Despite the several national space p
olicies approved by U.S. President George W. Bush in recent years, one of the most senior Air Force space officials said
the U.S. government needs an
overarching framework
to guide an integrated approach to civil, military and commercial space activity.


Lt. Gen. Mike Hamel, commander of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center
in Los Angeles, said in an April 9 speech here
that while the United States currently has a strong space policy that has been consistent in many areas over the course of several presidential terms, the nation now needs
something broader
to better serve users ranging from soldiers to homeland security officials to farmers and emergency responders.


Hamel, who
to retire from the military shortly, said
many of the goals in the current space strategy have remained unchanged
for decades. However,
leaders from all
the government agencies that work in space or depend on space
capabilities need a forum to determine how to marshal their resources and address regulatory, budgetary and
other issues in ways that advance
goals, he said.


White House National Security Council might be
best suited to take the lead in drafting such a framework, Hamel said.

He encouraged advocacy groups like the Aerospace Industries Association, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the Space Foundation to immediately begin developing ideas that can help guide the development of new strategies by the next president.

Developing a new strategy should be a priority for the next administration, regardless of whether a Republican or Democrat is elected to replace President George W. Bush, Hamel said.


“Sputnik was a watershed event,” Hamel said. While the United States has not seen “the modern day Sputnik that would galvanize action,” it cannot afford to wait for such an event, he said.