assure the satellite’s reason for being.”  That’s called a requirement.  Mission assurance means mission success, not mission existence.

Now, on with the show; the 2006 space policy.

“It was seen as inconsistent, it was seen as antagonistic, and it was seen as isolationist.”

One outta three ain’t bad.  The Bush space policy was unhelpfully confrontational, so antagonistic is a common assessment.  However, most space wonks would describe it as unilateral. 

There are several great observations Foust captures as well.  Here are three that relate back to the nature of policy itself:

“What we did action-wise over the [last] year was 1,000 times more important than what we actually wrote down on a piece of paper.”

“Everything that happened in this last year, and everything that’s going to happen in the next year, is completely independent of that national space policy,”

“Changes do not happen rapidly in space.”

And regarding the EU Code of Conduct?

any such code of conduct needs to be a truly international document, not an EU one, with involvement from Russia, China, and “space wannabe” nations.

I think that’s what the Outer Space Treaty is supposed to be.  Is such a statement a declaration that the OST has been OBE?

“I don’t think the US signing up to an EU code of conduct shows a form a leadership,” he [Marquez] said. “We’re already doing these things, we’ve signed up to doing them on our own. Leadership is gained through experience and knowledge, not through following.”

Wait.  I thought leading from behind was the intent.  Did I miss the memo?




  1. […] Happy Birthday, National Space Policy! – Songs of Space & Nuclear Warfare […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s