Author Topic: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?  (Read 136351 times)

Offline clongton

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10323
  • Connecticut
    • Direct Launcher
  • Liked: 2147
  • Likes Given: 682
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #720 on: 12/31/2017 10:55 PM »
In other words the Associate Administrator is

1. Er... the associate administrator's duties are whatever the administrator decides that they should be. If the administrator decides that there is a single important issue to address they can put the AA on that and nothing else.

2. You guys didn't pay any attention to the AA position when there was an administrator. You're retrospectively assigning the position greater weight because the AA is currently the acting administrator.

1. Absolutely true. I think I covered that.
2. Can't speak for anyone else, but untrue for me.

My above posts are culled directly from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Act of 1958, signed by President Eisenhower.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline incoming

  • Member
  • Posts: 83
  • washington, DC
  • Liked: 55
  • Likes Given: 32
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #721 on: 01/02/2018 04:33 PM »
In other words the Associate Administrator is

1. Er... the associate administrator's duties are whatever the administrator decides that they should be. If the administrator decides that there is a single important issue to address they can put the AA on that and nothing else.

2. You guys didn't pay any attention to the AA position when there was an administrator. You're retrospectively assigning the position greater weight because the AA is currently the acting administrator.

1. Absolutely true. I think I covered that.
2. Can't speak for anyone else, but untrue for me.

My above posts are culled directly from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Act of 1958, signed by President Eisenhower.

This is getting confusing. The current law that governs NASA can be found here: http://uscode.house.gov/ 

See the beginning of title 51 for the Space Act of 1958 as it currently exists as it has been amended many, many times.

The administrator and deputy administrator positions are statutorily defined, the associate administrator is not. Even the deputy administrator is very weakly defined. Nearly all of the duties defined in code go to the administrator. 

There have traditionally been associate administrators for each of the directorates.  There is also a "head civil servant" AA that has been in and out of favor over the years.  Most recently, Mike Griffin reinstated the position and Charlie Bolden kept it in place. IIRC, under the most recent set up the mission AA's and center directors actually report to the (head?) AA from a supervisory perspective. That indeed makes the AA very powerful, independent of whether or not he or she is also acting administrator. But again this is all up the administrator.   

There is nothing to say that the next administrator couldn't completely abolish the position or change his/her responsibilities on a whim. For example there is also an Associate Administrator for legislative affairs, who is typically a (non senate confirmed) appointee. A new administrator could decide that the AA for leg affairs is to be the primary "political officer," freeing the administrator and deputy up to focus more on program and technical management.

The argument that an administrator doesn't need certain skills because the associate administrator may or may not have those skills is based on the supposition that the administrator would keep the associate administrator position the same as it is today. Which is totally up to the administrator, as are the duties of all of the other associate administrators. The administrator, once confirmed, has pretty broad authority to define the management structure of the agency and the responsibilities of all subordinates, with a few exceptions like the inspector general, chief financial officer, and chief information officers that are granted responsibilities by other laws.   

 

Offline Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11053
  • Liked: 2505
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #722 on: 01/02/2018 05:27 PM »
This is getting confusing.
 

Yeah, you kinda get the impression that people here don't understand how NASA actually runs...

Offline AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5184
  • Liked: 3105
  • Likes Given: 4425
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #723 on: 01/04/2018 10:32 PM »
This is getting confusing.
 

Yeah, you kinda get the impression that people here don't understand how NASA actually runs...

Is that good or bad?
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline Johnnyhinbos

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1033
  • Boston, MA
  • Liked: 1029
  • Likes Given: 162
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #724 on: 01/04/2018 11:29 PM »
This is getting confusing.
 

Yeah, you kinda get the impression that people here don't understand how NASA actually runs...
Well, to be honest if you look at NASA as a black box, and measure performance by comparing the inputs and the outputs, then the way NASA runs... not well.
John Hanzl. Author, action / adventure www.johnhanzl.com

Offline clongton

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10323
  • Connecticut
    • Direct Launcher
  • Liked: 2147
  • Likes Given: 682
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #725 on: 01/05/2018 01:28 PM »
Yeah, you kinda get the impression that people here don't understand how NASA actually runs...

Instead of just telling people they're wrong, even when statements are documented, why don't you enlighten us?
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5184
  • Liked: 3105
  • Likes Given: 4425
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #726 on: 01/05/2018 01:29 PM »
This is getting confusing.
 

Yeah, you kinda get the impression that people here don't understand how NASA actually runs...
Well, to be honest if you look at NASA as a black box, and measure performance by comparing the inputs and the outputs, then the way NASA runs... not well.
Sad.

If you think it would be enlightening, please feel free to describe in detail* how a major effort managed by NASA is organized and run. 
Try SLS/Orion/GSE, for example... we'd learn a lot I'm sure.

Blackstar... feel free to join the pedagogy.

(What he said...^)


* Be sure to include the flow of dollars and the FTEs involved in each tier of the structure -- following the money is a great way to see how an organization 'runs'
« Last Edit: 01/05/2018 01:36 PM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline incoming

  • Member
  • Posts: 83
  • washington, DC
  • Liked: 55
  • Likes Given: 32
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #727 on: 01/05/2018 02:09 PM »
This is getting confusing.
 

Yeah, you kinda get the impression that people here don't understand how NASA actually runs...
Well, to be honest if you look at NASA as a black box, and measure performance by comparing the inputs and the outputs, then the way NASA runs... not well.
Sad.

Please enlighten us - by which performance measurements you would assess NASA as being managed so poorly?  Certainly there is room for improvement as there are with any large organization, and there are inefficiencies that are intrinsic in any public agency of a democratic government.

If you want to talk inputs and outputs, just look at the last year.  If the "inputs" are dollars and the "outputs" are accomplishments, look across all of NASA's mission directorates - Science, HEO, aero, etc...  I think any honest evaluation would show NASA accomplished farm more in the last year than all of the rest of the space agencies of the world combined. And that's a fair comparison because NASA's budget is similar to the combined budgets of the rest of the world's space agencies. And I think you'd find this would be true for pretty much any year since the late 60's.

This is a thread about who should be the next NASA administrator, something the mods seem to keep having to remind everyone. A conversation about who would be the best pick to run the agency is probably served by some discussion (and hopefully increased understanding) of how the agency runs, how it is structured, what is and is not working, and what an administrator can and can't do to improve things. But baseless and unsubstantiated "NASA bashing" does nothing to move the conversation forward. 





« Last Edit: 01/05/2018 02:11 PM by incoming »

Offline eric z

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 254
  • Liked: 124
  • Likes Given: 341
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #728 on: 01/05/2018 02:28 PM »
 Incoming, you took the words right out of my cold-addled mind, which is addled to begin with!
BTW, I spent a great hour looking through the Vostok/Voskhod section on L2 yesterday-just wonderful! I've been on L2 for years and am still finding awesome stuff. Sometimes in these endless policy debates a nice trip down history-lane can be very refreshing. ;D

Offline Lar

  • Fan boy at large
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9070
  • Saw Gemini live on TV
  • A large LEGO storage facility ... in Michigan
  • Liked: 5758
  • Likes Given: 3843
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #729 on: 01/05/2018 04:56 PM »
Yeah, you kinda get the impression that people here don't understand how NASA actually runs...

Instead of just telling people they're wrong, even when statements are documented, why don't you enlighten us?

Such enlightenment certainly would be helpful and on topic... Even some clues where to start reading might be helpful, because just wading through all relevant acts might not work that well...
"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

Offline incoming

  • Member
  • Posts: 83
  • washington, DC
  • Liked: 55
  • Likes Given: 32
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #730 on: 01/05/2018 05:31 PM »
Yeah, you kinda get the impression that people here don't understand how NASA actually runs...

Instead of just telling people they're wrong, even when statements are documented, why don't you enlighten us?

Such enlightenment certainly would be helpful and on topic... Even some clues where to start reading might be helpful, because just wading through all relevant acts might not work that well...

NODIS (https://nodis3.gsfc.nasa.gov/main_lib.cfm) is always a good resource for understanding NASA's processes.  The NASA governance and strategic management handbook (NPD1000.0B) summarizes the agencies top level management approaches, including high level descriptions of the roles of top agency officials.   7120 and 7123 are the foundational elements of how the agency manages programs and projects.  The 8000 series gets into details of things like risk management, human rating requirements, etc. Of course there's always the differences between how things are supposed to work and how they actually work but the documented process is always a good starting point if you want to know how something works, in addition to the legislative direction (I linked to in an early post) and executive policy documents (National Space Policy, National Space Transportation Policy, OMB circulars, etc). 

It's important to look at all of these different levels of policy documentation to understand how the agency works, what is within it's control, and what is not. For example, anything in NASA policy documentation can be changed by NASA.  However much of that policy flows down from legislation or from executive branch policy, so if a NASA policy is being driven by a higher level policy, one has to go to the "authority" for that policy to get the change.

I'm not suggesting anyone could or should read every NPR/NPD and relevant executive policy document and statute, but if there's a specific topic you are interested in more than likely it's in there somewhere. And if you poke around for an hour or two you'll get enough of a lay of the land to figure out where you might look for something in the future.

In the instance of roles/responsibilities of the administrator vs the associate administrators, center directors, etc., I'll save you some trouble.  Besides the exceptions I alluded to earlier you will only find them defined in NASA policy documentation (start with 1000.0B). That means it can be changed at the Administrator's discretion.

Of course, if you are looking for the leaflet summary "how NASA works," you aren't going to find anything particularly meaningful or helpful because it's far too complex to distill into a few paragraphs.   

Offline clongton

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10323
  • Connecticut
    • Direct Launcher
  • Liked: 2147
  • Likes Given: 682
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #731 on: 01/05/2018 06:57 PM »
NODIS (https://nodis3.gsfc.nasa.gov/main_lib.cfm) is always a good resource for understanding NASA's processes.   <snip>

Thank you.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline incoming

  • Member
  • Posts: 83
  • washington, DC
  • Liked: 55
  • Likes Given: 32
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #732 on: 01/05/2018 10:09 PM »
It is interesting (to me) that NODIS does not cover one of the main outputs of NASA. 

The black box generates a few outputs that are not commonly perceived.  This is the large quantity of scientific articles into the public domain.  Makes me wonder how much/how little journal articles were published during Apollo. 

Perhaps there will be a time when products and services come out of the box. 

So to stay on topic, I think most administrators were from that culture. Certainly Dava... 

 It will be interesting to see what a politician does to the importance of technical writing.

No, that's a different site. For that information start here:

https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp

I think you will find nasa's scholarly and technical publication output fairly robust.

Offline JBF

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1312
  • Liked: 355
  • Likes Given: 546
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #733 on: 01/06/2018 11:09 PM »
This is getting confusing.
 

Yeah, you kinda get the impression that people here don't understand how NASA actually runs...
Well, to be honest if you look at NASA as a black box, and measure performance by comparing the inputs and the outputs, then the way NASA runs... not well.

Depends on how you prioritize the outputs.  NASA's aeronautics side does a lot of useful work.
"In principle, rocket engines are simple, but thatís the last place rocket engines are ever simple." Jeff Bezos

Offline yg1968

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9209
  • Liked: 1191
  • Likes Given: 785
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #734 on: 01/07/2018 02:38 PM »
Op-ed on Why Bill Nelson should support Jim Bridenstine for NASA administrator by Mark Whittington:
http://spacenews.com/op-ed-why-bill-nelson-should-support-jim-bridenstine-for-nasa-administrator/

Offline clongton

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10323
  • Connecticut
    • Direct Launcher
  • Liked: 2147
  • Likes Given: 682
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #735 on: 01/07/2018 04:23 PM »
Op-ed on Why Bill Nelson should support Jim Bridenstine for NASA administrator by Mark Whittington:
http://spacenews.com/op-ed-why-bill-nelson-should-support-jim-bridenstine-for-nasa-administrator/

This smacks of pure party-power-politics. It sucks.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4825
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 3470
  • Likes Given: 1125
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #736 on: 01/08/2018 09:45 PM »
Quote
The White House has formally resubmitted the nominations of Jim Bridenstine to be NASA Administrator and Barry Myers to be NOAA Administrator, as expected along with lots of other people):
https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/nominations-sent-senate-today-2/

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/950497220255723522

Offline AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5184
  • Liked: 3105
  • Likes Given: 4425
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #737 on: 01/08/2018 11:08 PM »
Op-ed on Why Bill Nelson should support Jim Bridenstine for NASA administrator by Mark Whittington:
http://spacenews.com/op-ed-why-bill-nelson-should-support-jim-bridenstine-for-nasa-administrator/

This smacks of pure party-power-politics. It sucks.

Especially because Nelson is objecting to politicizing NASA... by politicizing NASA.
Orwellian as is most of DC these days.  Dysfunctional is simply inadequate... sociopathic politics or something.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline Lar

  • Fan boy at large
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9070
  • Saw Gemini live on TV
  • A large LEGO storage facility ... in Michigan
  • Liked: 5758
  • Likes Given: 3843
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #738 on: 01/08/2018 11:14 PM »
general comments on how messed up US politics are probably off-topic. Regardless of how true.
"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

Offline Proponent

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5178
  • Liked: 798
  • Likes Given: 553
Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #739 on: 01/11/2018 06:16 PM »
By the way, per Space News, Brindenstine's nomination has been re-submitted to the Senate.

Tags: