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Space Watch

Report From Washington

On July 31, the Space Foundation, with the National Defense Industrial Association, hosted the third Congressional Space Power Caucus breakfast of 2008.  The featured speaker was Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He addressed issues related to balancing quality and quantity in developing our space architecture, including deconfliction in space, space situational awareness, the creation of the Joint Space Operations Center, and the contested space environment. Participants in the breakfast included members of Congress from both sides of the aisle and both houses of Congress, senior national security space military and civilian leaders, key congressional staff, and senior industry representatives.

The Space Foundation's Washington, D.C., office also joined team members from Headquarters on July 21 for the first day of the Space Discovery Institute in Charles County, Md.  Presenting to participating educators, they spoke about the global space industry and the economic impact of space activities, space activities in the U.S. and internationally, as well as how space-related policy and law is developed and executed.  The presentations provided a broad contextual foundation of modern space activities for the content teachers studied throughout the week.

On July 8, the Space Foundation hosted a Space Foundation Correspondent's Group event in Washington, D.C., with Col. John Riordan, USAF, director of Space Operations, U.S. Air Force Headquarters.  Riordan spoke about his experiences supporting space activities in conjunction with Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In Congress, the impending August recess and continued partisan tensions have made consideration difficult for many pieces of legislation. Including a number of space policy-related pieces.  In addition to passage in the House of the fiscal year (FY) 2009 Defense Authorization and NASA Authorization in June, the House passed their version of the FY 2009 Intelligence Authorization in mid July; however, all three bills still await consideration by the Senate. 

The House Appropriations Committee approved legislation for commerce, justice, and science, and related agencies in late June, with NASA and NOAA receiving slight increases over the requested budget levels, similar to a corresponding bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee.  In both chambers' bills, NASA is slated to receive approximately $17.8 billion, with NOAA receiving $4.3 billion in the House version and $4.45 billion in the Senate version.  Leadership in both the Senate and the House have committed to sending FY2009 defense appropriations legislation to the President, but neither chamber's committee has taken up a bill.

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