US: GPS expert Scott Pace has been chosen by the White House to serve as Executive Secretary of the National Space Council. Pace is currently working as the director of the Space Policy Institute and Professor of Practice of International Affairs at George Washington University(GWU).
He also serves as a special counselor to the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) Advisory Board.
Pace has a long career in space policy and is well known and highly respected in the community. Ever since the Trump Administration indicated that it would re-establish the Space Council, his is virtually the only name rumored to be in the running to serve as the head of its staff, according to the announcement on Space Policy Online.
The council was officially reestablished on June 30, and is chaired by Vice President Mike Pence. Pace was spotted at Kennedy Space Center last week where Pence addressed the KSC workforce, further fueling speculation that he would be appointed as head of the Space Council.
In its announcement, the White House said Pace has “honed his expertise in the areas of science, space, and technology” citing his career at GWU, NASA, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and the RAND Corporation’s Science and Technology Policy Institute.
Pace received a bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvey Mudd College, a master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics and Technology and Policy from MIT, and a Ph.D. in policy analysis from the RAND Graduate School.
During the George W. Bush Administration’s second term, Pace was NASA’s Associate Administrator for Program Analysis and Evaluation under then-NASA Administrator Mike Griffin. He was closely involved in formulating the Constellation program to return humans to the surface of the Moon and then going on to Mars.
His expertise is much broader, however. He was deputy director and acting director of the Office of Space Commerce at the Department of Commerce from 1990 to 1993, when that office reported to the Deputy Secretary of Commerce (instead of being part of NOAA as it is today).
He has been very active on GPS issues for many years, including protecting GPS spectrum at World Radiocommunications Conferences (WRCs) organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). He was a member of the U.S. delegation to the WRCs in 1997, 2000, 2003 and 2007.
He also has served as a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (2009 and 2011-2015). Today he is vice-chair of NOAA’s Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing, of which he has been a member for several years.
John Logsdon, who founded GWU’s Space Policy Institute and is Professor Emeritus there, said via email that he could think of “no one more qualified” to take on the “essential task of crafting a strategic approach to using U.S. space capabilities to advance this country’s geopolitical interests and to forge productive collaboration among all government space actors and the private sector.”
Mary Lynne Dittmar, president and CEO of the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration (CDSE), also praised the announcement.
“Dr. Pace’s unique combination of experience in government, the private sector, and academia, and his internationally-recognized expertise in space policy, make him an exemplary selection” for the position. She added that CDSE looks forward to working with “the Council, its staff, and the vice president’s office to support U.S. leadership and strategic interests in space.”
CDSE is an alliance of space industry businesses and advocacy groups that support deep space human exploration and science.