By Theresa Smith
On Thursday, July 7, Vice President Mike Pence laid out his vision for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the newly revived National Space Council (NSpC), saying “America will once again lead in space for the benefit and security of our nation and all of the world.”
In his speech at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Pence mentioned the NSpC, saying, “After being dormant since 1993, I’m proud to report that the National Space Council is up and running once again. And it will be my great honor, as vice president of the United States, to serve as its chair.”
On June 30, President Donald Trump signed an executive order reviving the National Space Council, which will advise and assist “the president regarding national space policy and strategy.”
Pence said, “As the president said last week, the National Space Council, in his words, ‘will be a central hub, guiding space policy within the administration, filling a void that’s existed in American policy for nearly a quarter-century.’”
The vice president then briefly told the history of the council:
“You know, this is actually the third iteration of the Space Council. American presidents from Eisenhower to Kennedy, Johnson to Nixon, to George H. W. Bush all turned to the National Space Council for advice.
“It was under the first council’s watch that America put a man into space, put a man on the moon, and with less than a decade between them. And the second council saw our nation through the close of the Cold War, as space became even more important to our national security.”
“As you men and women of NASA know,” continued Pence, “the American people have never lost our passion to explore space and to uncover its secrets. But for nearly 25 years, our government’s commitment seems to have not matched the spirit of the American people.”
When the president reinstated the NSpC, NASA said in a statement, “[The National Space Council] will help ensure that all aspects of the nation’s space power — national security, commerce, international relations, exploration, and science, are coordinated and aligned to best serve the American people.”
According to The Space Review, the history of the NSpC began under President Dwight Eisenhower in 1958. Eisenhower established the early version of the NSpC, the National Aeronautics and Space Council (NASC), which NASA mentioned above.
President John F. Kennedy first used the council, chaired by Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson. From then on, the vice president was chairman of the council. During the Kennedy administration, the NASC “formed the basis for Kennedy’s decision to send Americans to the Moon,” said Space Review.
According to The Space Review, the NASC was abolished under President Richard Nixon’s administration in 1973. Nixon told Congress that NASA was a sufficient organization to handle policy coordination.
In 1989, President George H. W. Bush officially established the National Space Council, but President Bill Clinton, in his attempt to fulfill his campaign promise to shrink the government, discarded it in 1993, reported The Space Review.
According to Trump’s executive order, the NSpC “was never formally disestablished, but it effectively ceased operation in 1993. This order revives the Council and provides additional details regarding its duties and responsibilities.”
The Space Review said that President Barack Obama promised during his campaign to reestablish the council with the president as the head, but he never did.
Later in his speech at NASA, Pence said that he looks forward to the council’s first meeting “before the summer is out.”
This article (Pence on Reboot of Space Council: ‘America Will Once Again Lead in Space’ for Global Security) was originally published on CNS News and syndicated by The Event Chronicle.