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Top US Space Analyst Moving to UN

Theresa Hitchens, former editor of Defense News (full disclosure: she was my boss and then I replaced her after she left), is leaving the gently liberal (and officially nonpartisan) Center for Defense Information to take up a post with the United Nations.

Hitchens will leave town in January to take up a post in Geneva, Switzerland as director of the UN Institute for Disarmament Research. In her words, it serves "sort of like the CRS on arms control issues for the UN Conference on Disarmament and the First Committee in New York." So when you see definitive UN research about weapons of mass destruction (nukes, chem/bio,) small arms, landmines, and space issues, that will be Theresa's doing.

Hitchens has been the leading liberal voice on crucial space issues such as the Chinese anti-satellite test, the question of space debris and how to monitor or mitigate it, and, if course, whether to "weaponize" space.

CDI's actions in light of Hitchens' departure will be something of a liberal indicator. Space has been a serious policy issue under the Bush administration to a large degree because Hitchens has helped force debate on these issues. Should an Obama or McCain administration recreate a presidential space council, as many experts on both sides of the aisle have recommended, space policy may move even further up the food chain. And CDI may want to ensure it has as loud and coherent a voice as possible on those issues.

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