Presidential Decisions: NSC Documents from the Clinton Administration

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The William J. Clinton Administration had pledged to reduce the size of the President’s staff; it disbanded the NSpC upon taking office and transferred space policy responsibilities back to NSC and OSTP while creating a new National Science and Technology Council (NSTC).  The administration continued the practice of developing specific subsector policies, issuing important statements on foreign access to U.S. commercial remote sensing capabilities in Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) 23 in March 1994, convergence of polar-orbiting environmental satellites in NSTC 2 in May 1994, Landsat remote sensing policy in NSTC 3 in May 1994, national space transportation policy in NSTC 4 in August 1994, and Global Positioning System policy in NSTC 6 in March 1996.

In September 1993 the Clinton Administration announced that the Russian Federation would join the International Space Station effort and abide by the terms of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).  The Clinton Administration’s comprehensive national space policy issued in September 1996 reemphasized the United States would maintain a leadership role in space by supporting a strong, stable, and balanced program across all space activity sectors and was once again very consistent with previous national space policies stretching back to the Eisenhower Administration.  Areas of different or increased emphasis included responsibilities for: NASA and other agencies to develop sensors and acquire data to closely observe and make predictions about Earth’s environment; DoD to foster integration and interoperability of satellite control for all governmental space activities; and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency to identify arms control issues and opportunities for equitable and effectively verifiable measures that would enhance the security of the United States and its allies.

PDD-NSC 23 U.S. Policy on Foreign Access to Remote Sensing Space Capabilities, 10 Mar 1994

Releases remote sensing satellite images and technology systems to a public market under government regulation to secure sensitive information for national security purposes.

  • Press Release
  • Fact Sheet

 

PDD-NSTC 2 Convergence of U.S. Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite Systems, 10 May 1994

Combines civil and military polar-orbiting environmental satellite systems.  States that critical environmental data may be selectively distributed in times of crisis or war to protect national security interests.

  • Directive
  • Fact Sheet
  • Press Release

 

PDD-NSTC 3 Landsat Remote Sensing Strategy, 10 May 1994 

Recommends plan to maintain Landsat satellites.  Cites the necessity of the data produced by Landsat to such users as the Department of Defense.

  • Fact Sheet

 

PDD-NSTC 4 National Space Transportation Policy, 5 Aug 94

Designates Department of Defense as the main agency responsible to improve and evolve the expendable launch vehicle.  Outlines the guidelines for national security space transportation.

  • Directive
  • Press Release
  • Fact Sheet


PDD-NSTC 6 U.S. Global Positioning System Policy, 29 Mar 1994

Defines participating agencies’ roles in administering the United States’ Global Positioning System in a manner that protects national interests and military use and promotes civil, commercial and scientific applications.  Authorizes the Department of Defense to continue the primary operation and maintenance of the system.

  • Fact Sheet

 

 PDD-NSC 49 (PDD-NSTC 8) National Space Policy, 19 Sep 1996

Promotes “peaceful uses” of space and does not exclude military or intelligence uses.  Addresses national security, defense and intelligence space guidelines. Acknowledges the importance to minimize space debris.

  • Fact Sheet
  • Press Release

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