Policy: September 2013 Archives

Outgoing NASA Deputy Reflects on High-profile, Big-money Programs, Space News

"Bolden, a retired Marine Corps major general and former shuttle commander loyal to his troops and trusted by lawmakers, had quickly lost the White House's confidence in his ability to explain and defend administration policy. During his first week on the job, NASA abruptly canceled a long list of scheduled media interviews with Bolden after the White House took issue with his performance during a televised all-hands meeting. Among the causes for concern, current and former administration officials have told SpaceNews, was Bolden's off-script comments about the Moon and Mars and the role NASA would play in a National Security Council-led space policy review then getting underway. "When the budget came out, they were not comfortable he could defend it," one official said. Subsequent NASA press briefings often were held via teleconference with Bolden reading an opening statement before turning it over to Garver or another official to field questions. It is Garver who will forever be known as the champion of NASA's Commercial Crew initiative, which aims to outsource crew transportation to and from the international space station."

Annual Invitation for Public Nominations by U.S. Citizens for Service on NASA Federal Advisory Committees

"NASA announces its annual invitation for public nominations for service on NASA Federal advisory committees. U.S. citizens may nominate individuals and also submit self- nominations for consideration as potential members of NASA's Federal advisory committees. NASA's Federal advisory committees have member vacancies from time to time throughout the year, and NASA will consider nominations and self-nominations to fill such intermittent vacancies. NASA is committed to selecting members to serve on its Federal advisory committees based on their individual expertise, knowledge, experience, and current/past contributions to the relevant subject area."

Keith's note: Having sat through more NAC meetings and subcommittee meetings than I can count over the past 25 years, I have to say that while there is some useful discussion, most of what is presented is rewarmed content that has been heard or discussed elsewhere. Once in a while someone climbs on a soapbox and rants (sometimes about something important) but the issue fades as soon as they are on the plane headed home. Charlie Bolden listens (I guess) to what the committee members have to say and then ignores 99% of what is said. Its mostly a slow-motion Kabuki theater: NASA people moving in the shadows - but little real substance up front.

Further, by the time anything ends up in a formal letter or report most of the teeth have been removed. Only the National Academy of Sciences does a better job at watering down real issues than the NAC. That said, it is good to have people on these committees who will sometimes try and do the right thing. These committees are only as good as the people who serve on them - so please nominate some good people - so they can try.



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