Tuesday, May 02, 2017

How can NASA benefit from America's love of defense?

In recent years funding and policy maker enthusiasm for NASA projects has been inconsistent and spotty. NASA’s numerous projects, not just the most publicly visible space exploration ventures, are vital to the U.S.’s current and continuing national security. There are many reasons for congressional unwillingness to reliably and substantially fund NASA. Among these is competition with the Department of Defense (and other agencies) for funding for (at least superficially) similar project portfolios.

One way NASA could increase its influence in Washington and attract more attention and funding is to portray itself more favorably. Clearly, Congress likes the military and so Congress gets lots of money. Congress (and the public) hold the military in high esteem for many reasons. Perhaps NASA should seek to emulate the military in its self-presentation.

While there are limitations to the militarization of space, and that development is not one of NASA’s core goals, there is nothing stopping NASA from making cosmetic changes.

NASA should adopt snazzy, martial uniforms for employees who make public appearances. These uniforms should be futuristic but avoid easy pitfalls like looking too much like Star Trek uniforms. Starfleet is far too peace loving and unsexy to attract funding. While NASA’s mission and projects may be very futuristic and cutting edge by nature their public image, aside from the cool factor of rockets, is simply far too boring and civilian.

For a moment, pretend you are an influential Representative or Senator considering the U.S.' budget. Consider the public profile and appearances of various federal institutions as you contemplate cuts and deficits.

NASA as it is today. Intelligent, friendly and boring. Small plastic models of satellites - unimpressive and low energy. Very difficult to justify spending billions on.

NASA if they simply adopted similar uniform standards as the Navy. An image which summons thoughts like; adventure, excitement, return on investment, national security, cool. Easy to justify funding for.

What NASA could be. Fantastic, futuristic, cutting edge, mirroring the strength and martial spirit of the United States. A future any sane politician can invest in. This is a NASA engineer with a blank cheque.
The future of American space supremacy depends on a sturdy investment in the future.

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