Enabler or Roadblock?

Discussion of President Obama’s National Space Policy, released in June, has centered on the policy’s content. But do we really need national policy governing space? John Sheldon, a professor at Air University at Maxwell AFB, Ala., posed that question Wednesday at a George C. Marshall Institute discussion on the new policy in Washington, D.C. “We don’t have an air policy,” said Sheldon. He continued, “We have a set of policies that govern air issues, from military right through to the FAA. The Air Force cooperates with the FAA on a daily basis, and it doesn’t need White House guidance to do that.” Sheldon asserted that, ideally, space should be removed from the “politicized environment” of White House policy, leaving agencies such as NASA and DOD to cooperate just as agencies do in other domains today. “Part of the problem is [that] we in the space community think we’re special. From a strategic perspective, we’re not. We bring something unique to the strategic equation, but we’re not special,” he said.