Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Crown’s Space Solar Power as the #1 Idea in the Federal Government

For the first time, a visionary space development idea tops the agenda of America’s foreign policy establishment—Space Based Solar Power, an idea that could completely solve climate change, completely get us off foreign oil, allow a first world life-style for the entire world, swept the D3 innovation awards!

On 2 March, an astounding event took place. Led by a group of maverick policy-wonks, members from across the Department of Defense, Department of State, and US Agency for International Development gathered for a summit to discuss innovation and how to make the world a better, safer place, and to hear the top 1% of ideas. A first-of-kind call had gone out to solicit ideas to the entire Department of Defense (the largest organization on Earth), the entire Department of State, and the entire US Agency for International Development. A deluge of 500 ideas followed, inundating the staff. After necking down the best ideas to 30, then 12, then six to present to a high level panel chaired by Gen Paul Selva, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and to an audience of 300 drawn from the most innovative people from across government.

And the Space Solar team dominated, taking four of seven awards. Dr. Paul Jaffe thrilled the audience of seasoned bureaucratic innovators, with applause so loud it was an inch from a standing ovation, when he showed how America could show the world that it still “does incredible things.”


Dr. Jaffe, a robotics expert from Naval Research Lab (the lab that started GPS, built the first satellite with a solar cell, and found water on the Moon), presented for the team which included Dr. Avram Bar-Cohen from DARPA, Col Thomas Bongiovi from Joint Staff energy & logistics (J4), Ms. Julia Nesheiwat, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Implementation Bureau of Energy Resources, Lt Col Peter Garretson, Instructor at Air Command & Staff College, and former Chief of Future Technology for HQ USAF Strategic Planning, Ms. Teresa Smith, Director, Systems Development and Technology Strategy, Northrop Grumman Defense & Space, John Mankins, President, Mankins Space Technology, Inc. and former Chief of NASA advanced concepts, and Lt Gen Steven Kwast, Commander and President of Air University.


The Space Solar Team with VCJCS Gen Paul Selva, Undersecretary of State Catherine Novelli and Associate Administrator of USAID Eric Postel.

Time after time, the team was called up to receive accolades from the august panel of judges. First “Innovation”, then “Best Presentation,” then “Best [interagency] Collaboration.” Finally, the audience had their say, awarding the Space Solar with the “People’s Choice” award. Altogether, the team took home four of seven awards…three from the august panel of judges, one from the audience.

While getting the innovation award in the D3 innovation challenge was what all the teams were hoping for, winning the “people’s choice” is perhaps more important. The audience was an important cross-section of the American electorate, representing the right-leaning pentagon-types and the left-leaning diplomats and AID workers. Their strong positive reaction signals that the American electorate would likely respond very well to a proposal by a presidential candidate, or outgoing president to make the D3 proposal a reality. The audience echoed the MC that this was “Moonshot movement” thinking, or the USAID official who said, “it doesn’t get more transformational than that.”

That time is now. Dr. Jaffe pointed out that “we should not trade our dependence on foreign oil to a dependence on foreign space solar power,” pointing out that the volume of technical papers coming out of China was now so large, he could not keep up with them.

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