Maintaining and advancing an international leadership role in space is an essential component of national security for the United States, according to a new report published by TASC, Inc. The report details ways in which NASA can strengthen the country's national space security posture, foster international collaboration and benefit the economy, even during times of budget austerity.
With approximately 60 nations now operating in space and the expertise of other space agencies on the rise, U.S. space technological superiority is rapidly being challenged. Maintaining U.S. leadership in space is complicated by the fact that NASA, the Department of Defense, the intelligence community and the private-sector aerospace industry all face stagnant or declining budgets for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, as the luster of the space shuttle and moon missions fades, many Americans wonder whether space exploration remains essential to our nation's future.
"As more nations and private entities enter the expanding space frontier, it remains crucial that we continue to play a leadership role in space," says Bob Silsby, vice president of Business and Technology at TASC. "U.S. strength in space is essential not only for our own national security, but also for peaceful international cooperation and innovation in aerospace technology."
To support its essential to national security claims, the report cited a threat to the U.S. Aerospace Industrial base:
"Today’s federal climate of austerity also threatens the health of the aerospace industrial base that provides essential support to both NASA and the national security community. The U.S. aerospace industry is heavily dependent on government expenditures and its current commercial sales may not be enough to sustain it during a period of government reductions, threatening loss of critical expertise and essential capabilities. If the aerospace space industry loses too much capacity, it could become impossible to rebuild national security capabilities in a timely fashion if we are ever required to do so to meet new threats.
NASA’s heritage and expertise in space has a unique role to play in developing the U.S. commercial space sector and shepherding it into a new age. Congress declared in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 1985 “that the general welfare of the United States requires that the Administration seek and encourage, to the maximum extent possible, the fullest commercial use of space.” Combining this undertaking with NASA’s other missions and diverse capabilities creates a strategic opportunity for industrial development."
"NASA's ability to advance aerospace technologies impacts everything from the security of our existing space infrastructure to the development of items most Americans use every day, such as GPS-enabled cell phones," says Darin Skelly, TASC account manager for the civil space market.
Founded in 1966, TASC, Inc., helps solve complex national security and public safety challenges by providing advanced systems engineering, integration and decision-support services to the Intelligence Community, Department of Defense and civilian agencies of the federal government. With about 5,000 employees in 40 locations, TASC generates more than $1.5 billion in annual revenue.
SOURCE TASC, Inc.