We can look at the Executive Order that established it in the first place for the definitive answer. Section 2 has been highlighted.
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and
laws of the United States of America, and in order to provide a
coordinated process for developing a national space policy and
strategy and for monitoring its implementation, it is hereby ordered
Section 1. Establishment and Composition of the National Space
(a) There is established the National Space Council ("the Council").
(b) The Council shall be composed of the following members:
(1) The Vice President, who shall be Chairman of the Council;
(2) The Secretary of State;
(3) The Secretary of the Treasury;
(4) The Secretary of Defense;
(5) The Secretary of Commerce;
(6) The Secretary of Transportation;
(7) The Director of the Office of Management and Budget;
(8) The Chief of Staff to the President;
(9) The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs;
(10) The Assistant to the President for Science and Technology;
(11) The Director of Central Intelligence; and
(12) The Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space
(c) The Chairman shall, from time to time, invite the following to
participate in meetings of the Council:
(1) The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and
(2) The heads of other executive departments and agencies and other
senior officials in the Executive Office of the President.
While there are several other activities described later on, perhaps the core function of the council is described in Section 2 (highlighted here in bold):
Sec. 2. Functions of the Council. (a) The Council shall advise and
assist the President on national space policy and strategy, and
perform such other duties as the President may from time to time
(b) In addition, the Council is directed to:
(1) review United States Government space policy, including long-range
goals, and develop a strategy for national space activities;
(2) develop recommendations for the President on space policy and
space- related issues;
(3) monitor and coordinate implementation of the objectives of the
President's national space policy by executive departments and
(4) foster close coordination, cooperation, and technology and
information exchange among the civil, national security, and
commercial space sectors, and facilitate resolution of differences
concerning major space and space-related policy issues.
(c) The creation and operation of the Council shall not interfere with
existing lines of authority and responsibilities in the departments
Sec. 3. Responsibilities of the Chairman. (a) The Chairman shall serve
as the President's principal advisor on national space policy and
(b) The Chairman shall, in consultation with the members of the
Council, establish procedures for the Council and establish the agenda
for Council activities.
(c) The Chairman shall report to the President on the activities and
recommendations of the Council. The Chairman shall advise the Council
as appropriate regarding the President's directions with respect to
the Council's activities and national space policy generally.
(d) The Chairman shall authorize the establishment of such committees
of the Co uncil, including an executive committee, and of such working
groups, composed o f senior designees of the Council members and of
other officials invited to par ticipate in Council meetings, as he
deems necessary or appropriate for the effi cient conduct of Council
Sec. 4. National Space Policy Planning Process. (a) The Council will
establish a process for developing and monitoring the implementation
of national space policy and strategy.
(b) To implement this process, each agency represented on the Council
shall provide such information regarding its current and planned space
activities as the Chairman shall request.
(c) The head of each executive department and agency shall ensure that
its space-related activities conform to national space policy and
Sec. 5. Establishment of Vice President's Space Policy Advisory Board.
(a) The Vice President shall establish, in accordance with the
provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C.
App. 2), governing Presidential advisory committees, an advisory
committee of private citizens to advise the Vice President on the
space policy of the United States ("the Board").
(b) The Board shall be composed and function as follows:
(1) The Board shall be composed of members appointed by the Vice
(2) The Vice President shall designate a Chairman from among the
members of the Board. The Executive Secretary of the National Space
Council shall serve as the Secretary to the Board.
(3) Members of the Board shall serve without any compensation for
their work on the Board. However, they shall be entitled to travel
expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, as authorized by
law, for persons serving intermittently in the Government service (5
U.S.C. 5701-5707), to the extent funds are available for that purpose.
(4) Necessary expenses of the Board shall be paid from funds available
for the expenses of the National Space Council.
(5) Notwithstanding the provisions of any other Executive order, the
responsibilities of the President under the Federal Advisory Committee
Act, as amended, except that of reporting annually to the Congress,
which are applicable to the Board established by this order, shall be
performed on a reimbursable basis by the Director of the Office of
Administration in the Executive Office of the President, in accordance
with the guidelines and procedures established by the Administrator of
Sec. 6. Microgravity Research Board. Section 1(c) of Executive Order
No. 12660 is amended by deleting "Economic Policy Council" and
inserting in lieu thereof "National Space Council." Sec. 7.
Administrative Provisions. (a) The Office of Administration in the
Executive Office of the President shall provide the Council with such
administrative support on a reimbursable basis as may be necessary for
the performance of the functions of the Council.
(b) The President shall appoint an Executive Secretary who shall
appoint such staff as may be necessary to assist in the performance of
the Council's functions.
(c) All Federal departments, agencies, and interagency councils and
committees having an impact on space policy shall extend, as
appropriate, such cooperation and assistance to the Council as is
necessary to carry out its responsibilities under this order.
(d) The head of each agency serving on the Council or represented on
any working group or committee of the Council shall provide such
administrative support as may be necessary, in accordance with law and
subject to the availability of appropriations, to enable the agency
head or its representative to carry out his responsibilities.
Sec. 8. Report. The Council shall submit an annual report setting
forth its assessment of and recommendations for the space policy and
strategy of the United States Government.
GEORGE BUSH THE WHITE HOUSE, April 20, 1989.