"The SLS vehicle design materialized from an extensive, unbiased set of NASA technical studies which compared all possible scenarios, with a focus on efficiency and budget constraints."
Keith's note: "Unbiased", eh Mike? Nothing about "Apollo on Steroids" using Ares 1-X etc which also arose from what you call "an extensive, unbiased set of NASA technical studies which compared all possible scenarios" -- or the proscriptive language from the Senate (where did that come from, hmm?) as to what old Space Shuttle parts NASA was ordered to use along with left overs from your stalled and overpriced Ares program. (Sigh) I guess if you say this often enough in op eds people will eventually start to believe it out of sheer tedium and lack of long term memory - until there are problems with the launch vehicle in question. THEN they start to wonder how we got here to begin with. Rather, how we are still not out there as you and others had promised we'd be by now.
Then there's this other whopper from Mike: "And, contrary to some suggestions, SLS launches will cost no more than existing commercial U.S. systems - which are currently advertised at about $4.5 million per ton of payload." How can you possibly make such a statement when the number of launches is unknown - and a lot of SLS development was paid for by Ares V and not included in Mike's secret math. But who cares, right? No one inside or outside of NASA has ever grasped what it really costs for the agency to develop and launch things.
This op ed piece also appeared in The Hill last week. Oddly the same exact words in the Mike Griffin/Dan Dumbacher op ed in the Huntsville times ("Contrary to some suggestions, the SLS will be very competitive with the advertised price of commercial U.S. systems - on the order of $4.5 million per ton of payload.") are to be found in an op ed "U.S. will keep lead in space with NASA's launch system" that appeared several days ago in the Orlando Sentinel - but this op ed has Doug Cooke and Steve Cook as the authors. If you read the Huntsville Times and Orlando Sentinel op eds side by side you will see that they were clearly written by the same people. Once again the Ares V mafia is mounting a PR effort to convince everyone that they were right all along.