Congress: November 2012 Archives

Rep. McCarthy Seeks to Rename Dryden Flight Research Center as the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center

"Congressman Kevin McCarthy today announced legislation to redesignate the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Dryden Flight Research Center as the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center and the Western Aeronautical Test Range as the Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range. Joining Congressman McCarthy in introducing this legislation are Congressman Buck McKeon, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, Congressman Ken Calvert, Congressman Lamar Smith, Congressman Steven Palazzo, and Congressman Adam Schiff."

JPL workers seek federal probe into stolen NASA laptop, Pasadena Star-News

"Rep. Schiff, who oversees NASA funding through the Appropriations Subcommittee and whose district includes JPL, issued a statement criticizing NASA security. "I will be calling on the agency to report on and accelerate its efforts to maintain data Advertisement security," he said. "The low-tech theft of a laptop is troubling enough, but it only scratches the surface of potentially greater data vulnerabilities." A NASA spokesman didn't return a call for comment Wednesday."

JPL employees demand probe of NASA's data security measures

"Rep. Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park) said in a statement she would push the agency to improve data security. "NASA has previously had security breaches of sensitive information," she said. "It has to stop."

Losing in Court, and to Laptop Thieves, in a Battle With NASA Over Private Data, NY Times

"In a 2009 report titled "NASA Needs to Remedy Vulnerabilities in Key Networks," the Government Accountability Office noted that the agency had reported 1,120 security incidents in fiscal 2007 and 2008 alone."

The Paradox of NASA Budget Cuts, IVN

"The estimated $1 trillion cost of the JSF program dwarfs that of NASA's $25 billion Apollo program. Yet, despite NASA's historical successes and technological breakthroughs, its budget will face another round of crippling cuts next year that is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. These cuts are now becoming a trend for the White House based on recent fiscal budget proposals sent to Congress."

U.S. House Science Committee Set For Big Turnover, ScienceInsider

"A key science policymaking body in the U.S. House of Representatives is about to get a makeover. Ten current members of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology have been defeated in this year's elections or are retiring, according to an analysis by ScienceInsider. That's one-quarter of the total membership. The panel is also expected to get a new chair, as current chief Representative Ralph M. Hall (R-TX), is term-limited under current House rules. Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) is considered a favorite to win the gavel, but former committee chair Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-WI) has reportedly expressed interest in regaining his old job."

Sensenbrenner Seeks House Science Committee Chairmanship

"Additionally, it's more important than ever that the House exercises our constitutional oversight role. The Obama Administration has shown its willingness to manipulate science for political ends and threaten our domestic energy production and our economy in the process. I have a record of effective oversight, and I will continue to keep the Administration accountable for their use of science in crafting regulations and policies."

Reps. Smith, Sensenbrenner, Rohrabacher stake claims to Science Committee gavel, The Hill

"Sensenbrenner faces competition for the slot from Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), whom an aide said is "actively pursuing" the chairmanship. Sensenbrenner said his first priority will be to "pass smart science and space policy that spurs job creation and ensures America's future competitiveness."

Keith's note: The National Research Council has created the Committee on Human Spaceflight - yet another semi-annual effort to study and advise Congress on NASA's human space flight activities: "In accordance with Section 204 of the NASA Authorization Act 2010, the National Research Council (NRC) will appoint an ad hoc committee to undertake a study to review the long-term goals, core capabilities, and direction of the U.S. human spaceflight program and make recommendations to enable a sustainable U.S. human spaceflight program."

Do these congressionally-mandated NRC policy committees ever really say anything useful or new about space policy? These NASA efforts are quasi-regular exercises where a group of familiar names an a few new ones are brought together for a series of sedate meetings that last for more than a year. You see, congressional authorization committees direct NASA to pay for these studies when they feel that Congress needs a blue ribbon panel to produce verbiage that they can use to beat NASA and the current administration over the head when Congress feels that they are not being listened to.

Once completed, the policy reports are only cited if the have useful sentences that support (or seem to support) a niche position that one politician or committee may take. By definition, NRC reports are never controversial but rather embody lots of slow-motion consensus and inevitable watering down of important issues. Its not that these are substandard efforts by any means since the NRC is an impressive, competent organization. At most, however, these studies take a long time to conduct and are usually a blip on the radar when they issue their final document.

The NASA Authorization Act of 2010 was signed into law on 11 October 2010. It has taken more than 2 years for everyone to get around to starting this study. The start date listed for this committee is November 2012 and its report is due for delivery in May 2014. That's 1 year, 7 months. This NRC is responding to authorizing legislation passed in 2010 by the 111th Congress, with a committee now being requested by the 112th Congress, and its report will be presented to yet another Congress (113th) during the second year of a new presidential administration in mid-2014 - one where policies are in place that will differ from those in place when the task was assigned, with budgets that differ from initial conditions under which the study was undertaken.



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