A reconstituted National Space Council can help keep space at the center of national planning, but it must watch out for bureaucratic inefficiencies, military and industry leaders agreed at an AFA Mitchell Institute event in Washington D.C., Thursday. Such a council can ensure space has “a strong voice at the table,” said Maj. Gen. Roger Teague, director of space programs in the Air Force’s acquisition office. A national council can serve to gather the “primary principals” together and make space “a form of comprehensive national power,” said Scott Pace, director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University. But Pace also warned about creating another layer of bureaucracy. “It doesn’t need to be a large staff,” he said, and it must resist the temptation to “second guess operations.” Jamie Morin, The Aerospace Corporation’s vice president for defense systems operations, said that while the unified policy perspective of a council could be good, it can also produce “blanket policies that are suboptimal.” At a bill-signing ceremony on March 21, Vice President Mike Pence announced “in very short order,? the President will be taking action to relaunch the National Space Council,” which was disbanded under President Bill Clinton in 1993.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.