In the process of looking for something else, I ended up rereading this essay I wrote a decade ago, as an open letter to the Augustine panel. I have to confess pleasure at how well it’s held up, and how things are proceeding as I foretold, despite Congress. Note that it also presaged my book, which I wrote a few years later.
[Update a few minutes later]
Heh, I just got to this part; I anticipated and advocated for the new Space Development Agency:
Just as war is too important to be left to the generals, man’s future in space is too important to be left to NASA. After President Reagan proposed the creation of a national missile defense system in 1983, it became clear that the U.S. Air Force was not properly organized or motivated — and so a new agency was created to pursue the president’s vision. The new agency, today called the Missile Defense Agency, was very innovative and made great progress because it could focus on its one goal. Along those lines, the Bush administration might have done well to establish an Office of Space Development (with “exploration” being merely a means to an end) that could draw on other federal resources — not just NASA, but the Departments of Defense and Energy — as well as the private sector.
It’s also ironic, in light of criticism of him in the essay, that Mike Griffin is heading it up.