Aerospace’s John Plumb: Resurrected Space Council Brings Value When Harnessed as ‘Whole-of-Government’ Approach

John Plumb

John Plumb, The Aerospace Corp.

President Joe Biden’s administration has decided to renew and continue the National Space Council, which was established in 1989, disbanded and then reestablished in 2017 by the Trump administration.

Politico first reported on the current administration’s decision March 29, citing a response from the National Security Council that read:

“At a time of unprecedented activity and opportunity generated by America’s activities in space, the National Space Council will be renewed to assist the President in generating national space policies, strategies, and synchronizing America’s space activities.”

The Trump administration revived the council to coordinate a process for developing and monitoring the implementation of national space policy and strategy, according to the executive order.

It was chaired by then-Vice President Mike Pence and involved the secretaries of state, defense, commerce, transportation and homeland security; the director of national intelligence; the director of the Office of Management and Budget; the assistant to the president for national security affairs; the NASA administrator; the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy; the assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism; the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and other senior officials.

Few details have been released of the current administration’s plans with the council, but WashingtonExec sat down with John Plumb, principal director and chief of government relations at The Aerospace Corp., in early March to discuss the benefits of renewing the council before the Biden administration’s decision was made.

According to Plumb, members of the space industry have largely been in favor of renewing the council, as it gives them a seat at the table.

“Trying to get a whole-of-government and whole-of-economy approach to space requires people who aren’t in government, but support the government or support the economy,” he said.

Plumb also expressed the value he believes continuing the space council brings to the nation, especially as NASA and commercial space companies ramp up innovation and advancements.

“We want to ensure the United States has the most innovative and energetic commercial space sector on the planet,” he said. “It’s an enormous advantage to U.S. economy, it’s an enormous advantage to our national security, and some would argue an enormous advantage to the world if we’re the leader. And the National Space Council could have a real hand in that.”

And economically, Morgan Stanley estimates the global space industry could generate revenues of over $1 trillion or more in 2040. Plumb said the U.S. needs to be a part of to be successful.

“It used to be, not so long ago, that government was the only thing in space,” he said. “But now, space is everywhere, it’s exciting.”

Tech talent also plays a role in the value of investing in the space industry.

“We want to grow scientists, technology people, engineers, mathematicians — all the STEM disciplines, and space is one way to really inspire a large generation of kids and get them interested,” Plumb said.

Ultimately, Plumb said the council can bring value if leveraged and harnessed as a whole-of-government, whole-of-economy approach.

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