Personnel News: August 2007 Archives

Griffin at IV&V

Editor's note: Mike Griffin spoke at IV&V today wherein he addressed dwindling research activities at NASA and how that may affect job security. Anyone who was at the speech is welcome to send in your notes/quotes on exactly what Griffin said. Send them to

Reader note: "Mike flew his own private plane out to Fairmont this morning. Bryan O'Connor also visited. After touring the facility (including a Shuttle landing simulator--where Mike safely landed on first try), there was QnA all-hands, not "a speech". I don't recall any mention of "dwindling research", but mostly how thinking about safety verification and validation, hardware or software, needs to be upfront in the design process for new systems as opposed to acting later in the "safe/unsafe umpire" way of doing business. Oh, also I don't recall anything about "job security" except for working through issues of uncovered capacity over the past 2 years and assigning space exploration work to previously "aero" centers. Some discussion of 10 healthy centers."

JPL Employees File Suit to End Background Investigations

"Twenty-eight senior scientists and engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL is a part of Caltech) have filed suit today in United States District Court for the Central District of California against NASA, the Department of Commerce and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) on behalf of a class of JPL employees who are being required to waive their privacy rights and submit to an unconstitutional intrusive background investigation in order to retain their jobs with JPL."

NASA Scientists Challenge Security Rules, The Nation

"Griffin came to JPL in June and told us this security decision was 'a direct result of 9/11,'" says Dennis Byrnes, chief engineer for flight dynamics at JPL and a thirty-year veteran of the lab. "But that was a lie. Other federal research labs aren't being required to go through this. Besides, if they're worried about terrorists, they should be checking all the UPS trucks that drive in here, not the scientists who have worked here for decades!"

Jerry Hammack

Jerry Hammack helped designed vehicles for space program, Obiturary, Houston Chronicle

"Jerome "Jerry" Hammack, an aeronautical engineer and member of the team that founded what is now the Johnson Space Center, died Monday of cancer. He was 85. Hammack also was associated with the design of the space capsule used in Project Mercury, NASA's first manned space program. He later had similar duties in the Gemini, Apollo, Skylab and shuttle projects."

From: Konstantin Penanen (Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
Date: 17-Aug-2007

Question(s): Mike, During your recent all-hands meeting at JPL a number of employees raised their concerns about the implementation of HSPD-12 and the resulting intrusive investigations. While you expressed your own basic comfort with the directive, you emphasized that the process is government-wide and your hands were tied.

Charles Force Has Died

NASA Mourns the Loss of Charles T. Force

"NASA notes with sadness the passing last week of Charles T. Force, former associate administrator for the agency's Office of Space Communications. Force left NASA in May 1996 after an aerospace career that spanned more than four decades. He joined NASA in 1965 as director of the Guam tracking station used to support the Apollo lunar landings. He would later go on to help develop, construct and employ NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System, known as TDRSS."

NASA Administrator Announces Senior Leadership Appointments

"On Friday, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin named Richard J. Gilbrech as associate administrator for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, the NASA division designing the next generation of spacecraft to return astronauts to the moon and eventually journey to Mars. Gilbrech currently serves as the director of NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. Griffin also named Robert D. Cabana, deputy director of NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, to replace Gilbrech as center director at Stennis."

NASA: Progress Made on Strategic Human Capital Management, but Future Program Challenges Remain, GAO

"NASA recognizes that critical skills now present in the civil service and contractor Space Shuttle workforce are needed to complete present and future mission objectives, but also understands that additional capability will also be needed in certain areas. Given this, NASA is looking ahead and considering how best to mitigate any potential loss of skills and knowledge that could take place in the period between the Space Shuttle's retirement in 2010 and the resumption of human space flight in 2015."

Machinists Union to Testify Before House Science and Technology Committee on NASA Workplace Issues, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers

"We welcome the opportunity to testify about the serious issues faced by workers at NASA's facility at Cape Canaveral," said Johnny Walker, District 166 Directing Business Representative who will be testifying for the IAM. The IAM represents more than 2,000 workers at NASA facilities at Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center."

Boeing and IAMAW Local Lodge 1163 Reach New Collective Bargaining Agreement

"The Boeing Company and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) Local Lodge 1163 have reached a new three-year collective bargaining agreement that affects 92 employees of the Checkout, Assembly and Payload Processing Services (CAPPS) program at Kennedy Space Center, Fla."

Editor's note: The HSPD-12 issue has not gone away at JPL. Quite the contrary - people are more alarmed than ever. For further information on the JPL rebadging issue check out this website: and this one:

Video of employees protesting HSPD-12 outside JPL and handing out flyers as other employees arrive at work.

You can also join a Yahoo group devoted to this issue.

Reader note: You might be interested to know that things are heating up at JPL around the implementation of HSPD-12. At this point in the process, virtually all employees have been assigned a 10-day window to submit the forms authorizing an unlimited background check, but according to the official JPL HSPD-12 web site there has been only about 50% compliance. The actual number quoted on the site are (note that there are approximately 6000 employees, and that the second category below is a subset of the first):



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This page is an archive of entries in the Personnel News category from August 2007.

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