Revitalizing the Space Council

After the December meetings in which a new space role for the vice presi­dent was discussed, it took several months to sort out just what Kennedy had in mind in this regard. The Bureau of the Budget (BOB) staff in early January drafted a white paper on options for implementing the president­elect’s intent. The paper noted that “a way needs to be found to strengthen Presidential leadership of space activities without requiring an inordinate concentration on such matters to the detriment of the performance of other

Presidential responsibilities.” It suggested that “the President does not need to delegate decision-making on space matters”; rather, “he needs an assistant of stature, without agency ties, who can take the lead in seeing that plans and policies are formulated in the broad national interest and that agencies work together efficiently to this end.” To achieve this, the paper suggested, “the Vice President can provide the necessary assistance by serving essentially as a Presidential assistant on space matters and presiding over the [Space] Council.” The staff paper suggested that there was no immediate need for statutory changes; rather, the president could simply assign responsibility for chairing the Space Council to the vice president, even though he was not by law a member of the Council.