John F. Plumb
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy, DOD
John F. Plumb is the first assistant secretary of defense for space policy, confirmed in March 2022. He is responsible for overseeing DOD policy for space warfighting. Plumb also serves as the principal cyber advisor to the secretary of defense.
Plumb’s policy portfolio includes strategic capabilities for integrated deterrence: space, nuclear weapons, cyber, missile defense, electromagnetic warfare and countering weapons of mass destruction.
He brings extensive experience in national security to the role, having served as both an active duty Navy submarine officer and as a civilian in various roles at the Pentagon, the Senate and the White House. Before his confirmation, he also worked for federally funded research and development centers at the Rand Corp. for the Aerospace Corp.
At this year’s Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Plumb discussed DOD’s plans to normalize space as an operational domain, noting the Pentagon needs to “provide a frame of reference for our national security leaders who have spent most of their careers considering the air, sea, and land domains.”
Plumb plans to do so by first recognizing the threat to space systems and designing a force prepared to meet it. Then, investing in resilience; acknowledging the threat to the Joint Force, working closely with allies, partners and commercial industry, accurately classifying policies for space-related information, and involving civilian agencies.
“For the Department of Defense, it is our job to maintain space as a place of inspiration, not of conflict,” he said. “That is what this shift in approach is all about.”