Trump Administration Unveils America First National Space Strategy

GOES-16 captured this view of the moon as it looked above the surface of the Earth on January 15. Like earlier GOES satellites, GOES-16 will use the moon for calibration. (Credits: NOAA/NASA)

White House Policy Statement

“Our travels beyond the Earth propel scientific discoveries that improve our lives in countless ways here, right here, at home: powering vast new industry, spurring incredible new technology, and providing the space security we need to protect the American people.”

— President Donald J. Trump

AMERICA FIRST AMONG THE STARS: President Trump’s National Space Strategy works within his broader national security policy by putting America’s interests first.

  • The Trump administration’s National Space Strategy prioritizes American interests first and foremost, ensuring a strategy that will make America strong, competitive, and great.
  • The new strategy emphasizes dynamic and cooperative interplay between the national security, commercial, and civil space sectors.
    • The United States will partner with the commercial sector to ensure that American companies remain world leaders in space technology.
  • The new strategy ensures that international agreements put the interests of American people, workers, and businesses first.
  • The National Space Strategy prioritizes regulatory reforms that will unshackle American industry and ensure we remain the leading global provider of space services and technology.

SPACE PREEMINENCE THROUGH THE AMERICAN SPIRIT: President Trump’s National Space Strategy harnesses the American spirit and continues the American tradition of pioneering and exploration.

  • The President’s National Space Strategy builds on America’s pioneering, spacefaring tradition, laying the groundwork for the next generation of American exploration in space.
  • The National Space Strategy establishes forthrightly that securing the scientific, commercial, and national security benefits of space is a top priority for this Administration.
    • The United States will continue to lead in the creation and maintenance of the crucial space systems that are essential to our prosperity, security, and way of life.
  • The Strategy puts forward a reinvigorated approach to ensuring U.S. leadership and success in space.

PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH: President Trump’s space strategy builds on the National Security Strategy emphasizing peace through strength in the space domain.

  • The National Space Strategy protects our vital interest in space – to ensure unfettered access to, and freedom to operate in space, in order to advance America’s security, economic prosperity, and scientific knowledge.
    • Accordingly, the Administration’s new strategy calls for strengthening the safety, stability, and sustainability of our space activities.
  • The strategy affirms that any harmful interference with or attack upon critical components of our space architecture that directly affects this vital interest will be met with a deliberate response at a time, place, manner, and domain of our choosing.
  • President Trump’s National Space Strategy recognizes that our competitors and adversaries have turned space into a warfighting domain.
    • While the United States would prefer that the space domain remain free of conflict, we will prepare to meet and overcome any challenges that arise.
  •  Under the President’s new strategy, the United States will seek to deter, counter, and defeat threats in the space domain that are hostile to the national interests of the United States and our allies.

FOUR PILLARS FOR A UNIFIED APPROACH: President Donald J. Trump’s new National Space Strategy drives a whole-of-government approach to United States leadership in space, in close partnership with the private sector and our allies, and is based on four essential pillars:

  • Transform to more resilient space architectures:  We will accelerate the transformation of our space architecture to enhance resiliency, defenses, and our ability to reconstitute impaired capabilities.
  • Strengthen deterrence and warfighting options:  We will strengthen U.S. and allied options to deter potential adversaries from extending conflict into space and, if deterrence fails, to counter threats used by adversaries for hostile purposes.
  • Improve foundational capabilities, structures, and processes:  We will ensure effective space operations through improved situational awareness, intelligence, and acquisition processes.
  • Foster conducive domestic and international environments:  We will streamline regulatory frameworks, policies, and processes to better leverage and support U.S. commercial industry, and we will pursue bilateral and multilateral engagements to enable human exploration, promote burden sharing and marshal cooperative threat responses.

A NEW DIRECTION FOR U.S. SPACE: President Trump has already taken significant steps to reorient American space policy and set it on the right path for the future.

  •  On June 30, 2017, the President revived the National Space Council for the first time in 24 years.
  • On December 11, 2017, President Trump once again set America’s sights toward the stars by signing Space Policy Directive – 1, which instructed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to return American astronauts to the moon for long-term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations.
    • In signing the directive, the President ordered action to work with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system.

  • Terry Rawnsley

    He sure put his name on it a lot.

  • SamuelRoman13

    A lot of bragging. None of it means anything. I could go over each point, but it is too much trouble. Malarkey. Is that a dirty word?

  • Michael Halpern

    everything Trump puts out about space is basically telling USAF and Congress to “keep doing what your doing” he has the best plans, to make plans.

  • Jeff2Space

    Not at all surprising.

  • Jeff2Space

    This is typical high level CEO like speak. Lots of pretty words and imagery, but little to no substance. I try not to listen to such talk in live meetings unless I’m forced to do so, because I’ve found that nothing that is said ever impacts my day to day work.

  • ThomasLMatula

    The function of policy is to guide the decision making for plans, it is not suppose to be a plan. Really President Trump’s space policy is not much different than what the Obama’s Administration or Bush Administration’s Space Policy.

    Most space policy hasn’t changed since the 1960’s. Lead in space by using the high ground for military advantage, promoting commercial applications of space, protecting our military and civilian space assets, work on more economical access to space, create international partnerships, explore the unknown. Those have been the basic goals for American space policy for decades.

    It has also always been U.S. policy to purse international partnerships based on benefits to American, generally in terms of foreign policy. It’s why Russian was brought into the ISS when their space program was on the verge of bankruptcy. The only change in international partnerships is a new focus on economic benefits to the U.S., consistent with the rest of the policies of the Trump Administration.

    Really 95% is just a rewritten continuation of Obama’s space policy, which was 95% a rewritten continuation of Bush’s space policy. The only real difference is that the Bush Administration made the Moon a NASA goal, the Obama Administration replaced it with an asteroid, and now the Trump Administration, has replaced the asteroid with the Moon again.

    I guess the main take away is that Democrats hate the Moon and Republicans love the Moon 😆

  • Michael Halpern

    It goes both ways, if Democrats are for it, Republicans are against it, to the Pols Moon vs Mars/asteroid doesn’t matter, only pork, and they know the longer NASA’s next giant leap takes, the more pork.
    Obama did trim a lot of the pork by suggesting the cancellation of Constellation, replacing the LEO part of it with the Clinton suggested, Bush initiated commercial programs. The thing that really bugs me though is his blatant claiming of credit for work of his predecessors,

  • Vladislaw

    The Vision for Space Exploration WAS a plan .. it called for very specific things to happen. Seperate cargo from crew. Retire the space shuttle. Complete the ISS. Crew commercial cargo, commercial crew, Jupiter explorer. No new rockets for nasa.. on and on ..
    It called on landing on Luna no sooner than 2015 and no later than 2020 ..

    that sure sounds like a plan…

    THIS from trump is NOT a plan. The VSE was.

  • windbourne

    if we are going to be first in space, how about allowing a lot more services?
    Let bigelow sell a unit to Saudi Arabia or the emirates.
    They want into space and BA-330 is ideal.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Exactly, Policy is not the same as a plan. The VSE was the Bush Administration’s plan for NASA. It wasn’t policy.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Every Administration takes credit for the good things predecessors do.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Yes, and at only $200 million a bargain. Of course you will need to add launch costs, probably another $150 million or so for an Atlas V.

  • Michael Halpern

    Yes but not ALL the good things, and they don’t claim their predecessors had it all wrong when continuing their work, there is a limit

  • Michael Halpern

    At most they don’t say it wasn’t all them, but they usually don’t claim it was directly,

  • Aegis Maelstrom

    You talk as if this “plan” was about anything tangible or coherent.

    In fact it was pure hot air and a “all-me”-fantasy propaganda. Something to sell to the most ignorant voters.

    It is very sad that the U.S. space programme is treated this instrumentally.

  • windbourne

    For about 100 M, + another 10M, I could get SpaceX to do it, cheaper.
    Yes, I might have to pay 10M for a newly designed fairing, but, with the cost differential of SpaceX vs ULA vs all others, SX still wins the nod.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Even better, you could use the FH to put up a pair of B330 and have a station capable of 12 astronauts at a time.

  • duheagle

    Yes. Obama, for example, claimed Iraq was a great success early in his administration – before the wheels came off.

  • duheagle

    The military-related aspects of the policy seem not only quite clear, but also represent quite a departure from anything promulgated during any previous administration. Quite tangible. Quite coherent.

  • duheagle

    Malarkey is, so far as I know, an Irish word. Whether or not it’s also dirty may depend somewhat upon your attitude toward the Irish.

    I fail to see any “bragging” here. There are references to American leadership in space and declarations of intent to maintain this state of affairs. This can’t reasonably be considered “bragging” unless you assume America is not the leader in space. Is that your viewpoint?

    The parts of the policy – most of it, actually – that address military issues anent space certainly mean something. They are also more definite than those promulgated by any prior administration on the same general subject.

  • Aegis Maelstrom

    The space forces concept actually keeps on returning for several years and it ended so far with a midway solution with, as far as I can tell, increasingly independent space corps (Air Force Space Command etc.).

    The direction was obvious, discussion was there and it is not like Trump invented anything. This brag in the media was hilarious.

  • duheagle

    There seem to be a lot of people in the DC establishment who didn’t share your mirthful reaction to Mr. Trump’s recent “endorsement” of Congressman Rogers’s Space Force idea.

    But – though I’m also an advocate of a U.S. Space Force – my reference above was to the military aspects of the policy document Doug’s post was about. A Space Force is not among the specifics of that, though nothing in it precludes the organization of such a force either. In fact quite a bit of this policy document might reasonably well constitute the marching orders for any new Space Force if such there comes to be. The explicit declaration of intent to develop means to actively defend space assets and treat space as a warfighting domain are the new elements of this policy and are long overdue.

  • ThomasLMatula

    You seem to be of the opinion that the U.S. space program is mostly about NASA. NASA is only one element of it, and probably not even the biggest element if you take everything the military does in space, and the communication satellite industry into account.

    So its not surprising that NASA gets only a brief mention. BTW compare this to the massive document the Obama Administration produced in 2010 on U.S. Space Policy,

    If you check out the Goals and Intersector Guidelines they are not much more specific than in this press release of President Trump’s space policy. NASA is not even mentioned until the bottom of page 11 and only gets about two pages in a 14 page document.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Actually it is not that much different, just more open about it and it uses the W-word. This is one of the bullet points on military space from the Obama Administration’s space policy of 2010, on page 14.

    “Develop capabilities, plans, and options to deter, defend against, and, if necessary, defeat efforts to interfere with or attack US or allied space systems;”

    in the Press Release of the Trump Administration policy.

    “Strengthen deterrence and warfighting options: We will strengthen U.S.
    and allied options to deter potential adversaries from extending
    conflict into space and, if deterrence fails, to counter threats used by
    adversaries for hostile purposes.”

  • duheagle

    I think the use of “the W-word” is pretty darned significant all by itself. The Obama administration had no stomach for fighting our enemies even on the ground, never mind in space.

  • windbourne

    The weird thing is, the first was Kennedy ( Ike did that purposely). Then Nixon, then Reagan, poppa bush, then Clinton, then W, than O. All have had national space strategies. In fact, trump’s is the least out of all. He has absolutely nothing in this.