Enlarge /. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a memorial public service for former astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn at Ohio State University on December 17, 2016.
Paul Vernon / AFP via Getty Images
On Tuesday, about a dozen space officials met virtually to simulate how a National Space Council might work during a Joe Biden administration if the Democratic Party candidate wins the 2020 presidential election.
The American Foreign Policy Council convened a so-called "closed" and "scenario-based simulation" to understand how the Biden administration would think through major space events. Invitations were sent to aerospace officials who the Biden administration could use as advisors or to fill important leadership roles. The event was not organized on behalf of the Biden campaign.
At the invitation of the nonprofit to potential attendees, it was stated that they would be assigned various roles, such as NASA administrator and the head of other agencies such as the Department of Defense and Commerce. The participants would then act as the "National Space Council" for war game scenarios.
"The simulation moderator will make predictable headlines from year to year, and the members of the National Space Council will role-play and discuss how they would react in any situation," the invitation reads. "We hope to have about 12 knowledgeable people across the space company who can convincingly role-play interests and answers and develop forward-thinking policy ideas under a democratic administration, as well as people who are likely to be part of the brain trust of such administration." . ""
The meeting was not open to the public and was conducted according to the Chatham house rule. Two sources, familiar with what happened, therefore declined to provide details. ""It was a great group of people who were well executed in terms of possible future scenarios that might arise in an upcoming administration, "said a source." It was a healthy, serious dialogue that was respectful and well done. "
About a dozen officers attended. Attendees included two former astronauts, Charlie Bolden and Pam Melroy, who have been involved in space policy since retirement. Bolden was a NASA administrator under President Obama. Also there were two former senior NASA officials – Mike French, chief of staff under Bolden, and Doug Loverro, chief of human space for the Trump administration. Loverro was forced to resign in February and is currently being investigated for improper contact with Boeing. Industry also attended the meeting, including entrepreneur Rick Tumlinson and Marc Berkowitz from Lockheed Martin.
Although some of the participants in the meeting may be involved in a future Biden administration, sources say there are still no formal advisors for the space-specific campaign. Such a group is expected to be named after the election, should Biden win to lead his transition team on space-related issues.