22 December 2010. Issue 42 of the "ESPI Perspectives" series makes an in-depth analysis of the Obama administration’s national space policy, identifies its differences and similarities with preceding policies and explores its potential to promote further cooperation with Europe.
The new U.S. national space policy cannot be considered as a radical change: it provides broad directions for U.S. activities in space based on the nation’s long term strategic interests and consequently has a strong sense of continuity with previous policies. Nevertheless, it does incorporate certain new elements that signal the Obama administration’s intentions on space policy. As ESPI Project Manager Spyros Pagkratis analyses in this issue of “ESPI Perspectives”, its focus is for the first time on developing commercial space capabilities and increasing their international competitiveness with the help of government funding. It also promotes outsourcing government capabilities to the private sector and stimulating its growth by re-examining export controls. It encourages international cooperation across the board, including in GNSS and SSA programmes. It adopts a more open and coherent space security vision based on commonly accepted rules for the responsible use of space and TCBMs. It focuses on national security mission assurance, rather than only protecting security related space infrastructure. In conclusion it adopts a more pragmatic approach, welcoming the emergence of new space actors while anticipating increased commercial competition and a more complex, multipolar space security environment. In doing so, it provides Europe as well with a unique opportunity to engage further in international cooperation and increase its own strategic influence.