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Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Washington, D.C.

1:29 P.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you all.  Thank you for that wonderful, warm welcome.  And let me thank Mark Holmes for his kind introduction.  But I also want to thank Tory Bruno of the United Launch Alliance for the other introduction.  I haven’t gotten two good introductions at a single event in a long time.  Give them both a big round of applause.  They are important voices in this industry and they’re great friends.  (Applause.)

It is a great honor to be with all of you today.  And all of you who are gathered here are extraordinary leaders.  You’re innovators.  You’re pioneers.  You’re the men and women who are helping to forge our future in space.  And it’s my great honor, nearly 30 years and running, to be here at the 2019 Satellite Conference with people that are crafting the future in space.  Give yourselves a round of applause.  (Applause.)

You know, since day one of our administration, we’ve worked to restore America’s proud leadership in space, because America’s leadership is essential to our nation’s security, our prosperity, and our very way of life.

So let me begin by bringing greetings from a man who is securing American leadership here on Earth and in the vast heavens above.  I bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump.  (Applause.)

In his Inaugural Address to the nation a little more than two years ago, President Trump declared, in his words, that America stood “at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space.”

From the first days of this administration, we’ve been standing with those who’ve been supporting America’s renewed leadership in space.  But we’ve also been working to get our economy moving again.  And the businesses represented here don’t need me to tell you about the impact that it’s had on our economy.

Over the last two and a half years, I’m proud to report, we’ve rolled back more federal red tape than any administration in American history in a similar period of time.  We’ve unleashed American energy.  We’ve negotiated new and fair and reciprocal trade deals.  And we passed tax cuts for individuals and businesses across America, and the American economy is roaring, including businesses just like those represented here.  (Applause.)

It’s amazing to think, with the job numbers that just came out — 5.8 million new jobs created over the last two and a half years, including more than 260,000 jobs in the month of April alone, I’m proud to report.  And I want to thank the companies that represented here in those numbers — that more Americans are working today than ever before.  And our technology industry is helping lead the way for renewed American prosperity.  (Applause.)  And we thank you.

But what brings us here today is that companies in the commercial space industry have not only been an important part of our economic success, you also are critical to the success of our nation and to the advancement of our ideals in the vast expanse of space.

The work that each of you do here on Earth, in the skies, and in space spurs scientific discovery, drives innovation, and then fills the rising generation with wonder and pride.

Space companies have driven incredible economic growth here in the United States and, frankly, around the world.  Just two years ago, the satellite industry alone generated $350 billion in revenue.  And studies predict that number will increase to more than a trillion dollars annually over the next two decades.

And around the globe, space is recognized as an industry of the future in particular.  Eighteen billion dollars has been invested in companies throughout the space industry in the last decade and — with the majority of that funding, I’m proud to say, going to companies right here in the United States.

But it’s not just about growth and revenues and income.  Space industry, as all of you know, also improves the lives of our people in countless ways.

It makes the marvel of global positioning possible.  And while most Americans use GPS to find the quickest route to work, this technology also provides critical information to our warfighters; it gives them the ability to dominate the battlefield when they need to fight and win.

We’ve witnessed the power of commercial satellites to re-connect isolated communities in the wake of natural disasters, providing vital emergency communication between those impacted and with first responders and those that are providing relief.

And in just last week, the world watched in wonder as Blue Origin and SpaceX proved once again that private pioneers will help us cultivate the vast expanses of low-Earth orbit and explore the furthest reaches of space.  We are proud of our private space industry in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

As President Trump said memorably once, “Rich guys…love rockets.”  (Laughter.)  And our administration has been absolutely committed to making sure that our space entrepreneurs have the flexibility, the predictability to be able to make investments and help lead and transform our impact in space, particularly when it comes to low-Earth orbit.

You know, I’ve personally seen the importance of this industry and its work firsthand.  I traveled across the country on the President’s behalf to meet with the men and women who, just like all of you gathered here, are forging America’s future in space.

At California’s Mojave Desert, I saw the ships that will carry the first generation of space tourists to the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere.  In Alabama, I met with the engineers and technicians that are working on the SLS — the Space Launch System — that’ll carry us deeper into space than ever before.  And in Colorado, I toured the factory where we’re producing the latest and most advanced GPS satellites in the world.

And I know that these achievements are just emblematic of the incredible work that all of you do.  So why don’t you give yourselves a round of applause for leading the way of technical innovation in space.  (Applause.)

Under President Trump’s leadership we’ve made great progress toward renewing America’s proud legacy of leadership in space as well.  In our very first year in office, after it had lain dormant for nearly a quarter of a century, President Trump made the decision to revive the National Space Council.  And it’s my great honor to serve as the Chairman of the newly reconstituted Council today.

I’ll never forget, when we were both on the campaign trail, we were still getting to know one another, and then the candidate came up to me and he said, “You know, there was a thing called the National Space Council, back in the day.”  But it hadn’t been around for about a quarter of century.  And he said, “I was wondering if you’d be interested in chairing that because Vice Presidents have chaired it in the past.”

Now, he didn’t know that some of the greatest memories of my youth — probably of yours as well — were sitting in front of a black-and-white television, 50 years ago, when Neil Armstrong took “one small step for mankind.”

He didn’t know that my wife and I, when our kids were young, actually vacationed at Cape Canaveral — not for the beaches, but for the rockets — because we wanted our children to have their imagination fired by America’s proud legacy of leadership in space.

He didn’t know that when I was elected to Congress in the year 2000, the only committee that I asked to be on was the NASA sub-committee.  So, again, when he said to me, “Would you be interested in serving as Chairman of the newly reconstituted National Space Council?”  I looked at him and said, “Would I?”  And it’s the greatest honor of my life to help this President renew American leadership in space.  (Applause.)  It’s true.

And from early on, President Trump has been taking action to do just that.  The President signed what is known as “Space Policy Directive-1,” which makes it our national policy of the United States to return to the moon, and to put Americans on Mars, and to bring renewed focus to human exploration in the infinite frontier.

Just two months ago, during the fifth meeting of the National Space Council in “Rocket City” in Huntsville, Alabama, it was also my privilege to announce that, at President Trump’s direction, the United States will return to the moon within the next five years, and the first woman and the next man on the moon will be Americans.  (Applause.)

This year, our administration is incredibly proud that, before the year is out, we’ll once again launch American astronauts, on American rockets, from American soil into the vast expanse of space.

But, do you know, to fully unlock the mysteries of space, the President Trump recognizes that we have to look beyond the halls of government, beyond NASA, for input and guidance.  That’s why we assembled this Users’ Advisories Group in the National Space Council, which, I’m proud to say has brought together some of the brightest minds and biggest talents in the country to help accelerate innovation across the space enterprise.

And we’re honored to be joined here today by several members of the UAG.  So, I’d like to give you a chance to thank them for the incredible contributions they’re making to the life of our nation.  You already heard from Tory Bruno, but also join me in thanking Gwynne Shotwell, Bob Smith, and Tim Ellis.  Would you all just stand up and take a bow?  (Applause.)  These people are working around the clock to renew American leadership in space.

You know, American companies are on the cutting edge of the space industry — developing new rockets, spaceships, satellites, and technologies that are taking us further into space, faster than ever before.

And under the President’s leadership, we’re also working — I want to assure you — to make it easier than ever for trailblazing companies like yours to be able to succeed and prosper.

We’ve been streamlining the licensing regimes that oversee launch, re-entry, and new commercial operations in space — removing unnecessary regulations that have increased costs and stifled innovation.

We’ve also developed our nation’s first comprehensive space traffic management policy to help you navigate the thousands of satellites and other manmade objects orbiting the Earth at this very moment.

We know this policy will encourage companies like yours to partner with government agencies to develop data-sharing systems, technical guidelines, safety standards that will help minimize debris and avoid satellite collisions during launch and while in orbit.  We’re incredibly proud of it.  We’re streamlining and deregulating space.  We figure that works here on Earth, and it’s going to work in low-Earth orbit as well.  (Applause.)

And this summer, I’m proud to say, the Department of Commerce will unveil the first part of its open-architecture data repository, which will provide access to a basic level of “space situational awareness,” based on both commercial data and the space catalog compiled by the Department of Defense.  We’re bringing the data together so that companies just like yours have the best real-time information to navigate in space.

And to give the engineers and entrepreneurs here today the tools you need to continue driving American innovation, we will ensure that you have continued access to wireless spectrum.  Today, spectrum is more valuable than ever, as more industries begin to make use of the next generation of wireless networks — 5G.

This revolutionary technology will improve the way in which Americans work, learn, travel, farm, run businesses, and communicate — from the cellphones in our pockets to the autonomous cars on the roads someday.

But President Trump has made it clear, the race to 5G is a race that America will win.  (Applause.)  And we will make sure these 5G networks are secure.

But as you all know, spectrum bandwidth is limited.  So to ensure that it is used “as efficiently and effectively as possible,” last year President Trump issued a directive to every department and agency to “increase spectrum access for all users” and to give innovators in all industries access to the spectrum you need to compete and win in the global marketplace, including all of you here in the space industry.

Just last month, we announced that we’re going to hold the largest spectrum auction in American history later this year, with the help of leaders like Assistant Secretary David Redl, who is here with us today; and someone we’re particularly proud of, Doreen Bogdan-Martin, who’s become the first American in the top leadership position of the International Telecommunications Union — give her a round of applause.  Where’s Doreen?  (Applause.)

Our administration, I promise you, with these great leaders, is going to continue to increase spectrum across access so that companies like yours can continue to build the technologies of the future that improve our lives and expand opportunity.

Yet, while their capabilities increase, the truth of the matter is that there’s no guarantee that nations around the world share our same values, our ideals, or our commitment to freedom and the rule of law and peace.  And that’s what makes our leadership in space so important.

The truth is, nations from Russia and China to North Korea and Iran have pursued weapons to jam, blind, and disable our navigation and communications satellites via electronic attacks from the ground.

Recently, we’ve even see nations working on bringing new weapons of war into space itself.  From anti-satellite weapons and airborne lasers, to highly threatening, on-orbit activities and evasive hypersonic missiles, our competitors and our adversaries have been aggressively developing and deploying technologies that put our technology and put our prosperity and our security at risk.

President Trump said it clearly: Today, we recognize space is “a war-fighting domain, just like the land [and] air and sea.”  And America is going to be as dominant for our security in space, as we are here on Earth.  (Applause.)

To meet the emerging threats, President Trump has taken decisive action to strengthen American power.  From the first days of this administration, we’ve been rebuilding our military, restoring the arsenal of democracy.  And last year, President Trump signed the largest investment in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan, including renewed resources to enhance the resilience of our space defense systems.

But as the President said, “It is not enough to merely have an American presence in space.  We must have American dominance in space.”  And so we will.

So for the sake of our security and to ensure an orderly space environment necessary for our continued prosperity and success, at President Trump’s direction, we are working, as we speak, with the Congress to stand up the sixth branch of our Armed Forces; the United States Space Force will soon be a reality.  (Applause.)

You know, America will always seek peace — in space and here on Earth.  And history proves that peace comes through strength.  And in the realm of outer space, the United States Space Force will be that strength.  It will safeguard our ideals.  It will safeguard our interests.  And it will safeguard the interests of all who cherish freedom.

So as we prepare to mark the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, I think we’d do well to remember the example set by those three space pioneers I referred to earlier today, and, frankly, to all the remarkable men and women who helped put them on the moon — innovators, engineers, just like all of you gathered here.

Through extraordinary determination, through courage and grit, a half century ago, they proved to the world that America can accomplish anything that we set our minds to.  And we’re in the process of proving that once again.  They chose to do something extraordinary in their time, as President Kennedy said, “not because it was easy, but because it was hard.”  And so do we choose.

They knew that the rules and values of space, like every great frontier, would be written by those who had the courage to get there first and the commitment to stay.

And today, President Trump and our entire administration believe it is our duty to ensure that our most cherished values and ideals are the foundation of our future in space — that it’s a future of freedom, of free commerce, and free enterprise, and security.

So as we renew our commitment to lead, we will do so going with confidence.  Confidence in the extraordinary innovation and capabilities of all of you gathered here, and that great American spirit that’s being put to our space enterprise in new and in renewed ways.  And confidence in the rising generation of young men and women, and, frankly, little boys and girls that inspired by the innovations that you are bringing about every day.  And they see a future for America and the free world — not just here on Earth, but in the vast expanse of space.

So thank you for the opportunity of addressing you today.  I wanted to express my warm welcome to each of you back to Washington, D.C. for this Satellite Conference.

And I have to tell you, I’m absolutely confident, when I look at all the great companies represented here, that the best days for America, the best days for American leadership in space, and the best days for extraordinary technological advances, far beyond anything we could ask or imagine, are still ahead.

Thank you.  God bless you.  And God bless America.  (Applause.)


1:49 P.M. EDT