WASHINGTON — Sierra Space has created a group of former government officials, including a retired vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a NASA deputy administrator, to advise the company as it seeks to win national security business.

The company announced July 26 the creation of the eight-person National Security Advisory Group. The committee will advise Sierra Space on national security threats and technology trends and potential solutions the company could offer.

The group is chaired by James F. Geurts, who retired from the government last August after serving for several months as the acting undersecretary of the U.S. Navy. He previously was the Navy’s acquisition chief and held positions in the U.S. Special Operations Command.

“Forming this National Security Advisory Group is the logical next step for Sierra Space, as it brings together the most innovative and pioneering minds in the industry to help ensure the safety and security of space,” Geurts said in a statement.

Other members of the group include:

  • William M. Fraser III, a retired U.S. Air Force general who was vice chief of staff for the Air Force in 2008 to 2009 and commander of U.S. Transportation Command;
  • Lori Garver, who was NASA deputy administrator from 2009 to 2013;
  • Susan Gordon, principal deputy director of national intelligence from 2017 to 2019;
  • David E. Hamilton, Jr., former director of the Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office;
  • Paul Selva, a retired Air Force General who was vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2015 to 2019;
  • William “Mac” Thornberry, a retired congressman who was chairman of the House Armed Services Committee; and
  • Stephen W. Wilson, a retired Air Force general who was vice chief of staff of the Air Force from 2016 to 2020.

“As we develop a robust and vibrant commercial space economy where thousands of people are living and working in space, we must ensure its freedom, safety and security,” Tom Vice, chief executive of Sierra Space, said in a statement. “Utilizing the deep expertise of our advisory group, we will better understand the challenges – including debris – and invent and deploy solutions that affordably and effectively neutralize these challenges.”

Sierra Space is best known for developing the Dream Chaser vehicle that will initially deliver cargo to the International Space Station and for partnering with Blue Origin on the Orbital Reef commercial space station project. Company executives have previously discussed, though, developing a version of Dream Chaser for national security applications.

In an interview in April, Vice confirmed that the company has talked with the national security space community about a Dream Chaser variant, but declined to discuss specifics about what capabilities it would have or what missions it could perform. “I would just say it is an engaging two-way conversation,” he said.

Jeff Foust writes about space policy, commercial space, and related topics for SpaceNews. He earned a Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree with honors in geophysics and planetary science...