RELEASE: A New Administration Must Leave NASA in Charge of America’s Space Program

Washington, D.C. — The next few years will be pivotal for the success of America’s space program. A new analysis from the Center for American Progress argues that the next administration needs to send a clear and early signal that NASA leads America’s national effort in space—not the U.S. Department of Defense or the newly created U.S. Space Force.

“The bombast surrounding the creation of the Space Force has undercut the primacy of NASA and other civilian space agencies,” said Peter Juul, a senior policy analyst at CAP. “It will be up to the next administration to tone down this rhetoric and restore NASA to its rightful place as the face of America’s overall space policy.”

The 2020s will define the U.S. space program for decades to come. The next administration’s decisions will determine whether American astronauts travel to Mars and whether the United States maintains or relinquishes its status as the world’s leading spacefaring nation.

The president must make clear that the main thrust of America’s space program remains civilian—not military—in nature and intent. That means normalizing the Space Force as a routine agency that does not dominate or define America’s space effort. The next president must reaffirm NASA as the nation’s lead space agency.

Read the issue brief: “Taking Advantage of a Pivotal Decade in Outer Space” by Peter Juul

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at  or 202-478-6327.