Filling the Vacuum: Harnessing Innovation & Securing Space

Van Metre Hall
July 16
12:00 – 3:00 PM

Jamil N. Jaffer, NSI Founder and Executive Director, and former Chair of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, NSI Advisory Board Member, and former Rep. Mike Rogers discussed the “Securing the Highest Ground, Integrating Commercial Space Innovation into National Security Missions” report written by Rep. Rogers and Glenn Nye, President & CEO of the Center for the Study of the Presidency & Congress on July 16. Professor Jaffer and Rep. Rogers discussed the importance of a more robust and rapid space industry. Specifically, Rep. Rogers stressed the need for a rapid launch pattern that focuses on private industries that are qualified bidding for space contracts to increase competition, lower costs, and lead to greater innovation. This is in contrast with the current culture and practices of the United States government, which is focused on mission assurance and actively fights against failure. Rep. Rogers stressed that the space industry, both public and private, needs to fail fast and fail often in order to innovate new technologies and to deter adversaries from interfering. Rep. Rogers shared that it took 400,000 people to achieve the moon landing in 1969, and since then the space industry has become smaller and more condensed in its capabilities. By doubling the number of people working in space, costs will be driven down, an industrial base will be encouraged, and new capabilities will be filled.

Following the fireside chat, NSI Senior Fellow Bryan Smith, Former Budget Director, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence led a discussion, featuring Retired Colonel Lars Hoffman, Senior Vice President, Rocket Lab; Adrian Mangiuca, Commerce Director, NanoRacks; and Jeff Trauberman, Vice President of Government Affairs, VOX Space. These panelists discussed the advantage of harnessing innovation, agility, and cost advantage of commercial companies. The panelists came from different backgrounds of “old space” (traditional space companies), “new space” (up and coming companies), and the government. Despite their backgrounds, the panelists stressed the need for a hybrid architecture of the space industry. They also spoke about the importance of both “old space” and “new space” working together to enhance national security and global commerce.  Watch the entire discussion below.