Tuesday, April 7, 2020

President Donald J. Trump Approves Minnesota Disaster Declaration

Office of the Press Secretary

President Donald J. Trump Approves Minnesota Disaster Declaration

Today, President Donald J. Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Minnesota and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic beginning on January 20, 2020, and continuing.

Federal funding is available to State, tribal, and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, for all areas in the State of Minnesota impacted by COVID-19.

Pete Gaynor, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named James K. Joseph as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.

Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the State and warranted by the results of further assessments.


1600 Daily The White House • April 7, 2020 What you can do on this World Health Day

1600 Daily
The White House • April 7, 2020

What you can do on this World Health Day

Today, April 7, is World Health Day. Amid the global Coronavirus pandemic, it’s a moment to acknowledge the incredible work being done to protect the health and well-being of our fellow Americans.

As President Trump writes in his Message for World Health Day 2020:
 The United States will defeat this invisible enemy. On this World Health Day, Melania and I join a grateful Nation in paying tribute to all of our doctors, nurses, healthcare administrators, researchers, scientists, educators, public health officials, and all of the extraordinary men and women who are helping diagnose, heal, inform, protect, and reassure the American people. 

The best way to thank healthcare workers today is by each of us doing our part to stop this virus. Every American should follow the simple and necessary precautions outlined in President Trump’s 30-Day Coronavirus Guidelines.

Another crucial way that healthy people can assist is by donating blood—the American Red Cross is facing a dire shortage. If you satisfy the eligibility requirements, the process to donate blood is safe, and your donation is needed now more than ever.

We’re all in this fight together. President Trump yesterday described the response as an “all-out military operation”—and he’s right. Thanks to the Army Corps of Engineers, New York City’s Javits Convention Center has been converted into one of the largest hospitals in America. At this moment, the Army Corps of Engineers are building 22 similar field hospitals and alternate care sites across 18 states.

As of yesterday, FEMA and the Department of Health and Human Services have distributed 11.7 million N95 respirators, 26.5 million surgical masks, 5.3 million face shields, 4.4 million surgical gowns, and 22.6 million gloves throughout America.

“We have been awe-inspired by the exceptional courage of the doctors, nurses, EMTs, and healthcare workers who are the soldiers of this war,” President Trump says. “No words can ever express the complete measure of our gratitude for these intrepid heroes.”

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ America’s prayers are with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

More informationHow you can help in the Coronavirus fight

🎬 Simple steps to make your own face covering

President Trump announced updated CDC recommendations last Friday to help families protect themselves from Coronavirus. New studies show that transmission from people without symptoms is a more significant factor than was previously known.

“In light of these studies, the CDC is advising the use of non-medical cloth face covering as an additional voluntary public health measure,” the President said. “So it’s voluntary; you don’t have to do it. They suggested [it] for a period of time.”

To be clear, the use of face coverings is no replacement for President Trump’s existing Coronavirus Guidelines. It remains crucial that all Americans continue to practice social distancing and strict personal hygiene in their daily routines.

🎬 Dr. Birx: Here’s why it’s important for every American to stay home!

The United States will defeat this invisible enemy. On this World Health Day, Melania and I join a grateful Nation in paying tribute to all of our doctors, nurses, healthcare administrators, researchers, scientists, educators, public health officials, and all of the extraordinary men and women who are helping diagnose, heal, inform, protect, and reassure the American people

Photo of the Day

White House Coronavirus Task Force Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx delivers remarks at a Coronavirus briefing | April 6, 2020

West Wing Reads President Trump Leads While Opponents Stay on Attack

West Wing Reads

President Trump Leads While Opponents Stay on Attack

“President Trump is doing everything in his power to ensure the health and safety of the American people during the coronavirus pandemic,” Deneen Borelli writes for Fox News.

In the past, moments of global crisis have united our country. Outside of Washington, that’s happening again: Strong majorities of Americans approve of the President’s Coronavirus response and are confident in the Federal Government’s ability to handle it. Regrettably, partisan Democrats in Congress and the media can’t help but play politics.

Click here to read more.
“Having practiced medicine for nearly 30 years, I have seen how foreign dependence, specifically on imports from China, harms the medical supply chain and our readiness for an outbreak firsthand . . . The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated problems that were already festering,” Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS) writes in Fox News.
President Trump pledged to reinvigorate U.S. auto manufacturing by rewriting costly, unrealistic fuel economy and vehicle emissions standards. The new SAFE Vehicles Rule upholds that promise, raising fuel economy standards by a reasonable 1.5 percent per year to promote safe, clean, and affordable cars, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler write in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
When President Trump announced a restriction on travel from Europe last month, European Union officials “erupted in outrage.” A few days later, those same officials would propose their own bans. “In the coronavirus crisis, everyone realizes the importance of borders, even the people who not long ago were ideologically hostile toward them,” Rich Lowry writes in National Review.

Presidential Message on World Health Day, 2020

Office of the Press Secretary

Presidential Message on World Health Day, 2020

Public health plays a critical role in building strong, prosperous, and free societies around the world.  Today, as our Nation and entire global community continue to combat the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, we reaffirm our commitment to do our part to stop the spread of this virus, care for the sick, and protect the health and well-being of our fellow Americans.

Each of us should follow the simple and necessary precautions set forth in the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America and by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities from the coronavirus.  These guidelines include critical steps we can take to slow the spread, such as practicing social distancing, avoiding discretionary travel, following the directions of your State and local authorities, including regarding temporary closures of bars, restaurants, gyms, and other common gathering places, and voluntarily wearing cloth face coverings when out in public.  Importantly, if you are showing common symptoms and feeling sick, stay home and contact your medical provider to discuss next steps in diagnosing and treating your symptoms. Additionally, older Americans and those who have serious underlying health conditions or other risk factors should take extra precautions to mitigate the risk of contracting the coronavirus.  By adhering to these recommendations, as well as practicing good sanitation and hygiene habits, we are all helping win the battle against this invisible enemy.

The coronavirus pandemic has posed intense hardships on our society, but the strength, resiliency, and compassion of the American people are far greater.  Each day, we are seeing the remarkable ways in which the men and women of our great Nation are helping others.  One especially critical way healthy Americans can assist in filling a critical need brought on by this pandemic is by continuing to donate blood.  The American Red Cross is currently facing a dire blood shortage.  If you are of good health and satisfy the eligibility requirements, the process to donate blood is safe, and your donation is needed now more than ever.  To learn more about additional ways in which you can help those affected by the coronavirus outbreak, please visit www.fema.gov/coronavirus/how-to-help.

The United States will defeat this invisible enemy.  On this World Health Day, Melania and I join a grateful Nation in paying tribute to all of our doctors, nurses, healthcare administrators, researchers, scientists, educators, public health officials, and all of the extraordinary men and women who are helping diagnose, heal, inform, protect, and reassure the American people.  Together, we will emerge from this challenge stronger, healthier, and more united than ever before. 

First Lady Melania Trump Announces New Announces New Chief of Staff

Office of the First Lady
First Lady Melania Trump Announces New Announces New Chief of Staff
First Lady Melania Trump is today announcing that Stephanie Grisham will be rejoining the East Wing full time as Chief of Staff and Spokesperson.

“I am excited to welcome Stephanie back to the team in this new role,” stated First Lady Melania Trump.  “She has been a mainstay and true leader in the Administration from even before day one, and I know she will excel as Chief of Staff.  I appreciate all that Lindsay Reynolds did over the past three years, and wish her well in her future endeavors.”

“I continue to be honored to serve both the President and First Lady in the Administration,” stated Grisham. “ My replacements will be announced in the coming days and I will stay in the West Wing to help with a smooth transition for as long as needed.”

Lindsay Reynolds resigned early this week to spend time with her family. Stephanie will begin her role as Chief of Staff effective immediately.

1600 Daily The White House • April 6, 2020 By the numbers: A Massive Nationwide Response

1600 Daily
The White House • April 6, 2020

By the numbers: A massive nationwide response

When the world has faced trying times, Americans have never failed to rise to the occasion. The Coronavirus pandemic is and will be no exception.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Sparing no expense to win this fight

“We have the best doctors, the best military leaders, and the best logistics professionals anywhere in the world,” President Trump said yesterday. “And we’re orchestrating a massive federal response unlike anything our country has ever seen or done.”

Here’s what just part of that response looks like, by the numbers:
  • By tomorrow, the Federal Government will have deployed over 3,000 military and public health professionals to New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and other parts of our country most affected by Coronavirus.
  • In the last 7 days, FEMA has airlifted crucial supplies and protective equipment from every corner of the Earth. Since last Sunday, cargo planes have delivered nearly 300 million gloves, almost 8 million masks, and 3 million gowns.
  • The government is delivering an additional 600,000 N95 masks to New York City to support its public hospital system, as requested by Mayor Bill de Blasio. Another 200,000 will be delivered to Suffolk County on Long Island.
  • Over the last 48 hours, FEMA has delivered an additional 500 ventilators to New Jersey. In addition, Louisiana has received 200, Michigan has received 300, and Illinois has gotten or will get 600 to address potential hotspots.
  • As of yesterday, the United States has tested and given results to 1.67 million people—far more than any other country on Earth. 
In addition to these public health actions, President Trump has worked with Congress to prioritize the economic needs of American workers and small businesses. The $2+ trillion CARES Act signed into law on March 27 provides qualifying families with $2,400 in tax-free payments, along with an additional $500 for each child.

The Paycheck Protection Program, which launched Friday, approved more than 17,500 loans valued at over $5.4 billion on its first day. These loans, intended to keep more Americans employed, are 100% forgivable if used for qualifying expenses and if all employees are kept on payroll.

America is thankful to every family making sacrifices for the good of our country during this time—and especially to the healthcare workers fighting this virus and saving lives each and every day.

“In the days ahead, America will endure the peak of this terrible pandemic,” President Trump said. “Our warriors in this life-and-death battle are the incredible doctors and nurses and healthcare workers on the frontline of the fight. We pledge to them our eternal gratitude and everlasting support.”

🎬 We may be apart for Holy Week, but now is the time for the power of prayer

VP Pence: There’s light at the end of the tunnel, thanks to the American people

Photo of the Day

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams delivers remarks at a Coronavirus briefing | April 3, 2020


Office of the Press Secretary

Via Teleconference

12:31 P.M. EDT

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Good afternoon, everyone.  Thank you for joining today’s briefing by a senior administration official on President Trump’s Executive Order to Encourage International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources.

This briefing will be conducted by [senior administration officials].

Both opening remarks and the question-and-answer portion to follow will be on background, attributed to a senior administration official.

All information is embargoed until the Office of the Press Secretary sends the official notification of the signing of the executive order expected by 2:30 p.m. Eastern today.

With that, I’m happy to introduce [senior administration official]

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Hi.  Good afternoon, everyone.  Thank you all for joining today, regarding the Executive Order by President Donald J. Trump on Encouraging International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources.  This executive order addresses U.S. policy regarding the recovery and use of space resources, including the Moon and other celestial bodies.

As America prepares to return humans to the Moon and journey on to Mars, this executive order establishes U.S. policy toward the recovery and use of space resources, such as water and certain minerals, in order to encourage the commercial development of space.

This order reaffirms U.S. support for the 1967 Outer Space Treaty while continuing to reject the 1979 Moon Agreement, which only 17 of the 95 member states of the U.N. Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space have ratified in the past four decades.

The order further clarifies that the United States does not view outer space as a global commons, and it reinforces the 2015 decision by Congress that Americans should have the right to engage in the commercial exploration, recovery, and use of resources in outer space.

The President has directed the Secretary of State to object to any attempt to treat the 1979 Moon Agreement as representing customary international law.  This agreement represents a failed attempt at constraining free enterprise, and it does not represent the bright future of a growing space economy.

Supportive policy regarding the recovery and use of space resources is important to the creation of a stable and predictable investment environment for commercial space innovators and entrepreneurs, and it is vital to the long-term sustainability of human exploration and development of the Moon, Mars, and other destinations.

The Secretary of State is further directed to lead the U.S. government’s effort to encourage international support for the recovery and use of outer space resources.  To this end, the United States will seek to negotiate joint statements, bilateral and multilateral agreements, and other instruments regarding a safe and sustainable use of space resources with like-minded states.

As the United States continues towards its goal of placing the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024 and landing the first human on Mars, the administration will seek every opportunity to work with commercial, international, and non-governmental organizations to ensure that American ideals of transparency, partnership, free and fair trade, and private enterprise are part of humanity’s expansion in space.

That concludes my opening statement.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Thank you.  We will now take some questions.  If you have a question, please unmute your phone and state your name and affiliation prior to starting your question.  Following your question, please ensure that you mute your phone again.  Thank you.

Q    Hi, this is Marcia Smith from SpacePolicyOnline.com.  I was wondering, what is it that prompted you to make this announcement today?  Is something going on where you think someone in the international community is going to try and use the Moon Agreement for some purpose?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  No -- thanks, Marcia.  A great question.  Actually, this has been in work for quite some time.  As you might imagine, as we’re thinking about implementing SPD-1, the need for sustainability in the long term looks toward use of non-terrestrial resources.  And I know you and I have been down these debates for many years.

So it really -- it had begun last year.  And with the announcement on release of the -- NASA’s plan on sustainability of lunar surface activities, we had a particular example coming up of looking to use non-terrestrial resources and then combine with SPD-1, talking about commercial and international partners.

In that process, we thought it was important to clarify what U.S. policy was toward the Moon Agreement and then lay out a more positive vision going forward.  If the 1979 Moon Agreement was not it, what is it that we would like to see?  And we’d like to have an engagement with commercial and international partners.

So it was really the NASA development of its plan.  And we were planning and hoping to be able to talk about this at the legal subcommittee meeting, but that -- that, of course, got postponed.  And then we were looking at the June plenary meeting of COPUOS.  And then that’s been postponed.

So we’re having State Department reach out to our counterparts, partners, because we still, of course, want to talk about international cooperation on Artemis.  And with the NASA plan being out, we thought it was important to then put out this statement about what our attitude was toward use of space resources.

So, no, we don’t see anybody really doing anything with the 1979 Moon Agreement.  We know there have been discussions about having a new international treaty -- people looking at updating, you know, the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and maybe incorporating items from the ’79 Moon Agreement.

But the U.S. position, both this administration and prior, has been that we don’t really need any new international treaty-level agreements, but we do need to engage with international partners.  So that’s what this was really all about.  It’s really more in line with the NASA announcement and moving forward with international negotiations and agreements on Artemis that prompted this.   


Next question.

Q    Hi, this Jeff Foust with SpaceNews.  Since you’re talking about working with, you know, like-minded partners, do you have any sort of initial group of partners you’re planning to work with to come up with some bilateral or multilateral agreements?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I think the first thing -- the phrase, “stay tuned”, because what we’ll see, I’m hoping, is you’ll see some statements coming out of NASA soon about people that we hope to work with, again, on the Artemis Program.  And that will then involve some like-minded states who also are looking at using non-terrestrial resources.

In the experience up to date, we’ve seen a number of countries that have been interested in this.  You are probably familiar with the Hague Working Group on Space Resources.  We’ve seen positive statements out of Luxembourg, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Australia, and, frankly, even China.  Of course, there are other problems with China, as you’re well aware.  But even on space resources, China has been open to discussing how to produce a more stable and predictable environment.

So I would -- I would think that we’ll see people who have already been leaning forward on this issue within COPUOS, and then overlap that with people that we would include as part of Artemis discussions, would probably be the next priority.

But I hesitate to say which country might be the most promising, because we really haven’t had those discussions with them yet.  We’re just now reaching out through State Department with cables, just laying this out, after it goes public today, after 2:30.


Next question.

Q    Hi, this is Michael Sheetz with CNBC.  Thanks for this briefing.  I wanted to talk a little more about the near-term implications of this order.  Have you heard any strong interest from either industry partners or commercial companies that are looking to make use of this, you know, soon -- maybe in the next year or two?  And what exactly are those kind of plans in motion?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I’d probably have to defer either to companies or Commerce Department.  I don’t think -- there was no particular company that was driving this.  Of course, a couple of companies, you know, in the past -- like Planetary Resources, looking at using asteroid mining -- there have been discussions on use of lunar resources, you know, going back into the -- into the ‘70s and ‘80s.

But in terms of an instant issue driving it, I don’t see a particular company.

What I do see happening in the near term is building on NASA’s robotic program, programs like VIPER and potentially rovers that the Japanese are looking at.

Really, we need to get a better scientific basis for using non-terrestrial resources.  I don’t think we have enough information about characterizing the state of the water ice and what it would take to extract it and what it would take to make it useful.  So the science still has to be done.

But we know these things take a long time, and we know we want to partner with other states that are going to share our general view of using of resources and using private industry.  So we thought the time was really now to put the idea out there, see how we do on the science, and then engage with other partners on Artemis to then see what else can emerge.

But I don’t see a particular company.  I might be surprised, but I don’t see one in the immediate near term.  I see a lot of scientists (inaudible).


Next question.

Q    Hi, Ken Chang, New York Times.  It sounds like most of this is reaffirming current U.S. policy.  I was wondering what might be considered a change of policy, if anything.

ENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Sure, thanks, Ken.  You’ve been doing this awhile, so you recognize …so you recognize -- you recognize the continuity.  Absolutely.

I think the main thing that's new here is being clear about us not proceeding with a new international agreement, that is, we've said that before, but we haven’t said it in the particular context of use of non-terrestrial resources.

So the policy about, you know, U.S. attitude toward what citizens can do -- of course, set by the Congress in 2015 -- our non-signature of the Moon Agreement pretty much speaks for itself.  And so what you do is really put both of those together and say, "All right, if it's not the Moon Agreement, what is it that’s going to be new?"

And the direction by the President to the State Department to start working with other countries on joint statements, bilateral, multilateral agreements to produce a more safe and sustainable way forward on use of space resources, while still adhering to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty -- which, as you know, Article II deals with non-appropriation by claims of sovereignty and other means.

So it's really the going forward with the Artemis international engagements and NASA's plans for lunar surface operations that I think were the immediate prompt here.

And you're absolutely correct that this really builds on past U.S. policy statements.  It's just really pulling a couple of things -- threads together in terms of the immediate or near-term discussions that NASA needs to have.


Next question?

Q    Yeah, hi.  This is Mike Wall from Space.com.  Thank you for doing this.  Can you just put this into a little more perspective in, like, the larger view about how, kind of, like lunar resources are going to be key to the Artemis program, and if you hope that this executive order, kind of, helps jumpstart that process?  Thanks.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Great question.  So if you look at the NASA lunar surface plan -- and, actually, in some of the statements that the Vice President has made in prior speeches -- what we're trying to do here is move beyond the old paradigm, you know, that had been termed “flags and footprints,” and we’re looking toward not only the exploration of space, but actually the development of space -- the phrase that Dr. Marburger in the prior administration made when he was science advisor about expanding the "economic sphere" of human activity into space.

And if we're going to be doing that in a sustainable way, we can’t haul everything up from Earth; we have to be able to use resources in space.  And in order to do that -- which requires lots of money and lots of expertise -- there needs to be a stable and predictable international environment.  We need to be able to square the circle of not having claims of sovereignty and non-appropriation, but, at the same time, provide a stable and predictable environment whereby if a private sector entity goes out and removes lunar resources, processes it, and turns it into, say, water, that is then used for fuel or drinking, that there is, in fact, a stable governance environment around that.

And that's not something that the U.S. can do by itself.  That's something that the U.S. has to do in concert with other countries who also are going to be participating and operating in space.  So that’s why we’re focusing on, you know, safe and sustainable use of resources, while adhering to our existing international legal commitments.


Next question?

Q    Hey, Joey Roulette with Reuters.  Quick question on -- why isn’t this -- why isn’t a new treaty or a revision to an existing treaty a viable course of action for this and the question of lunar resources in terms of international cooperation?  Thanks.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Sure.  I think if you go back and look at, say, an analogy: the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea -- many parts of which ideas were adapted or tried to be adapted into the Moon Agreement --- and then, of course, the Moon Agreement didn’t get much in the way of signatories of the major spacefaring countries.  So it's not something where there had been a large consensus before.

And as we’ve looked at having a new treaty -- and I would -- to be fair, there are some arguments of some of our European legal colleagues who think that a new treaty would be a good idea -- we really didn’t think it was practical because these treaties take a long time to negotiate, particularly if there are difficult and complex issues.

And our desire to move more quickly in engaging with international partners and engaging with the private sector meant that taking the time to put all that on hold while we negotiate a new treaty that implicitly would be speculative, because we're talking about regulating activities and constraining activities that do not yet exist.

So every time -- anytime that you try to do that prospectively -- set new norms through international law -- it tends not to work out too well.  Treaties tend to work a bit better when they build on existing practices and existing understandings that represent something close to customary international law.  

… international law.  That’s what happened with the development of orbital debris mitigation guidelines that were then later adopted in the long-term sustainability guidelines that got passed by the U.N. General Assembly last year.  And it’s kind of where the cutting-edge of work is going on now, in terms of dealing with things like rendezvous and proximity operations.

So we think that having bilateral and multilateral discussions with like-minded countries who are actually going to be out there was the most really constructive way forward, rather than building a theoretical construct that would take a long time, would potentially constrain us, and it would be unclear as to what value it would really provide.


Q     A quick follow-up on that.  What are those complex issues that would hold up revising or starting a new treaty?  Like, what are specifically those things that, kind of, make this hard and the worst option, I guess?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Lack of people understanding exactly what is being talked about.  We don’t really understand enough about what everybody wants to do up there.  And so you necessarily start dealing with a lot of speculations that then go on, kind of, year after year.

There is not a consensus, as to what people want to accomplish up there, among all these countries.  That’s why we’re first starting with scientific research on the surface, and then we’re starting it with partnerships, with other like-minded countries.

If you’ve ever dealt with the U.N. processes, you know that is takes a very, very, very long time to get consensus.  And there’s someone that’s really always willing to block it for one reason or another.  That’s why the long-term sustainability guidelines, which are non-binding and relatively benign, took almost 11 years to negotiate and really took -- the really hard work was in the last six.

So I was personally involved with that when I was at university, before coming back here as a private sector advisor.  And those were ones that were fairly easy.

So I would just simply say that the international negotiating environment for new treaties is even harder than that.  And we didn’t really think that taking the time was going to be practical.


Next question, please.

Q     Hello?  Can you hear me?  This is Teresa.


Q     Thank you.  Hi, [senior administration official].  Thanks for doing this.  My question is: Are you expecting to get any pushback on this from the international community?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Sure.  There was certainly, you know, some controversy after the 2015 congressional language.  And we spent some time -- prior administrations certainly spent some time explaining that and what was involved in that, and I think largely succeeded.  So I think that prior discussions could be helpful and inform what we’re doing now.

I think the primary pushback -- and I’m speculating now because, again, we have not yet set out cables to countries and given them time to digest and respond back.  So this is -- this is necessarily speculative.  I think the primary pushback will be on people who would want to have a new treaty; they want to engage in that long-term process of creating a transnational, international organization that would be somewhat more tidy and neat than the process that we’re in now.  And you and I both know who some of those people are.

So I don’t see a pushback on the idea of private sector U.S. persons, subject to U.S. jurisdiction and control, engaging in these activities.  I don’t think we see any problem with other countries doing these kinds of activities.  I think what you’ll see is people who would wish that these activities be subject to a transnational authority and license process, whereas we take the view that sovereign states should be the fundamental entity and should have, in fact, the control.

So, use of non-terrestrial resources, per se, by private sector, I don’t think it’s going to be that controversial.  I think the controversy will be over people who think that the international space governance regime should be different than the process we’re talking about here.


Next question.

Q     I just has another question -- Joey from Reuters -- if possible.  I don’t know --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Hey, Joey, let’s give others the chance to respond and then return to you for a follow-up.

Q     Gotcha.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Does anyone else have a question?  All right, this will be the last question.  Go ahead, Joey.

Q     Thanks, [senior administration official].  And thanks, [senior administration official], for doing this.  When you talk about other states -- sovereign states that have different ideas of what to do in space, does Russia fall under that explanation?  I know since we’re talking about lunar resources, we’re not necessarily talking about what’s going on in orbit -- you know, what we normally hear from the Air Force side.  So I’m curious if Russia falls under that category of states that see, you know, this playing differently.  

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Sure.  Actually, in this regime, it's really interesting to see where countries line up.  They don't line up along the usual path that people think of.  I think Russia has definitely been an advocate of transnational authorities in a variety of areas in space.  So they -- Germany, sometimes France will think about this, whereas countries like Luxembourg, UAE, China, Australia, Canada -- others are open to other ways forward.

The problem, of course, is I'm being very speculative, which is always dangerous because, again, I haven't -- we haven’t given time for other countries to really react and come back with this.

But from prior experience, from the legal subcommittee and from the U.N. Treaty of Peaceful Use of Outer Space, generally, I would say the dividing line would be more along those who would want to create more of a top-down structure, which tends to be Germany, Russia, France, maybe sometimes.  And whereas others who are interested in, "Well, what do we do as a practical matter going forward to produce a safe and sustainable operation?"  It doesn't mean they preclude having a treaty in the future.  I don't want to say everybody feels that way.  But it's -- I think it's definitely a minority kind of position.  Most people are interested in what do we do in practice to make things sustainable and safe, and how do we participate.

Q    Thank you.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thank you, everyone.  Again, both opening remarks and the question-and-answer portion were on background attributed to a senior administration official.

All information is embargoed until the Office of the Press Secretary sends the official notification of the signing of the executive order expected by 2:30 p.m. Eastern today.

Thank you, everyone, for joining us this afternoon.  And this will conclude our call. 

END                12:54 P.M. EDT

Executive Order on Encouraging International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources

Office of the Press Secretary


- - - - - - -


     By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including title IV of the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (Public Law 114-90), it is hereby ordered as follows:

     Section 1.  Policy.  Space Policy Directive-1 of December 11, 2017 (Reinvigorating America's Human Space Exploration Program), provides that commercial partners will participate in an "innovative and sustainable program" headed by the United States to "lead the return of humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations."  Successful long-term exploration and scientific discovery of the Moon, Mars, and other celestial bodies will require partnership with commercial entities to recover and use resources, including water and certain minerals, in outer space.

     Uncertainty regarding the right to recover and use space resources, including the extension of the right to commercial recovery and use of lunar resources, however, has discouraged some commercial entities from participating in this enterprise.  Questions as to whether the 1979 Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (the "Moon Agreement") establishes the legal framework for nation states concerning the recovery and use of space resources have deepened this uncertainty, particularly because the United States has neither signed nor ratified the Moon Agreement.  In fact, only 18 countries have ratified the Moon Agreement, including just 17 of the 95 Member States of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.  Moreover, differences between the Moon Agreement and the 1967 Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies -- which the United States and 108 other countries have joined -- also contribute to uncertainty regarding the right to recover and use space resources.

     Americans should have the right to engage in commercial exploration, recovery, and use of resources in outer space, consistent with applicable law.  Outer space is a legally and physically unique domain of human activity, and the United States does not view it as a global commons.  Accordingly, it shall be the policy of the United States to encourage international support for the public and private recovery and use of resources in outer space, consistent with applicable law.

     Sec2.  The Moon Agreement.  The United States is not a party to the Moon Agreement.  Further, the United States does not consider the Moon Agreement to be an effective or necessary instrument to guide nation states regarding the promotion of commercial participation in the long-term exploration, scientific discovery, and use of the Moon, Mars, or other celestial bodies.  Accordingly, the Secretary of State shall object to any attempt by any other state or international organization to treat the Moon Agreement as reflecting or otherwise expressing customary international law.

     Sec3.  Encouraging International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources.  The Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Transportation, the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the head of any other executive department or agency the Secretary of State determines to be appropriate, shall take all appropriate actions to encourage international support for the public and private recovery and use of resources in outer space, consistent with the policy set forth in section 1 of this order.  In carrying out this section, the Secretary of State shall seek to negotiate joint statements and bilateral and multilateral arrangements with foreign states regarding safe and sustainable operations for the public and private recovery and use of space resources.

     Sec4.  Report on Efforts to Encourage International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources.  No later than 180 days after the date of this order, the Secretary of State shall report to the President, through the Chair of the National Space Council and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, regarding activities carried out under section 3 of this order.

     Sec5.  General Provisions.  (a)  Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

          (i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

          (ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

     (b)  This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

     (c)  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.


                              DONALD J. TRUMP


    April 6, 2020.

Five Nominations Sent to the Senate

Office of the Press Secretary


     Jason Abend, of Virginia, to be Inspector General, Department of Defense, vice Jon T. Rymer, resigned.

     Katherine A. Crytzer, of Tennessee, to be Inspector General of the Tennessee Valley Authority, vice Richard W. Moore, resigned.

     Andrew A. De Mello, of Massachusetts, to be Inspector General, Department of Education, vice Kathleen S. Tighe, resigned.

     Brian D. Miller, of Virginia, to be Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery.  (New Position)

     Peter Michael Thomson, of Louisiana, to be Inspector General, Central Intelligence Agency, vice David B. Buckley, resigned.