Back in April 2016, the American Space Renaissance Act was introduced by early Trump supporter Oklahoma GOP Representative Jim Bridenstine. The purpose of the act was “to permanently secure the United States as the preeminent spacefaring nation, and for other purposes.” It directed the President to develop: (1) a doctrine for the Armed Forces and the intelligence community governing the U.S. response to efforts by state and nonstate actors deliberately to deny the United States or its allies or partners access to space or space operations, or degrade or destroy any of their government or commercial space assets; and (2) a doctrine for the Armed Forces with respect to the rules of engagement for space forces. It failed.
In one of his first actions after inauguration, Trump deployed his NASA “beach head” team which included Gregory Kennedy, Justice Kennedy’s son, as chief financial advisor. Charles Bolden and Dava Newman, stepped down as administrator and deputy administrator as soon as Trump took over. What followed was the longest period NASA was without a permanent leader, 229 days. Robert Lightfoot acted as acting administrator.
Finally, in September, Trump announced his pick to head NASA that made even Sen. Marco Rubio’s eyebrows rise. It was none other than Rep. Jim Bridenstine. The former naval aviator is a long time space enthusiast, a former executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum and Planetarium, and sat on the House Armed Services Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee. But he has no scientific credentials.
Nine months later, Trump ordered the Pentagon to create the Space Command just as described in Bridenstine’s measure rejected by Congress. Creating a new joint military command is largely the purview of Congress, which would have to provide the authority and any funding or shifting of money to a new unit. But as we have all know, Trump isn’t bothered by such details.