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Biden Space

National Space Council Leadership Update

By Keith Cowing
May 12, 2021
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National Space Council Leadership Update

Keith’s note: The news that the White House wants to name former Rep. Kendra Horn to be executive Secretary of the National Space Council was not exactly thrilled a lot of people. In case you weren’t paying attention, with Horn at the helm of the National Space Council, Big Aerospace and its allies would now be in control of NASA and the National Space Council. Her support for H.R. 5666 would have resulted in a government-only lunar program which would have favored the likes of Boeing, Lockheed Martin, etc. Now that the whole Artemis thing is up for some re-thinking who knows where the National Space Council and its Users Advisory Group might decide to steer it.
It is still unclear as to the exact pecking order that will be in place with regard to space policy and PCAST (President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology) and OSTP (White House Office of Science and Technology), the National Space Council/Users Advisory Group; the National Security Council, and the Vice President’s office. Right now it seems that PCAST/OSTP is on one side and interacts with the President, while National Space Council is on the other answering to the Vice President, while the National Security Council off in their own bubble interacting directly with the President. There are no straight lines in this management chart.
It seems from sources that main White House force behind the idea of appointing Kendra Horn to be Executive Secretary of the National Space Council is Cedric Richmond, Senior Advisor and Director of the Office of Public Engagement. Richmond and Horn are personal friends, sources report. But why, you may ask, is he (or anyone else in the White House) making a previously apolitical position into a political one when much more qualified professionals could have been considered? I am now starting to hear doubts and disturbance in The Force emerge up within the White House/Space bubble that the Kendra Horn thing may not necessarily be a done deal after all. Not everyone inside the space bubble is happy about this. No formal press statement from the Vice President’s office has been issued – yet. So stay tuned.

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.