Congressman C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger, (D-MD-2nd), the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence opened his morning address with a discussion of U.S. long-term plans for space. Warning that U.S. spending on space programs has fallen from 80% to near 20% of total global spending, the country needs to re-energize its space mission. His warning continued with a reminder to the audience that space initiatives are reliant on Russian RD81 rocket engines, under the current geo-political climate, is dangerous. He plans to push for legislation to secure new American-made rocket engines. Ruppersburger connected the needs of the American space program with the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) imperative in education. In addition, he addressed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) modernization, stating "we can't have security without privacy, but we can't have privacy without security" and continued by recapping proposed FISA legislation that would ban the Federal government from collecting phone record metadata.
When asked if he had any thoughts about the private use of UAV's, he stated "it depends on what you're talking about. Of course there needs to be regulation ... control of the skies means control of the world" but his answer stopped short of what that might look like.
Photos courtesy of the USGIF