Status Report

Update on National Space Council Meeting

By SpaceRef Editor
December 1, 2021
Filed under ,
Update on National Space Council Meeting

The following information was provided on background from a White House Official:


On Wednesday, December 1 at 1:30pm EST, Vice President Kamala Harris will convene the Biden-Harris Administration’s inaugural National Space Council meeting at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. The Vice President, who chairs the National Space Council, will deliver remarks laying out the Administration’s whole-of-government approach to ensuring that space activities create opportunities that benefit the American people and the world.  

During the meeting, Vice President Harris will announce the release of the United States Space Priorities Framework. The Framework will guide the Council’s efforts to develop and implement national space policy and strategy going forward. It maintains focus on advancing and synchronizing our civil, commercial, and national security space activities, and adds emphasis in support of the Administration’s agenda, including promoting peaceful exploration of space and reducing the risk of miscalculation or conflict in space; addressing the climate crisis; and enhancing STEM education. After her remarks, the Vice President will ask members of the Council to accelerate, expand, and develop rules and norms for responsible behavior in space; increase the availability and accessibility of space climate data; and increase interagency cooperation on STEM initiatives to support job creation and maintain the innovative and competitive edge of the United States. [See embargoed, United States Space Priorities Framework attached]

In conjunction with the meeting, President Joe Biden will sign a new Executive Order on Wednesday, December 1 that addresses the membership, duties, and responsibilities of the Council. The Order adds five new members to the Council: the Secretaries of Education, Labor, Agriculture, and the Interior, as well as the National Climate Advisor. These new members demonstrate the Administration’s emphasis on ensuring the benefits of American space activities are applied broadly throughout society and employed to solve the toughest challenges, including addressing the climate crisis and building a vibrant workforce for the future.

Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona, a former NASA astronaut, will introduce Vice President Harris and welcome the Council members. To conclude the meeting, the Council will hear a report from Admiral James Ellis, United States Navy, Ret., Chair of the Users’ Advisory Group, a federal advisory committee composed of industry and other non-federal representatives.

Those participating in the meeting include:


Vice President of the United States – Kamala Harris

Secretary of the Interior – Deb Haaland

Secretary of Agriculture – Thomas Vilsack

Secretary of Commerce – Gina Raimondo

Secretary of Transportation – Pete Buttigieg

Secretary of Energy – Jennifer Granholm

Secretary of Education – Miguel Cardona

Secretary of Homeland Security – Alejandro Mayorkas

Director of National Intelligence – Avril Haines

National Security Advisor – Jake Sullivan

National Climate Advisor – Gina McCarthy

NASA Administrator – Bill Nelson

Deputy Secretary of State – Wendy Sherman

Deputy Secretary of Defense – Kathleen Hicks

Commander, U.S. Space Command – General James H. Dickinson

Deputy Director for Management, Office of Management and Budget – Jason Miller

Assistant Secretary for Policy, Department of Labor – Raj Nayak

Deputy Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy – Alondra Nelson

Users’ Advisory Group – Admiral James Ellis Jr. USN (Ret.)

Background on the Vice President’s Leadership of the National Space Council

The Vice President receives regular briefings from National Security Council staff and other experts on issues pertaining to national security and space. This first National Space Council meeting builds on the Vice President’s leadership working to amplify the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to deliver the benefits of space to the American people and the world, ensuring those benefits are broadly and equitably applied throughout society.

– Vice President’s Meeting with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico (November 2021).  In a bilateral meeting, Vice President Harris emphasized the importance of peaceful, sustainable, and cooperative space exploration and discussed how together we can help advance these objectives.

– Vice President’s Visit to France (November 2021). In a bilateral meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, Vice President Harris highlighted the important role space activities play in providing societal benefits, tackling global challenges, and stimulating international cooperation. After the meeting, she announced expanded cooperation with France on space. See here

– Vice President’s Visit to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (November 2021). Vice President Harris visited NASA Goddard to underscore how the U.S. is harnessing one of the nations’ most powerful tools – our space program – to combat the climate crisis and protect vulnerable communities. See the Vice President’s remarks here.

– Vice President’s Visit to Hampton University (September 2021). Vice President Harris visited Hampton University, the only HBCU to run a NASA mission, the Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere satellite. She also spoke with STEM undergraduate students about the importance of fostering a diverse STEM workforce. See here.

– Vice President’s Meeting with Quad Leaders (September 2021). The Vice President met with the leaders of The Quad countries – Australia, India, Japan, and the U.S. – who are among the world’s scientific leaders, including in space. The U.S. will begin space cooperation between the Quad countries for the first time through a new working group. See here.

– Vice President’s Visit to Singapore (August 2021). In bilateral meetings with the leaders of Singapore, Vice President Harris highlighted the importance of international space cooperation and reinforced international norms on the peaceful exploration of space. The U.S. and Singapore agreed on the importance of creating a safe and transparent environment that facilitates space exploration, science and commercial activities for all of humanity to enjoy. See here.

– Vice President’s Visit to Vietnam (August 2021). In bilateral meetings with Vietnamese leaders, Vice President Harris emphasized reinforcing international norms on the peaceful exploration of space and both countries agreed to support efforts to ensure space activities are conducted in a responsible and sustainable manner and committed to a bilateral space dialogue. See here.

Overview of the National Space Council

The National Space Council is the White House policy council responsible for ensuring the United States capitalizes on the rich opportunities presented by our nation’s space activities. Under the leadership of its chair, Vice President Kamala Harris, the Council advises and assists the President on the development and implementation of space policy and strategy. In addition to its Chair, the Council is composed of Cabinet-level Secretaries and other senior executive branch officials, including: 

– The Secretaries of State, Defense, the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Transportation, Energy, Education, Homeland Security;  

– The Directors of the Office of Management and Budget, National Intelligence, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy;

– The Assistants to the President for National Security Affairs, Economic Policy, Domestic Policy, and the National Climate Advisor;

– The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and

– The Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The Biden-Harris Administration has taken action to ensure sound, coordinated U.S. space policy and strategy. Space capabilities underpin vital elements of society, from education and science to national security and economic prosperity. At a time of unprecedented activity, the Administration will organize its civil, commercial, and national security efforts to deliver the benefits of space to the American people and ensure those benefits are broadly and equitably applied throughout society. This Administration is committed to expanding and strengthening U.S. global leadership, tackling global challenges such as the climate crisis, and increasing opportunity for current and future generations – all of which are enabled by American space activities.


SpaceRef staff editor.