Transition: February 2017 Archives

Keith's note: According to her Wikipedia page Lesa Roe "is currently serving as the Acting Deputy Administrator of NASA. Roe is also the Deputy Associate Administrator of NASA, being in role since May 2014.". I cannot find any announcement from NASA or the White House that she was appointed to the position of Acting NASA Deputy Administrator.

The Wikipedia page was last revised to add Roe's new position on 1 February 2017 by someone named "Hosgeorges" from the UK. On 22 February 2017 someone named دارين added a picture of Lesa Roe. Prior to that Roe's Wikipedia page was last changed on 8 May 2016. This senior leadership page on NASA.gov only mentions Robert Lightfoot as Acting NASA Administrator. But this page at NASA.gov (last changed on 10 February 2017) says "Deputy Administrator: Lesa Roe (acting)". So Hosgeorges in the UK knew about this NASA management change nearly a month ago - and NASA quietly added it to its website 2 weeks ago - but no one thought to put a memo out for the rest if us?

But wait: there's more: This page links to a NASA Advisory Council page shows a group portrait of the NAC with former NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and refers to "Mr. Kenneth Bowersox (NAC Interim Chair)". Yet this page mentions the NAC and says "Chair: General Lester L. Lyles (USAF, Ret.)"

On 20 January 2017 Robert Lightfoot sent out a memo "Message from the Acting Administrator of NASA" which said "As the transition progresses, we have some initial assignments from the new administration. Erik Noble has been named White House Senior Advisor at NASA. Greg Autry, who was with the Agency Review Team, has been named White House Liaison."

According to this current NASA Organization Structure page last updated 10 February 2017 Erik Noble is now "Chief of Staff (acting)". According to multiple sources Greg Autry told people that he would be leaving his White House Liaison position at NASA effective 17 March 2017. But he left on 23 February instead. Oddly, the page was last updated on 10 February 2017 yet made no mention of Autry despite the importance of his position at the time.

Things are starting to get a little strange when NASA makes significant agency appointments like this and does not tell anyone else - except Hosgeorges and دارين that is.

King for a Day, Wayne Hale

"Many of my old friends and colleagues are asking me a question these days: "If you were NASA Administrator, what would you have the agency do?" I know what they want to hear: Moon, Mars, or Asteroid - what is the next destination for human spaceflight? But that is not the answer I would give. Whatever 'horizon goal' is established, without significant organizational and cultural changes at NASA, the chance for success is in doubt. To make NASA into the extraordinarily effective organization it once was and could be again will require significant work to transform it. NASA is filled with extremely smart, highly motivated individuals who are the experts in their fields. They can do amazing things. Measured against any other organization - government or commercial - the NASA civil service and contractor work force is outstanding in terms of inherent capabilities and the desire to make their projects successful. But success in NASA's endeavors is hobbled by three structural and cultural problems: (1) inter-center rivalry, (2) mind numbing bureaucracy, and (3) a paralyzing cultural requirement for perfection in all things."

TrumpSpace Update

Exclusive - Rep. Bridenstine: Shoot the Next One Down, Mr. President, Rep. Jim Bridenstine, Breitbart

"President Trump should order the Secretary of Defense to position American assets and shoot down Kim Jong Un's next missile launch. Intercepting a North Korean missile would signal to Pyongyang that America has the capability and the willingness to defend our allies and the homeland. In the parlance of military strategy, the missile defense option enhances deterrence-by-denial. North Korea is more likely to be deterred from developing missiles if robust, layered missile defenses deny them any strategic benefit from striking first. The only two alternatives are preemptive offensive action and, of course, more strongly worded UN Security Council resolutions and toothless sanctions."

Keith's note: If a North Korean rocket threatens U.S. assets - or even seems to be doing so - we should defend ourselves. No argument there. Bridenstine has a military background and it is natural that he'd have concerns about issues such as this - and speak out about them. When I have heard him speak about space he does well when it comes to military, communications, and commercial space. But when it comes to NASA science - nothing but crickets. If Bridenstine is the nominee to become NASA administrator he clearly needs a Deputy and a strong AA and Center Director contingent to make up for his clear lack of science management experience.

The fact that this "exclusive" op ed by Bridenstine appears on Breitbart News, the controversial former employer of Trump's avatar Steve Bannon should not be lost on people. This sort of op ed placement does not happen by accident these days. There is clearly an idealogical mind meld going on here - as well as the beginnings of a possible Alternate NASA PR machine - one independent of NASA PAO - in the making.

White House prepping government reorg executive order, Federal News Radio

"The White House is preparing a new executive order to require agencies to plan and suggest ways to reorganize the government. Federal News Radio has learned that a draft order is circulating in the government and could be issued this week after the expected Senate confirmation of Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) to be the director of the Office of Management and Budget. The draft order includes a series of requirements for agencies to quickly turn around plans to improve how the department meets its mission. The draft also details a list of elements the agencies need to include in those plans ranging from a list of programs that are duplicative to whether state and local governments or the private sector could do the work better to the costs of ending or merging the capabilities. The draft order also calls on agencies to determine if back-office functions are duplicative with other services within another agency, bureau or program and if so, could they be consolidated."

Zero Base Review Team Report, 19 May 1995 (earlier NASA RIF Watch post)

"An internal NASA review team has produced proposals to enable the agency to meet the tough funding targets set by the Administration in the 1996 budget, Administrator Daniel S. Goldin said today. The proposals include sweeping management and organizational changes to cut spending an additional $5 billion by the end of the decade. "I'm pleased with what I've seen so far," Goldin said. "We've found ways to streamline operations, reduce overlap, and significantly cut costs without cutting our world-class space and aeronautics programs. We have much hard work before us, but I believe a stronger and more efficient NASA will emerge."

Trump's Advisers Want to Return Humans to the Moon in Three Years, The Atlantic

"[Planetary Society's Casey] Dreier cautions that the latest glimpse of potential Trump space policy may be just that--a peek into the internal debate over NASA's mission, rather than a clear roadmap for the space agency's future. ... Human spaceflight programs are expensive, and risk overshadowing such projects. "Science always tends to suffer when human spaceflight programs go over budget," Dreier says."

Keith's note: Of course Casey Drier omits the flip side of this statement - when space science missions go over budget (crashing Mars probes in the 90s, James Webb Space Telescope, Mars Science Laboratory, Mars 2020 rover etc.) Space Science tends to suffer much, much more - and it is self-inflicted.

U.S. Senate bill aims to make sure federal scientists aren't 'muzzled', Science

"Congressional Democrats are rallying behind a bill to protect federal scientists from attempts to interfere with scientific discourse and dissemination of research results. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) yesterday introduced a bill (S.338) that would codify existing policies at some two dozen federal agencies. Those policies stem from a 2009 executive order from former President Barack Obama that required them to spell out how they would safeguard scientific integrity. The policies have dribbled out over the last 7 years."

- S.338 A bill to protect scientific integrity in Federal research and policymaking, and for other purposes
- Confusion Over Federal Agency Public Information Guidelines, earlier post
- Just A Reminder: NASA Is Required To Tell Everyone What It Does, earlier post

Trump advisers' space plan: To moon, Mars and beyond, Politco

"Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, another commercial space evangelist with close ties to Trump, is also pushing the White House to embark on a major effort to privatize U.S. space efforts. "A good part of the Trump administration would like a lot more aggressive, risk-taking, competitive entrepreneurial approach to space," Gingrich said in an interview. "A smaller but still powerful faction represents Boeing and the expensive old contractors who have soaked up money with minimum results.

"It is a big fight," said former Republican Rep. Robert Walker of Pennsylvania, who drafted the Trump campaign's space policy and remains involved in the deliberations. "There are billions of dollars at stake. It has come to a head now when it has become clear to the space community that the real innovative work is being done outside of NASA."

- Commercial Spaceflight Federation Sells Out and Endorses SLS (Update), earlier post
- Trump Transition Team Wants Old Space Vs New Space Smackdown, earlier post
- Economic Assessment and Systems Analysis of an Evolvable Lunar Architecture that Leverages Commercial Space Capabilities and Public-Private-Partnerships, Charles Miller et al, Research Gate

As tweeted by @NASAWatch from the FAA Commercial Space Transportation conference in Washington, DC today:

- Bridenstine: talking about Gene Cernan and his dream of sending Americans back to the Moon
- Bridenstine is presenting a laundry list of things China is doing/planning in space that America no longer does.
- Bridenstine: when we started paying Russia for Soyuz seats cost was $21m. Now it is $80m. "We are being gouged"
- Bridenstine: need to strike balance between what govt operates and what it procures
- Bridenstine: space situational awareness should be done by civilian entity no DOD
- Bridenstine wants to see govt models for for procurement augmented by commercial solutions
- Bridenstine: govt needs to plan for commercial systems in architectures
- Bridenstine: value of commercial solutions in space because prices lower due to competition
- Bridenstine: talks about commercial paths to cis-lunar space and surface of the Moon
- Bridenstine: need to update regulatory environment for space industry. FAA AST must be adequately funded.
- Bridenstine: FAA office commercial space has battles within FAA. Reorganization needed. Looking for Trump to elevate office
- Bridnestine: space is both an advantage and an Achilles heel

Smith, Babin Urge Passage of NASA Transition Authorization Act, SpacePolicyOnline

"Two top Republicans on the House Science, Space, and Technology (SS&T) Committee are urging quick passage of the 2017 NASA Transition Authorization Act. ... House SS&T Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX), who chaired the Space Subcommittee in the last Congress and is expected to do so again, both spoke at a Space Transportation Association (STA) event this evening. Smith said he hoped for action in the Senate in the next few days."

S.3346 - National Aeronautics and Space Administration Transition Authorization Act of 2016

Trump Space Policy Options Emphasize Role of Private Enterprise, Wall Street Journal

"Growing tension between the two approaches is highlighted by a Jan. 23 email from Charles Miller, a member of NASA's original transition team, to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a confidant of Mr. Trump who also served on a higher-level transition team. In the memo, Mr. Miller advocates that NASA "hold an internal competition between Old Space and New Space" to determine the best and least expensive way to return to the Moon. "If this initiative can be approved quickly by the White House, and appropriately funded," he emphasized, there could be "private American astronauts, on private space ships, circling the Moon by 2020." According to the email, Mr. Miller, a former NASA official, says he "rewrote the 80+ page" original transition report to emphasize commercial space partnerships with the agreement of White House aide Erik Noble. ... In an interview, Mr. Miller said his proposals, which he believes were forwarded to other White House aides, didn't target, seek to downgrade or negatively affect SLS. The recommendations about the program were "very neutral," he added, and didn't affect it "one way or the other." Mr. Miller said he was asked by Mr. Noble "to help with fixing a draft document," and "I didn't consider it out of bounds."

Keith's note: NASA paid Miller to do a study on this topic in 2015. As for this whole "Old Space/New Space" thing. I can't wait to see how Miller et al define these two terms. Despite frequent use of these terms amongst space advocates no one has come up with a consistent/coherent definition. As such I am trying to imagine how you can have these two imaginary camps compete with one another. How does one certify that they are New Space or Old Space?

- Summary of Results of a NASA-funded Study on: An Evolvable Lunar Architecture Leveraging Commercial Partnerships, Charles Miller President, NexGen Space LLC

- Affording a Return to the Moon by Leveraging Commercial Partnerships, NASA KSC (NASA server may have security issues)

- Economic Assessment and Systems Analysis of an Evolvable Lunar Architecture that Leverages Commercial Space Capabilities and Public-Private-Partnerships, Charles Miller et al, Research Gate

"This study's primary purpose was to assess the feasibility of new approaches for achieving our national goals in space. NexGen assembled a team of former NASA executives and engineers who assessed the economic and technical viability of an "Evolvable Lunar Architecture" (ELA) that leverages commercial capabilities and services that are existing or likely to emerge in the near-term. We evaluated an ELA concept that was designed as an incremental, low-cost and low-risk method for returning humans to the Moon in a manner that directly supports NASA's long-term plan to send humans to Mars."

Scientists plan to march on Washington -- but where will it get them?, Washington Post

"Mike Brown, the Caltech astronomer who famously "killed Pluto" with his discovery of dwarf planets in the outer solar system, said he still has misgivings. He's not opposed to activism in general -- Brown took his daughter to the Women's March in Los Angeles in January and called it "one of the most amazing things I've ever done." But he's not sure marching is the best way for scientists to advocate for their work. "Having a bunch of scientists marching takes the interesting thing about scientists away from them," he said. "These are educators and teachers and scientists [whose] super power is teaching you cool things about the universe around you." Maybe instead of marching, researchers should take Young's advice and conduct a teach-in instead, he mused. "I don't know," he said. "The attacks on science are pretty unprecedented, and maybe all these softer ideas are just crazy."

- March for Science
- @ScienceMarchDC

Former NASA head concerned about climate data efforts under Trump, Nola.com

"NASA has yet to receive specific marching orders from the Trump administration, but you have voiced concerns. What is on your mind?

I'm having a difficult time adjusting to the turmoil of the first week of the Trump administration. Coming out of NASA and being a former military commander we are very dependent on understanding what is going on in the environment and understanding the need for climate data before we can deploy Marines and sailors and airmen. Finding an administration that doesn't understand that and day-by-day seems to be curtailing the availability of valuable data to decision makers concerns me.

Can you be more specific?

We provide a lot of (climate and environmental) data through over-flights and satellite data. That's what I think is threatened if we're not careful with the policies of the new administration."

Growing wave of federal workers is pushing back against Trump, Washington Post

"Presidents appoint the heads of agencies and a few officials at the top of each department, but the great majority of those who implement any administration's agenda are civil servants who enjoy legal protections meant to encourage them to blow the whistle on fraud and corruption. Short of formal whistleblowing, workers are finding small ways to express their opposition. At the Justice Department, some career civil servants asked their bosses whether they were allowed to protest their new president by marching or contacting a member of Congress. The answer was yes, if they did so on their own time and in their personal capacity. The day after the November election, the department's ethics office said workers could wear clothing that contained a political message. One lawyer who had worn a Hillary Clinton T-shirt beneath another layer of clothing said that once the advice was issued, "I took the layer off." In the past few days, protest accounts have popped up on social media from employees at several agencies."


Loading

 



Monthly Archives

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Transition category from February 2017.

Transition: January 2017 is the previous archive.

Transition: March 2017 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.