Few who follow Congress were surprised recently when Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) stepped up quickly to co-sponsor the American Space Renaissance Act.
The bill, authored by Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), sets out an ambitious program to secure the United States’ position as the world’s most prominent and powerful space-faring nation. The bill encompasses national security, along with civil and commercial space policies, and pushes for a wide-ranging effort to ensure the nation will not take a step back in the face of adversaries’ technology developments.
Lamborn has pushed for continued U.S. space preeminence since being elected to Congress in 2007, advocating for the nation’s security while representing his constituents in Colorado’s Fifth District. The Fifth includes Schriever Air Force Base, home of the Joint Interagency Combined Space Operations Center (JICSpOC).
Much of how the United States’ operates in space is being explored and tested at the JICSpOC.
Lamborn’s concern about that future was expressed in his teaming with Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) in reviving the Space Power Caucus in the House in January of last year. Designed as a tool to educate Congress about developments in space, the caucus was established in 1981, when Congressmen sensed a waning of enthusiasm as the accomplishments of NASA’s Apollo moon landing and other missions faded in memory.
It went dormant in 2011 after the Space Shuttle program ended. The caucus’ revival was seen as a logical step for Lamborn considering the changes in the space environment and actions by potential adversaries.
“Our national security is at risk in space, for a variety of reasons, and it is vital that members of Congress understand the importance of space for our nation’s safety, security and prosperity,” Lamborn said in announcing – with Schiff – the reestablishment of the Space Power Caucus. “The United States must maintain our asymmetric advantage in space, and that won’t happen without Congressional support and oversight.”
Shortly after reestablishing the caucus, Lamborn wrote an op-ed piece for The Hill newspaper in which he said, “It would be nice to believe that space is a place of peace and science, but it is all too clear that at least two of our potential adversaries are weaponizing space. The United States must take these threats seriously and respond accordingly in order to defend ourselves and our allies while deterring potential adversaries from acting irresponsibly in space.”
He went on to cite jamming of GPS signals and satellite communications, as well as the potential for damaging U.S. satellites with ground-based lasers and destroying satellites with missiles. SatCom Frontier highlighted Lamborn’s efforts to mitigate space threats in a story last summer.
Space is becoming an increasingly congested and contested space. The space posture of the United States is a critical part the nation’s security. Understanding that fact drove Rep. Bridenstine’s American Space Renaissance Act, and is why Rep. Lamborn quickly stepped up to add his name to the bill.