Vice President Kamala Harris’ role as the head of the National Space Council is prescribed by law, but that doesn’t mean she and her boss at the White House had to take it seriously.
The space council’s role as a forum for coordinating federal space policy goes back to the Eisenhower administration. But it languished in hibernation for a couple of decades until its revival by the Trump White House, with Vice President Mike Pence filling the statutory role of chairman. Under Pence’s leadership, the council conducted public hearings and drew up seven policy directives on matters ranging from moon exploration to nukes in space.
Today Harris confirmed in a tweet that she’ll keep the ball rolling during the Biden administration:
As I've said before: In America, when we shoot for the moon, we plant our flag on it. I am honored to lead our National Space Council.
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) May 1, 2021
During a background briefing for reporters, senior administration officials said Harris won’t be a mere figurehead.
The vice president “intends to put her own personal stamp on the concept,” one official said. (The briefing was conducted under the condition that the senior officials would not be identified further.)