Citizens' Advisory Council on National Space Policy

The Citizen's Advisory Council on National Space Policy was a group of prominent US citizens concerned with the space policy of the United States of America. It is no longer active.


The Council's roots date to 1980 as a group which prepared many of the Reagan Administration Transition Team's space policy papers.[1] The Council was formally created in 1981 by joint action of the American Astronautical Society and the L5 Society to develop a detailed and technically feasible space policy to further the national interest.[2] Participant Gregory Benford would in 1994 describe the activities of the council:[3]

The Council, a raucous bunch with feisty opinions, met at the spacious home of science fiction author Larry Niven. The men mostly talked hard-edge tech, the women policy. Pournelle stirred the pot and turned up the heat. Amid the buffet meals, saunas and hot tubs, well-stocked open bar, and myriad word processors, fancies simmered and ideas cooked, some emerging better than half-baked...Finally, we settled on recommending a position claiming at least the moral high ground, if not high orbits. Defense was inevitably more stabilizing than relying on hair-trigger offense, we argued. It was also more principled. And eventually, the Soviet Union might not even be the enemy, we said - though we had no idea it would fade so fast. When that happened, defenses would still be useful against any attacker, especially rogue nations bent on a few terrorist attacks. There were plenty of science fiction stories, some many decades old, dealing with that possibility. The Advisory Council met in August of 1984 in a mood of high celebration. Their pioneering work had yielded fruits unimaginable in 1982 - Reagan himself had proposed the Strategic Defense Initiative, suggesting that nuclear weapons be made "impotent and obsolete". The Soviets were clearly staggered by the prospect. (Years later I heard straight from a senior Soviet advisor that the U.S. SDI had been the straw that broke the back of the military's hold on foreign policy. That seems to be the consensus now among the diplomatic community, though politically SDI is a common whipping boy, its funding cut.)


November, 1980
July, 1983
May 9–11, 1986
August 10, 1997


Spring, 1981

28 September 1983. Substantial portions of this report were later published in the book Mutual Assured Survival (Baen Books, 1984) by Jerry Pournelle and Dean Ing.

Spring, 1986

February 15, 1989

March 20, 1994


Jerry Pournelle, Chairman


Buzz Aldrin, Gerald Carr, Fred Haise, Phil Chapman, Pete Conrad

Aerospace industry

George Merrick (North American Rockwell, Space Division), George Gould, Gordon Woodcock, Gary Hudson, George Koopman, Maxwell Hunter, Art Dula

Space scientists and engineers

Lowell Wood, G. Harry Stine, Eric Laursen, Chuck Lindley, James Benford, Maxwell Hunter, George Gould

Military officers (retired)

Lt. General Daniel O. Graham, USA Ret'd; Brigadier General Robert Richardson, USAF Ret'd; Major General Stewart Meyer; USA Ret'd, Col. Jack Coakley, USA Ret'd; Col. Francis X. Kane, USAF Ret'd.

Computer scientists

Marvin Minsky, Danny Hillis, John McCarthy, David Mitchell

Science fiction authors and publishers

Poul Anderson, Greg Bear, Robert A. Heinlein, Gregory Benford, Dean Ing, Steven Barnes, Jim Baen, Larry Niven


Stefan T. Possony, Bjo Trimble, Alexander C. Pournelle, James Miller Vaughn, Jr.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ pg278-279 of "Old Legends" (published in the 1994 anthology Old Legends)
  • Pournelle, Jerry; Ing, Dean (1984), Mutual Assured Survival, Baen Books, ISBN 0-671-55923-0
Daniel O. Graham

Daniel O. Graham (April 13, 1925 – December 31, 1995) was a U.S. Army officer. Graham was born in Portland, Oregon and grew up in Medford. He attended college at the United States Military Academy at West Point, the army's Command and General Staff College, and graduated in 1946. He also attended the U.S. Army War College and ultimately rose to the rank of lieutenant general in the United States Army. Graham served in Germany, Korea, and Vietnam and received several decorations including some of the highest the United States military bestows: the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, and the Distinguished Intelligence Medal during his distinguished 30-year military career.

Dean Ing

Dean Charles Ing (born 1931) is an American author, who usually writes in the science fiction and techno-thriller genres. His novel The Ransom of Black Stealth One (1989) was a New York Times bestseller. He is a former member of the Citizens' Advisory Council on National Space Policy. He has authored more than 30 novels. He has also co-authored novels with his friends Jerry Pournelle, S. M. Stirling, and Leik Myrabo.

Ing is a United States Air Force veteran (where he served as a USAF interceptor crew chief), a former aerospace engineer, and a university professor who holds a doctorate in Communications Theory. He has been a techno-triller genre writer since 1977. Following the death of science fiction author Mack Reynolds in 1983, Ing was asked to finish several of Reynolds' uncompleted manuscripts.

G. Harry Stine

George Harry Stine (March 26, 1928 – November 2, 1997) was one of the founding figures of model rocketry, a science and technology writer, and (under the name Lee Correy) a science fiction author.

Jerry Pournelle

Jerry Eugene Pournelle (; August 7, 1933 – September 8, 2017) was an American polymath: scientist in the area of operations research and human factors research, science fiction writer, essayist, journalist, and one of the first bloggers. In the 1960s and early 1970s he worked in the aerospace industry, but eventually focused on his writing career. In an obituary in gizmodo, he is described as "a tireless ambassador for the future."Pournelle is particularly known for writing hard science fiction, and received multiple awards for his writing. In addition to his solo writing, he wrote several novels with collaborators, most notably Larry Niven. Pournelle served a term as President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.Pournelle's journalism focused primarily on the computer industry, astronomy, and space exploration. From the 1970s until the early 1990s, he contributed to the computer magazine Byte, writing from the viewpoint of an intelligent user, with the oft-cited credo, “We do this stuff so you won’t have to.” He created one of the first blogs, entitled "Chaos Manor", which included commentary about politics, computer technology, space technology, and science fiction.

Pournelle was also known for his paleoconservative political views, which were sometimes expressed in his fiction. He was one of the founders of the Citizens' Advisory Council on National Space Policy, which developed some of the Reagan Administration's space initiatives, including the earliest versions of what would become the Strategic Defense Initiative.

Jim Baen

James Patrick Baen (| beɪn |; October 22, 1943 – June 28, 2006) was a U.S. science fiction publisher and editor. In 1983, he founded his own publishing house, Baen Books, specializing in the adventure, fantasy, military science fiction, and space opera genres. Baen also founded the video game publisher, Baen Software. In late 1999, he started an electronic publishing business called Webscriptions (since renamed to Baen Ebooks), which is considered to be the first profitable e-book vendor.

Larry Niven

Laurence van Cott Niven (; born April 30, 1938) is an American science fiction writer. His best-known work is Ringworld (1970), which received Hugo, Locus, Ditmar, and Nebula awards. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America named him the 2015 recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award. His work is primarily hard science fiction, using big science concepts and theoretical physics. It also often includes elements of detective fiction and adventure stories. His fantasy includes the series The Magic Goes Away, rational fantasy dealing with magic as a non-renewable resource.

Maxwell Hunter

Maxwell White Hunter II (March 11, 1922 – November 10, 2001) was a prominent American aerospace engineer. He worked on the design of the Douglas B-42 and Douglas B-43 bombers, the Honest John, Nike-Ajax, and Nike-Zeus missiles, the Thor IRBM, and on parts of the Strategic Defense Initiative.s

In later years he worked on space-launch vehicles and was a proponent of Single-stage-to-orbit (SSTO) designs. He was honored in 1995 by the National Space Society for lifelong contributions to the technology of spaceflight.

Pandora's Box (TV series)

Pandora's Box, subtitled A Fable From the Age of Science, is a BBC television documentary series by Adam Curtis looking at the consequences of political and technocratic rationalism. It won a BAFTA for Best Factual Series in 1993.Curtis deals with, in order: Communism in the Soviet Union, systems analysis and game theory during the Cold War, economy of the United Kingdom during the 1970s, the insecticide DDT, Kwame Nkrumah's leadership in Ghana in the 1950s, and the history of nuclear power.

The documentary makes extensive use of clips from the short film Design for Dreaming, especially in the title sequence. Curtis's later series The Century of the Self and The Trap have similar themes to Pandora's Box.

Philip K. Chapman

Philip Kenyon Chapman (born 5 March 1935) was the first Australian-born American astronaut, serving for about five years in NASA Astronaut Group 6 (1967).

Poul Anderson

Poul William Anderson (November 25, 1926 – July 31, 2001) was an American science fiction author who began his career in the 1940s and continued to write into the 21st century. Anderson authored several works of fantasy, historical novels, and short stories. His awards include seven Hugo Awards and three Nebula Awards.

Robert A. Heinlein

Robert Anson Heinlein (; July 7, 1907 – May 8, 1988) was an American science-fiction writer, aeronautical engineer, and retired Naval officer. Often called the "dean of science fiction writers", He was among the first to emphasize scientific accuracy in his fiction, and was thus a pioneer of the subgenre of hard science fiction. His work continues to have an influence on the science-fiction genre, and on modern culture more generally.

Heinlein became one of the first American science-fiction writers to break into mainstream magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post in the late 1940s. He was one of the best-selling science-fiction novelists for many decades, and he, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke are often considered the "Big Three" of English-language science fiction authors. Notable Heinlein works include Stranger in a Strange Land, Starship Troopers (which helped mould the space marine and mecha archetypes) and The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. His work sometimes had controversial aspects, such as plural marriage in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, militarism in Starship Troopers and technologically-competent women characters that were strong and independent, yet often stereotypically feminine - such as Friday.

A writer also of numerous science-fiction short stories, Heinlein was one of a group of writers who came to prominence under the editorship (1937-1971) of John W. Campbell at Astounding Science Fiction magazine, though Heinlein denied that Campbell influenced his writing to any great degree.

Within the framework of his science-fiction stories, Heinlein repeatedly addressed certain social themes: the importance of individual liberty and self-reliance, the obligation individuals owe to their societies, the influence of organized religion on culture and government, and the tendency of society to repress nonconformist thought. He also speculated on the influence of space travel on human cultural practices.

Heinlein was named the first Science Fiction Writers Grand Master in 1974. Four of his novels won Hugo Awards. In addition, fifty years after publication, seven of his works were awarded "Retro Hugos"—awards given retrospectively for works that were published before the Hugo Awards came into existence. In his fiction, Heinlein coined terms that have become part of the English language, including "grok", "waldo", and "speculative fiction", as well as popularizing existing terms like "TANSTAAFL", "pay it forward", and "space marine". He also anticipated mechanical computer-aided design with "Drafting Dan" and described a modern version of a waterbed in his novel The Door into Summer, though he never patented nor built one. In the first chapter of the novel Space Cadet he anticipated the cell-phone, 35 years before Motorola invented the technology. Several of Heinlein's works have been adapted for film and television.

Space advocacy

Space advocacy is supporting or advocating for space exploration, space colonization and private spaceflight. There are many different individuals and organizations dedicated to space advocacy. They are usually active in educating the public on space related subjects, lobbying governments for increased funding in space-related activities or supporting private space activities. They also recruit members, fund projects, and provide information for their membership and interested visitors. They are sub-divided into three categories depending on their primary work: practice, advocacy, and theory.

Space policy

Space policy is the political decision-making process for, and application of, public policy of a state (or association of states) regarding spaceflight and uses of outer space, both for civilian (scientific and commercial) and military purposes. International treaties, such as the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, attempt to maximize the peaceful uses of space and restrict the militarization of space.

Space policy intersects with science policy, since national space programs often perform or fund research in space science, and also with defense policy, for applications such as spy satellites and anti-satellite weapons. It also encompasses government regulation of third-party activities such as commercial communications satellites and private spaceflight.Space policy also encompasses the creation and application of space law, and space advocacy organizations exist to support the cause of space exploration.

Stefan Thomas Possony

Stefan Thomas Possony (March 15, 1913 – April 26, 1995) was an Austrian-born US economist and military strategist and a Senior Fellow and director of International Studies at the Hoover Institution.

He conceived the US Strategic Defense Initiative.

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