- Tuesday, 23 April, 2019
11:00 - 12:30
Space Power in the 21st Century
Marking the launch of Policy Exchange’s new Space Policy Unit
Hon. Heather Wilson
U.S. Secretary of the Air Force
Vote of Thanks by:
Rt. Hon. Lord Willetts
Former Minister for Universities and Science
Policy Exchange was privileged to host Hon Heather Wilson, the US Secretary of the Air Force for the launch of our new Space Policy Unit.
The Policy Exchange Space Policy Unit, the first such outfit of any UK think tank, will champion a comprehensive development of UK “space power” as a critical component of the UK national interest in the 21st century. Our goal is to take Britain’s space ambitions to the next level, and to build a strong, exciting vision for UK in space that can be taken up by Government and Parliament in the years ahead.
There is a significant disconnect between Britain’s current global standing as a P5 and G7 military (including cyber) and economic power and its comparatively limited sovereign capabilities (and public investment) in space. Our Space Policy Unit will take a 360-degree approach to this challenge. Apart from the cornerstone aspects of space defence and security, our work programme will also explore the economic/industrial policy requirements for building a strong national space programme, exploring the way Britain can best contribute to the shaping of international norms in space and use its evolving space power in support of its global interests and those of its allies.
The new Unit will be led by Gabriel Elefteriu, Policy Exchange’s Head of Space Policy, and looks to engage with partners from across industry, government, academia and the not-for-profit sector.
About the Hon. Heather Wilson
Secretary Wilson oversees the Air Force’s annual budget of more than $138 billion and directs strategy and policy development, risk management, weapons acquisition, technology investments and human resource management across a global enterprise. From 1998 to 2009, Wilson was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, where she served on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Energy and Commerce Committee. From 1989 to 1991, Wilson served on the National Security Council staff as director for defense policy and arms control for President George H.W. Bush during the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Warsaw Pact.
Secretary Wilson’s portfolio includes the oversight of America’s military space capability and in this capacity she has been at the heart of the debate over the Trump administration’s proposed Space Force.
Against a background of increasing competition in outer space – most recently illustrated by China’s mission to the far side of the Moon and by India’s anti-satellite test in late March – the Secretary’s timely address focused on the critical role of space in supporting and advancing national strategy.