National Space Council Outlines Priorities in Space

Yesterday, the Biden White House outlined space priorities and held its first National Space Council (NSpC) meeting. The three themes: using Earth observation (EO) data to mitigate climate change, creating global space norms, and promoting STEM education.

Top of mind for NSpC:

  • Collaboration with industry on climate change initiatives. VP Kamala Harris and others singled out EO satellite data as a high-leverage way to do this.
  • Supporting the commercial space sector by creating a favorable regulatory environment.
  • Proactively defending the US from military threats in space.

NSpC reiterated calls for global norms in space and Harris condemned the recent Russian ASAT test. “We would like to see all nations agree to refrain from anti-satellite weapons testing that creates debris,” said Kathleen Hicks, Pentagon deputy secretary.

Common ground: From the US Space Force to Artemis, the Trump and Biden Administrations’ space policy priorities largely overlap.

That said, there were two notable updates between administrations yesterday: 

  1. More of an emphasis on using the space domain to fight climate change.
  2. NSpC is expanding, with the addition of five new cabinet members: the Secretaries of Education, Labor, Agriculture, and the Interior, as well as the National Climate Advisor.