Author Topic: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?  (Read 51800 times)

Offline MATTBLAK

  • Elite Veteran & 'J.A.F.A'
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3439
  • 'Space Cadets' Let us; UNITE!! (crickets chirping)
  • New Zealand
  • Liked: 562
  • Likes Given: 929
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #20 on: 02/28/2016 11:34 AM »
Why would heads explode thinking about Lori Garver?  I don't know too much about her, but she seems to understand the value of commercial partners and fixed price contracts.

Her lack of enthusiasm for Shuttle-derived stuff makes her intensely disliked in some quarters.  You can find some quite dismissive comments about her in this forum.

In 2011 when I was at KSC covering STS-135, I spoke to about a half-dozen technicians and engineers who worked within the VAB at the time. One man mentioned that it was no secret that many people who worked within KSC on Shuttle were going to be unceremoniously dumped from their positions soon. Some, but not all would go on to do other things within NASA but certainly many of the 'greybeards' would be let go. And so it proved to be. One of the group that day said rather darkly; "If Garver becomes Administrator, they wont have to fire me - I'll quit!" And most of the others muttered their agreeing dissent.

And one other telling thing: At KSC, both Mike Griffin and Charlie Bolden were approachable and did in fact give me several minutes of their time. Before launch day, Lori Garver was doing an interview for NASA TV while I stood a respectable distance to one side. When she was finished, I approached her at a not-too-quick a step, said hello, smiling and asked if I could have a moment. She didn't even look at me, tilted her shoulder and began walking briskly away whilst at the same time an assistant (I assume) stepped in front of me saying loudly, "Sorry Sir, not now!" Did they assume I was a KSC worker with a grievance or something? Who can say. But to me, this speaks volumes. I'm not saying she'd make a bad Administrator! She's certainly qualified.

But the above details are 100% percent real. If Ms Garver becomes Administrator, dumps SLS and replaces it with a Vulcan/Falcon Heavy combo to accomplish manned exploration beyond Low Earth Orbit, she will have my grudging respect. But if she cancels SLS/Orion and replaces it with nothing, then she'll earn more eternal contempt from me (and others) than anything Mike Griffin ever did and would eclipse any failure he ever had. :(
« Last Edit: 02/28/2016 08:24 PM by MATTBLAK »
"Those who can't, Blog".   'Space Cadets' of the World - Let us UNITE!! (crickets chirping)

Offline edkyle99

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12154
    • Space Launch Report
  • Liked: 2867
  • Likes Given: 498
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #21 on: 02/28/2016 07:00 PM »
Wayne Hale, if he could be cajoled out of retirement.  The man was a brilliant shuttle program manager, and has almost too much common sense for the job.  He famously told a room of NASA and contractor folks last fall, "If you want to know who to blame, look in the mirror".

https://waynehale.wordpress.com/2015/11/04/von-braun-symposium-speech-oct-29-2015/

 - Ed Kyle

Here's how Wayne thinks about becoming NASA Administrator:

Quote from: Wayne Hale
waynehale says:   
November 7, 2015 at 2:52 pm   

Oh heavens no. I am particularly unsuited and ill prepared for what the Administrator has to do to make NASA successful. Working successful inside the beltway requires many skills that I lack. Thank you for the kind thought but lets just drop that idea.

James Webb, when asked by the JFK administration to head  NASA, told them "I don't believe this is a job for me".

 - Ed Kyle 

Offline se jones

  • Member
  • Posts: 7
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 4
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #22 on: 02/28/2016 07:19 PM »
Dava Newman.


Offline Political Hack Wannabe

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 675
  • Liked: 52
  • Likes Given: 3
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #23 on: 02/29/2016 03:16 AM »
But the above details are 100% percent real. If Ms Garver becomes Administrator, dumps SLS and replaces it with a Vulcan/Falcon Heavy combo to accomplish manned exploration beyond Low Earth Orbit, she will have my grudging respect. But if she cancels SLS/Orion and replaces it with nothing, then she'll earn more eternal contempt from me (and others) than anything Mike Griffin ever did and would eclipse any failure he ever had. :(

Fundamental question MattBlak - if she became NASA administrator, which do you think she would try to do?  I ask try because success/failure may be out of the admins control.  But what do you think she would honestly be trying to do?
It's not democrats vs republicans, it's reality vs innumerate space cadet fantasy.

Offline ChrisWilson68

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3308
  • Sunnyvale, CA
  • Liked: 1912
  • Likes Given: 2154
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #24 on: 02/29/2016 03:42 AM »
Her lack of enthusiasm for Shuttle-derived stuff makes her intensely disliked in some quarters.  You can find some quite dismissive comments about her in this forum.

In 2011 when I was at KSC covering STS-135, I spoke to about a half-dozen technicians and engineers who worked within the VAB at the time. One man mentioned that it was no secret that many people who worked within KSC on Shuttle were going to be unceremoniously dumped from their positions soon. Some, but not all would go on to do other things within NASA but certainly many of the 'greybeards' would be let go. And so it proved to be. One of the group that day said rather darkly; "If Garver becomes Administrator, they wont have to fire me - I'll quit!" And most of the others muttered their agreeing dissent.

So what you're saying is she was unpopular with a bunch of people who were about to lose their jobs because of policies she championed.  That's hardly surprising and doesn't reflect poorly on her unless you happen to believe those policies are wrong.

I think NASA needs change.  Some current programs that employ many people need to be cut.  Of course that's not going to be popular among many of the people currently working at NASA.

I hope the next NASA administrator is someone who is not popular among current NASA workers.  The kind of massive change NASA needs won't happen without a lot of pain to many people currently working there.

In the private sector in competitive markets, this kind of change is not uncommon, and it is absolutely necessary to continue to adapt and maximize efficiency.  NASA employees have been protected from that for far too long.

Offline MATTBLAK

  • Elite Veteran & 'J.A.F.A'
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3439
  • 'Space Cadets' Let us; UNITE!! (crickets chirping)
  • New Zealand
  • Liked: 562
  • Likes Given: 929
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #25 on: 02/29/2016 04:59 AM »
But the above details are 100% percent real. If Ms Garver becomes Administrator, dumps SLS and replaces it with a Vulcan/Falcon Heavy combo to accomplish manned exploration beyond Low Earth Orbit, she will have my grudging respect. But if she cancels SLS/Orion and replaces it with nothing, then she'll earn more eternal contempt from me (and others) than anything Mike Griffin ever did and would eclipse any failure he ever had. :(

Fundamental question MattBlak - if she became NASA administrator, which do you think she would try to do?  I ask try because success/failure may be out of the admins control.  But what do you think she would honestly be trying to do?

To achieve something with the resources on hand, and try to increase NASA's budget to accomplish more exploration. Any NASA Administrator I believe would be looking for a balance of Planetary and Earth Sciences, Aeronautics and Human Exploration programs: increasing the science done on ISS and making best use of it through 2024 and beyond with International, Commercial and U.S. partnerships, speeding up Commercial Crew, and taking a hard look at what's required for Beyond Earth Orbit human missions. If extra funding and extra efficiencies are in the too-hard basket for SLS/Orion, then look at alternatives; especially for Heavy Launch. Vulcan-ACES and Falcon Heavy would give a lot of capability for a much smaller cost than Block II SLS development and if you leverage that with Propellant Depots and Electric spacecraft propulsion you can open up clear and exciting possibilities. I would work towards a 'Mini-Mir' type space station in high lunar, L-1 or Distant Retrograde Orbit for a Gateway Outpost Space Station. This could be an adaptation of Mike Griffin's idea for getting ready for Mars:

Launch a crew of 3 or 4 Astronauts to the Gateway Station for about six months, then send them down to a Lunar Outpost for about a year, then return them to the Gateway for a further six months and then return to Earth. But have this crew subsist only on the supplies and resources on hand at the Outposts and no further material assistance from Earth. Then, as Mike Griffin said, mankind would be ready for a long duration trip to Mars. Year-long missions to ISS are a good start, but the Gateway and Lunar Outpost missions would be the next step. Closed loop life support systems, radiation protection and the mastery of Cislunar space. Get all the ISS partners involved with the U.S. as the leader and that could be really something. Any NASA Administrator who achieved that over an 8-to-10 year period would be damned heroic in my book. But support has got to come from Congress, the President, Commercial Space and the International Space partners.
"Those who can't, Blog".   'Space Cadets' of the World - Let us UNITE!! (crickets chirping)

Offline MATTBLAK

  • Elite Veteran & 'J.A.F.A'
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3439
  • 'Space Cadets' Let us; UNITE!! (crickets chirping)
  • New Zealand
  • Liked: 562
  • Likes Given: 929
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #26 on: 02/29/2016 05:26 AM »
Her lack of enthusiasm for Shuttle-derived stuff makes her intensely disliked in some quarters.  You can find some quite dismissive comments about her in this forum.

In 2011 when I was at KSC covering STS-135, I spoke to about a half-dozen technicians and engineers who worked within the VAB at the time. One man mentioned that it was no secret that many people who worked within KSC on Shuttle were going to be unceremoniously dumped from their positions soon. Some, but not all would go on to do other things within NASA but certainly many of the 'greybeards' would be let go. And so it proved to be. One of the group that day said rather darkly; "If Garver becomes Administrator, they wont have to fire me - I'll quit!" And most of the others muttered their agreeing dissent.

So what you're saying is she was unpopular with a bunch of people who were about to lose their jobs because of policies she championed.  That's hardly surprising and doesn't reflect poorly on her unless you happen to believe those policies are wrong.

I think NASA needs change.  Some current programs that employ many people need to be cut.  Of course that's not going to be popular among many of the people currently working at NASA.

I hope the next NASA administrator is someone who is not popular among current NASA workers.  The kind of massive change NASA needs won't happen without a lot of pain to many people currently working there.

In the private sector in competitive markets, this kind of change is not uncommon, and it is absolutely necessary to continue to adapt and maximize efficiency.  NASA employees have been protected from that for far too long.


Unpopularity is important - it speaks to people's desire to be lead. And with policies; someone is always gonna be unhappy. But leadership is very important and I feel that some of Garver's ideas were 'slash-and-burn' with no better or even merely different ideas to follow. Constellation didn't need to be cancelled - it just needed big, pragmatic change. Ares 1 was a $35 billion dollar boondoggle - using man-rated Delta IV-H or the often Powerpointed Atlas V-H would have done better for a mere fraction of Ares 1's development cost. Though Atlas's engine controversy could have ended that anyhow. And either downsizing the $35 billion+plus Ares V or eliminating it in favor of the side-mount Shannon's 'Not Shuttle C' would be brave, pragmatic choices. Still expensive, yes, but only a portion of the $70 billion+plus Ares programs.

Mike Griffin wanted to build the biggest rocket the world had ever seen, when all he really needed was one merely good enough for the job. What a bloody waste. The tens of billions that were to be spent on Ares could have gone into a reusable Lunar Lander and surface modules and systems. A NASA Administrator has to accomplish things within a reasonable budget, without tearing apart everything that makes NASA strong and what it is - including the people. After Shuttle, some downsizing was inevitable, no question. But the VAB, Crawlers and Launchpads could have been left largely alone for Not Shuttle C, or merely adapted for enhanced EELV systems. Or get Space X on the job for better costs.

The point I'm coming around to is this - I'm an Exploration Space Cadet and I'm sure many others are, too. If Lori Garver merely came in and cut costs and didn't push or plan for progressive things; just cruised on a low-energy idle in caretaking mode (Charlie Bolden, anyone?) - then what's the point!? Since she didn't actually get to be Administrator, perhaps I'm selling her short or doing her a disservice? We shall have to see - the job is coming up sooner rather than later and if she wants it; she has an opportunity to do better than Mike Griffin and go down in history as a leader (with a small L) in an echo of James Webb.
"Those who can't, Blog".   'Space Cadets' of the World - Let us UNITE!! (crickets chirping)

Offline ChrisWilson68

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3308
  • Sunnyvale, CA
  • Liked: 1912
  • Likes Given: 2154
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #27 on: 02/29/2016 05:38 AM »
Her lack of enthusiasm for Shuttle-derived stuff makes her intensely disliked in some quarters.  You can find some quite dismissive comments about her in this forum.

In 2011 when I was at KSC covering STS-135, I spoke to about a half-dozen technicians and engineers who worked within the VAB at the time. One man mentioned that it was no secret that many people who worked within KSC on Shuttle were going to be unceremoniously dumped from their positions soon. Some, but not all would go on to do other things within NASA but certainly many of the 'greybeards' would be let go. And so it proved to be. One of the group that day said rather darkly; "If Garver becomes Administrator, they wont have to fire me - I'll quit!" And most of the others muttered their agreeing dissent.

So what you're saying is she was unpopular with a bunch of people who were about to lose their jobs because of policies she championed.  That's hardly surprising and doesn't reflect poorly on her unless you happen to believe those policies are wrong.

I think NASA needs change.  Some current programs that employ many people need to be cut.  Of course that's not going to be popular among many of the people currently working at NASA.

I hope the next NASA administrator is someone who is not popular among current NASA workers.  The kind of massive change NASA needs won't happen without a lot of pain to many people currently working there.

In the private sector in competitive markets, this kind of change is not uncommon, and it is absolutely necessary to continue to adapt and maximize efficiency.  NASA employees have been protected from that for far too long.


Unpopularity is important - it speaks to people's desire to be lead. And with policies; someone is always gonna be unhappy. But leadership is very important and I feel that some of Garver's ideas were 'slash-and-burn' with no better or even merely different ideas to follow.

Garver may well have a lot of bad points.  I'm just addressing the issue of popularity.  I don't think being unpopular among the current NASA workers is, by itself, reason to think someone would not be a good administrator of NASA.

Any good NASA administrator (by my subjective judgement of good) would support cutting many NASA programs and cutting deeply into the current NASA staff.  Effective change can't come without that.  So, any good NASA administrator (again, by my judgement about what is good) is almost certain to be unpopular with large numbers of people who would lose their jobs to her or his policies.

If you disagree, that's fine, but I think it comes down to a disagreement about policy questions.

People who've spent their entire careers doing something one way are not going to like being told it's all going to change, even if they keep their paychecks, but when it comes with losing their paychecks, they're almost certain to hate the policies.  That doesn't make the policies automatically wrong.

Of course, people can be unpopular and bad too.

Offline woods170

  • IRAS fan
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6704
  • IRAS fan
  • The Netherlands
  • Liked: 2161
  • Likes Given: 646
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #28 on: 02/29/2016 06:52 AM »
<snip>
Any NASA Administrator who achieved that over an 8-to-10 year period would be damned heroic in my book. But support has got to come from Congress, the President, Commercial Space and the International Space partners.
Emphasis mine
With three of the four not giving (enough) support (currently), due to financial restrictions, it is pretty much a given that the next (several) NASA administrators will not be heroes in your book.
It all boils down to this IMO: no bucks, no Buck Rogers.
The single over-riding problem right now IMO is not the guy (or girl) in charge of NASA, but the lack of funding to do anything meaningfull in a reasonable timeframe.

Dreams of engaging commercial entities to do the heavy-lifting, for deep space exploration, are not taking into account the current political system in the US. And that is all about "bringing home the bacon". IMO for the foreseeable future US Congress will not accept a situation where NASA is NOT building the rocket. So, to do exploration in this timeframe, it must be factored in that a hugely expensive, NASA-led rocket-building program will be involved. It will be a given/fact and any exploration program will have to work from there IMO.

Considering this given/fact, and despite all the re-directing of money towards SLS and Orion, and the big words from US Congress "to properly fund NASA", NASA is still short on funding. Rumor is that just GSDO alone is already short several hundreds of millions of US dollars on Orion/SLS infrastructure. And recent news about the core stage schedule suggests that they are having funding trouble over there as well. SLS may not be as bad as Ares V, but it is still a big-*ss rocket sucking up a LOT of money. Even if a next president cancels SLS, it will be quickly replaced by yet another NASA-led rocket development program costing big bucks IMO.

My point is: wanting a big-*ss launcher involved in space exploration is one thing. Properly funding it is quite another. The current situation with regards to funding is IMO just as bad as it was for CxP: Bush jr. announced VSE and bold plans to go to the Moon and eventually Mars. But he never got it properly funded. The current "big thing" is Mars and SLS and Orion. And again, it is not properly being funded. Sustained funding at proper levels is the problem, not Griffin, Bolden, Garver or whoever is running the show at NASA.
« Last Edit: 02/29/2016 08:27 AM by woods170 »

Offline MATTBLAK

  • Elite Veteran & 'J.A.F.A'
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3439
  • 'Space Cadets' Let us; UNITE!! (crickets chirping)
  • New Zealand
  • Liked: 562
  • Likes Given: 929
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #29 on: 02/29/2016 07:06 AM »
ChrisWilson68, I'm not explicitly disagreeing with you or anyone else at all - many of the things I advocated above are change and would not be welcomed - especially anything that would cut Pork spending which eliminating the Ares Brothers or SLS would do. But as I sometimes say; we are all reading from the same book, but are more often not on the same page.
« Last Edit: 02/29/2016 09:36 AM by MATTBLAK »
"Those who can't, Blog".   'Space Cadets' of the World - Let us UNITE!! (crickets chirping)

Offline Proponent

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4917
  • Liked: 668
  • Likes Given: 460
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #30 on: 02/29/2016 12:30 PM »
If Ms Garver becomes Administrator, dumps SLS and replaces it with a Vulcan/Falcon Heavy combo to accomplish manned exploration beyond Low Earth Orbit, she will have my grudging respect. But if she cancels SLS/Orion and replaces it with nothing, then she'll earn more eternal contempt from me (and others) than anything Mike Griffin ever did and would eclipse any failure he ever had. :(

It strikes me as so unlikely that Orion/SLS will ever accomplish any significant exploration that I would hard pressed to regard its elimination as much of a loss, even if it were replaced by no BEO program at all.  I do realize that I may be on the pessimistic end of the spectrum.

Offline muomega0

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 851
  • Liked: 64
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #31 on: 02/29/2016 01:48 PM »
If Ms Garver becomes Administrator, dumps SLS and replaces it with a Vulcan/Falcon Heavy combo to accomplish manned exploration beyond Low Earth Orbit, she will have my grudging respect. But if she cancels SLS/Orion and replaces it with nothing, then she'll earn more eternal contempt from me (and others) than anything Mike Griffin ever did and would eclipse any failure he ever had. :(
It strikes me as so unlikely that Orion/SLS will ever accomplish any significant exploration that I would hard pressed to regard its elimination as much of a loss, even if it were replaced by no BEO program at all.  I do realize that I may be on the pessimistic end of the spectrum.
The sun will come out tomorrow.  :D   There are no missions with SLS/Orion, so if you cancel SLS/Orion then you have the exact same program:  no missions and no technology development.

Most realized a decade ago that 2 launch scenario with SLS would not be practical, not to mention the vocal few who realized neither would 1.5 launch.  Reduce the total yearly SLS costs to 1B/yr and the case still does not close because it is not common with the launch vehicle or component level with smaller LVs to spread the fixed costs over many flights.  This comparison has been provided numerous times and in real time with Falcon.

The question becomes "How to spend the 3B+ more efficiently?" and how/who provides these programs?  The responsibility lays on this lack of leadership committee.

The most logical way forward is flexible path to *all* destinations since NASA continued to send men to the moon long after the public lost interest.  Rather than build and operate decades old hardware,  imagine landing crew on a asteroid or servicing the depots and satellites at L2 discovering the universe and answering the question unknown, building, operating, and updated tugs, cleaning up space debris, asteroid protection, asteroid ISRU, or the habitats as PR for the Mars expeditions and beyond to the limitless frontier.

"Sixty years ago, when the Russians beat us into space, we didnít deny Sputnik was up there. We didnít argue about the science, or shrink our research and development budget. We built a space program almost overnight, and twelve years later, we were walking on the moon."

How can anyone ask a new administrator to propose exploring at planetary distances when almost the entire NASA space budget is consumed in LEO with zero technology development?   Have the administrator ask taxpayers to cough up 1% for space when the owners of NASA have not even considered many more cost effective methods of reaching space, while these same tax payers are faced with proposed huge tax cuts, and spending more on defense including non-NASA space?  How does the administrator address the lack of accomplishment of living and working in space as it crosses over to being welfare, even though space includes many hardworking folks?  Would not the private sector 'admin' or CEO simply consolidate excessive space product lines, let the USG provide the unemployment insurance, and skip retraining for another space business, which would be their competition?  Is there not a better way?

There are dozens of folks in the space community who would be great Administrators who have the ability to listen to real data, who will level with this lack of leadership committee, and will provide quite an exciting path forward, so much so it may finally receive that plus up.  Perhaps campaign finance and gerrymandered districts will also be changed as well.   My oh my, pessimistic or such an optimistic viewpoint.  ;D
« Last Edit: 03/01/2016 03:45 PM by muomega0 »

Offline JasonAW3

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2310
  • Claremore, Ok.
  • Liked: 356
  • Likes Given: 9
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #32 on: 02/29/2016 03:23 PM »
If Ms Garver becomes Administrator, dumps SLS and replaces it with a Vulcan/Falcon Heavy combo to accomplish manned exploration beyond Low Earth Orbit, she will have my grudging respect. But if she cancels SLS/Orion and replaces it with nothing, then she'll earn more eternal contempt from me (and others) than anything Mike Griffin ever did and would eclipse any failure he ever had. :(

It strikes me as so unlikely that Orion/SLS will ever accomplish any significant exploration that I would hard pressed to regard its elimination as much of a loss, even if it were replaced by no BEO program at all.  I do realize that I may be on the pessimistic end of the spectrum.

I don't have as much of a problem with the Orion craft itself, as I do with the SLS.  It's too costly and eats too much of the budget for each launch.  If it were a reusable system, where at least a major portion of the cost could be amortized over time, I could agree with it. as it is?  I don't think so...
My God!  It's full of universes!

Offline zubenelgenubi

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 809
  • Arc to Arcturus, then Spike to Spica
  • Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Liked: 148
  • Likes Given: 423
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #33 on: 02/29/2016 03:34 PM »
Wayne Hale, if he could be cajoled out of retirement.  The man was a brilliant shuttle program manager, and has almost too much common sense for the job.  He famously told a room of NASA and contractor folks last fall, "If you want to know who to blame, look in the mirror".

https://waynehale.wordpress.com/2015/11/04/von-braun-symposium-speech-oct-29-2015/

 - Ed Kyle

Here's how Wayne thinks about becoming NASA Administrator:

Quote from: Wayne Hale
waynehale says:   
November 7, 2015 at 2:52 pm   

Oh heavens no. I am particularly unsuited and ill prepared for what the Administrator has to do to make NASA successful. Working successful inside the beltway requires many skills that I lack. Thank you for the kind thought but lets just drop that idea.
(From the comments section of https://waynehale.wordpress.com/2015/11/04/von-braun-symposium-speech-oct-29-2015/)

James Webb, when asked by the JFK administration to head  NASA, told them "I don't believe this is a job for me".

 - Ed Kyle
I think the old expression "nolo episcopari" is most suitable here.  Maybe it's best that the best person for the job isn't trying to get the job!

(nolo episcopari = "I do not want to be bishop")

I also believe Wayne Hale would be an excellent choice (sorry, Mr. Hale).
« Last Edit: 02/29/2016 03:45 PM by zubenelgenubi »
Support your local planetarium!

Offline Wayne Hale

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 191
  • Liked: 274
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #34 on: 02/29/2016 06:04 PM »
Thanks for making my point before I had to.

Leading a major government agency requires someone who knows how to get things done in Washington.  How to work within an administration (where space will likely not even be on the list of things to do worry about). 

Negotiations with OMB and EOP are absolutely critical and require hard work, creativity, and more than little political skill.

Working with Congressmen, Senators, and their staffers is an exacting skill.  Without understanding what is going on a novice administrator could be used as a pawn in a bigger political game.

We need a great administrator like James Webb.  Someone who knows how to get resources, how to get Presidential attention, and someone who can organize and motivate the troops in the agency to all march to the same goal.

These are real leadership requirements and hopefully the next administrator will have them.

Offline Political Hack Wannabe

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 675
  • Liked: 52
  • Likes Given: 3
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #35 on: 02/29/2016 06:33 PM »
Just to add one other suggestion to Mr. Hale's excellent post - there is also knowing how to run a large organization (which is linked at the hip to understanding DC). 

Someone who has radical ideas is not enough, by a long shot
It's not democrats vs republicans, it's reality vs innumerate space cadet fantasy.

Offline zubenelgenubi

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 809
  • Arc to Arcturus, then Spike to Spica
  • Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Liked: 148
  • Likes Given: 423
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #36 on: 02/29/2016 06:49 PM »
Thanks for making my point before I had to.

Leading a major government agency requires someone who knows how to get things done in Washington.  How to work within an administration (where space will likely not even be on the list of things to do worry about). 

Negotiations with OMB and EOP are absolutely critical and require hard work, creativity, and more than little political skill.

Working with Congressmen, Senators, and their staffers is an exacting skill.  Without understanding what is going on a novice administrator could be used as a pawn in a bigger political game.

We need a great administrator like James Webb.  Someone who knows how to get resources, how to get Presidential attention, and someone who can organize and motivate the troops in the agency to all march to the same goal.

These are real leadership requirements and hopefully the next administrator will have them.

Thank you, sir, for the candor and thoughtfulness of your response.

One question, to anyone who can answer: what is EOP?  Thank you.
« Last Edit: 02/29/2016 06:50 PM by zubenelgenubi »
Support your local planetarium!

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3594
  • Liked: 2120
  • Likes Given: 2968
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #37 on: 02/29/2016 06:57 PM »
Executive Office of the President
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline eric z

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 152
  • Liked: 64
  • Likes Given: 160
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #38 on: 02/29/2016 07:15 PM »
 Mr.Hale, It would be thrilling to even get this comment on the same page as yours! I have hundreds of hours of tape from your briefings during the shuttle-era, and one reason for your appointment would be based on that. You always took the time to carefully answer each question, without making the questioner feel stupid [even though many questions were!]. I learned a Huge amount of stuff about the wide range of subjects that particular issues with the shuttle, or mission could bring up. Not to mention the reasoning, the pro/con aspects of solving problems a certain way or not. Those space reporters back then ::), wow, that would be a great book just there-some great, some not-so,some technical smartey-pants,some human-interest oriented types. You exhibited great patience and humour, which will serve you well here on Capitol Hill!
   Of ALL the subjects on NSF.com the one I've noticed generates the most tension, the most vile, is the architecture choices early on [Stick], and what to do instead. As a taxpayer and a first-time home owner after 45 years of marriage and renting, I'm sick of our tax money being wasted on programs being cancelled way too late to save money/ I'd rather see someone crack the whip and get them on a better track. So, let me use this chance to ask you: What would you do with SLS, if you could give us a glimpse into your thinking?
« Last Edit: 02/29/2016 08:14 PM by eric z »

Offline Lar

  • Fan boy at large
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7452
  • Saw Gemini live on TV
  • A large LEGO storage facility ... in Michigan
  • Liked: 4348
  • Likes Given: 2937
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #39 on: 02/29/2016 08:48 PM »
An old aphorism:  Fear the candidate who campaigns for the job.

That means that often the best candidate is one who actively disavows any interest and who gives reasons why they are not the best choice. (up to a point...)

I am not saying Mr. Hale is someone we should force at gunpoint to take the job, (although I'm tempted) I'm just saying that I'd rather have someone that explains why it's a tough job than someone who glibly claims they have what it takes.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Tags: