Author Topic: Bolden to meet Obama on Wednesday  (Read 76192 times)

Offline Lee Jay

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Re: Bolden to meet Obama on Wednesday
« Reply #20 on: 12/16/2009 04:37 PM »
Presidents reportedly vary widely on the level of detail they want to understand and be involved in.  Clinton was widely known to be excruciatingly detail oriented on issues that mattered to him, and also known for that being a lot of issues.  Bush2, the exact opposite - broad generalizations only.  Obama seems to be more of the detail-oriented type, just not as much as Clinton.

Offline dad2059

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Re: Bolden to meet Obama on Wednesday
« Reply #21 on: 12/16/2009 04:46 PM »
It's been certainly hard to tell what direction Obama will give NASA, they've kept the lid on pretty tight about it.

Other than vague, cryptic statements from Bolden, nothing much has changed in the past 6 months.

Maybe something will leak out after this meeting, but I'm not so optimistic as to think something will.
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Offline sdsds

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Re: Bolden to meet Obama on Wednesday
« Reply #22 on: 12/16/2009 04:55 PM »
However, right now, all I want to hear from you is your recommendation as to the way forward.  As Chief Administrator, where is NASA going?"

No offense, but that's just not how things work in reality. It's not like the WH staff have no idea of what the options are or that Bolden himself can make a recommendation and his word will be taken for granted. There are processes that need to be adhered to. The discussion between Obama, Bolden and Holdren (yes, Holdren will be present) is not going to be a discussion of technical options or visions, but a discussion about processes going forward. Obama will brief Bolden about where NASA's budget will likely be and Holdren and Bolden will brief Obama about where the technical assessment is right now and where they are in finalizing the restructuring of the HSF part of NASA. They will then agree on a final time schedule for the announcement of the way forward, with the details being continuously fledged out between the WH staff, key Congress members and NASA - as it always is.

We can be sure it's a face-to-face meeting for some good reason.  These two (or three) people need to understand the subtler nuances of what has been worked out, so they can be reading "from the same page" as they unveil what they have planned.

The timeline for that unveiling is still not totally clear, though.  Can you provide any insight into that ares-mojo?
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Offline robertross

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Re: Bolden to meet Obama on Wednesday
« Reply #23 on: 12/16/2009 04:56 PM »

We can be sure it's a face-to-face meeting for some good reason. 

Not to sound harsh, but what part of Oval Office wasn't understood?

It is DEFINITELY with the President.
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Offline Namechange User

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Re: Bolden to meet Obama on Wednesday
« Reply #24 on: 12/16/2009 04:58 PM »
It's been certainly hard to tell what direction Obama will give NASA, they've kept the lid on pretty tight about it.

Other than vague, cryptic statements from Bolden, nothing much has changed in the past 6 months.

Maybe something will leak out after this meeting, but I'm not so optimistic as to think something will.

Something will come out I'm sure one way or the other.  However, everyone needs to keep in mind it will still be subject to the scrutiny of Congress.  Whatever path is taken, once the plan is agreed upon, the president and congress need to take ownership of it and not let OMB do with the budgets as they have done in the past. 
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Offline yg1968

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Re: Bolden to meet Obama on Wednesday
« Reply #25 on: 12/16/2009 05:13 PM »
Obama is going to look Bolden in the eye and say: "I've read the studies and had my technical advisers look through all the data.  I know the options and the recommendations from dozens of experts, both NASA and independent.  I'm pretty clear on the benefits, drawbacks and risks.  However, right now, all I want to hear from you is your recommendation as to the way forward.  As Chief Administrator, where is NASA going?"
Probably more like this: Obama, if he actually goes to the meeting room at all, will say,

"Mr. .... [looks down at notecard] ... Bolden, is it? Yes, I think we need to be bold ... [looks at Science Advisor, who shakes his head] ... uh, fiscally responsible [smiles] ... in our space program. Work it out with my staff. See ya".


People underestimate the importance of NASA. NASA's budget is only a little less than e.g. the whole budget of the Department of Energy or the whole budget of the Department of Agriculture.

Do you think Obama will have his staff work out details of agriculture subsidies and regulations affecting 300 million Americans and hundreds of millions of other people outside of Americans without him being involved? Do you think the question of building new nuclear power plants and/or clean coal power plants and starting to implement a smart energy grid is just left to staffers without Obama being briefed on these subjects?

People need to think about NASA not in terms of overall budget in relation to the total federal spending, they need to think about it in terms of how the R&D spending line item is treated within a technology company. In many industries R&D is extremely important, but still it only accounts for a small fraction of overall costs. Pfizer will expense much more on lobbying, marketing, managing, distribution, etc. than on R&D. But without R&D their company would just break down. That being said 1% or even 0.5% of a budget of an organization can be decisive for its future.

To sum up, WH staffers and NASA have worked the issue for months now. Obama has been briefed on progress, options and plans on a continuous basis. High level discussions like these aren't singular events without context, they are there to focus the process and get things moving further.

Interesting insight.

The other version was funnier but I am sure Ares-mojo's version is more realistic. Presidents are often workaholics, they usually get involved in these decisions. They are briefed by their staff but they also spend hours reading briefing memos, newspapers, etc. 
« Last Edit: 12/16/2009 07:11 PM by yg1968 »

Offline Pheogh

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Re: Bolden to meet Obama on Wednesday
« Reply #26 on: 12/16/2009 05:36 PM »
Not to mention it just has to be more fun to read about rockets then healthcare, plus what a nice break it would be.

Offline sdsds

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Re: Bolden to meet Obama on Wednesday
« Reply #27 on: 12/16/2009 05:47 PM »

We can be sure it's a face-to-face meeting for some good reason. 

Not to sound harsh, but what part of Oval Office wasn't understood?

It is DEFINITELY with the President.

Yes, that assessment is undoubtedly correct.

My personal guess at the content of the exchange:

OBAMA:  Hi Charlie, it's good to see you again.
BOLDEN:  Hello Mr. President.  Thank-you.
OBAMA:  John and I have reached a decision on how to move forward with our national space policy, and the role we want NASA to play in that.  You've already heard about that decision.  I know implementing it will be difficult for you at times, but can I count on your continued efforts?
BOLDEN:  Yes sir.
OBAMA:  Thank-you Charlie.  I'm glad to hear that. 
<pause> 
OBAMA:  How's Jackie?  How are the kids?
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Offline Namechange User

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Re: Bolden to meet Obama on Wednesday
« Reply #28 on: 12/16/2009 05:51 PM »
What is the point of making this silly dialouge again and again? 
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Offline sdsds

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Re: Bolden to meet Obama on Wednesday
« Reply #29 on: 12/16/2009 05:56 PM »
What is the point of making this silly dialouge again and again? 

Sorry, I should have been more explicit and concrete!  The point of this dialogue was to explore -- and hopefully reach consensus on -- the expected level of detail of the conversation.  For example, I do not expect the terms "Constellation" or "DIRECT" or "shuttle-derived" will be used.

Do you?
« Last Edit: 12/16/2009 05:58 PM by sdsds »
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Offline ares-mojo

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Re: Bolden to meet Obama on Wednesday
« Reply #30 on: 12/16/2009 06:06 PM »
For example, I do not expect the terms "Constellation" or "DIRECT" or "shuttle-derived" will be used.

You are mistaken. Even high-level meetings in the Oval Office talk about details, and do not just exchange friendly greetings. The president e.g. knows details about the report of the Augustine Committee, about NASA's HLV assessment, about alternatives and about time schedules - from briefings, memos and regular discussions with his science advisor and staff.

Why do people somehow feel that once you get up the chain in an organization, the top doesn't know anything about smaller parts of said organization? The President has knowledge of every part of federal spending programs down to a detail most people in the public do not have. Think about it that way, if your job was to get briefed and read about every single federal organization and spending program from health care to war efforts to agriculture to science to education to space flight, how much would you know about these different programs?
« Last Edit: 12/16/2009 06:08 PM by ares-mojo »

Offline robertross

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Re: Bolden to meet Obama on Wednesday
« Reply #31 on: 12/16/2009 06:09 PM »
Obama will be looking for:

costs for each choice
timetable
jobs

We can only hope things like ISS utilization & shuttle extension enter into the discussion, but that may be a long shot.
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Offline sdsds

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Re: Bolden to meet Obama on Wednesday
« Reply #32 on: 12/16/2009 06:22 PM »
For example, I do not expect the terms "Constellation" or "DIRECT" or "shuttle-derived" will be used.

You are mistaken. Even high-level meetings in the Oval Office talk about details, and do not just exchange friendly greetings.

I am happy to be corrected in this regard!

Quote
The president e.g. knows details about the report of the Augustine Committee, about NASA's HLV assessment, about alternatives and about time schedules - from briefings, memos and regular discussions with his science advisor and staff.

Why do people somehow feel that once you get up the chain in an organization, the top doesn't know anything about smaller parts of said organization?

No doubt about it:  this President is aware of, fully briefed on, and totally conversant with all the details.  But why do you think these people will cover again in person ground they have already traversed multiple times?

I hope the conversation won't be, "Tell me again what you prefer."  I hope it is at most, "Do you have everything you need from us to move forward?"

(Edit to add disclaimer:  I have no inside knowledge about Oval Office meetings.  These assertions are based on a view of how effective leaders operate, and the belief that President Obama is an effective leader.)
« Last Edit: 12/16/2009 06:26 PM by sdsds »
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Offline Targeteer

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Re: Bolden to meet Obama on Wednesday
« Reply #33 on: 12/16/2009 06:38 PM »
Obama will be looking for:

costs for each choice
timetable
jobs



We can only hope things like ISS utilization & shuttle extension enter into the discussion, but that may be a long shot.

Considering the current the environment, President Obama would more likely be looking for

Jobs
Cost for each choice
Jobs
Timetable
Jobs
« Last Edit: 12/16/2009 06:39 PM by Targeteer »
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline ares-mojo

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Re: Bolden to meet Obama on Wednesday
« Reply #34 on: 12/16/2009 06:53 PM »
But why do you think these people will cover again in person ground they have already traversed multiple times?

I do not think this is going to happen. Have you ever had project management meetings on a larger project? Well, there are the regular meetings on an operations basis, you have them maybe once or twice a week (of course depending on the project) when you go through your agenda of that week and the following weeks and what's on schedule and what really isn't. Top management is not going to attend these meetings.

At some point in your project life you however got meetings that involve people higher up in the food chain and while they are a lot less frequent, it is surprising that they actually work out a lot like your  regular weekly meetings/conference calls. You go through your agenda, discuss time schedules, the process forward, answer questions and tell about obstacles and ask questions yourself etc. Those meetings also differ from mere briefings and memos, where details are laid out for the top level management in that you expect the top manager to know at least the general outline of where your project is heading and where it is right now. The agenda is more or less a "are we on the same page, where is the process going, what are the next milestones, do we have any serious problems or show stoppers in the future" kind of thing.

Obama's meeting is probably such a "high up in the food chain" meeting. Obama is expected to know what's going on, at least on a basic level, know the time schedule (new vision speech required until some time in mid-January due to annual budgetary process starting then), know where the problems are with Constellation and what the findings were of the Augustine Committee, know what key Congress members interests are and what alternatives there are. In the meeting itself there is a short agenda of items that get discussed, but those items are discussed in a level of detail suitable for such a meeting which would include various HLV options, their impact on workforce, budget and NASA centers as well as other options but of course no "this HLV has a 120mt payload capacity to a 130nm x130nm standard orbit" details.

Anyway, last I heard the overall decision already has been made with it being a "conservative" decision... well, at least that's what I "heard", not sure how reliable this information really is.
« Last Edit: 12/16/2009 06:56 PM by ares-mojo »

Offline Alpha Control

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Re: Bolden to meet Obama on Wednesday
« Reply #35 on: 12/16/2009 07:02 PM »
Oh, to be a fly on the Oval Office wall right now...
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Online bad_astra

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Re: Bolden to meet Obama on Wednesday
« Reply #36 on: 12/16/2009 07:37 PM »
What is the point of conjecturing a conversation? This isn't Bolden: The Role Playing Game.
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Offline robertross

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Re: Bolden to meet Obama on Wednesday
« Reply #37 on: 12/16/2009 07:47 PM »
Oh, to be a fly on the Oval Office wall right now...

I'd rather be a person in the room than a fly...LOL

Yes, it would be something to hear, I'm sure.
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Offline sdsds

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Re: Bolden to meet Obama on Wednesday
« Reply #38 on: 12/16/2009 07:49 PM »
What is the point of conjecturing a conversation?
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Offline Alpha Control

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Re: Bolden to meet Obama on Wednesday
« Reply #39 on: 12/16/2009 08:18 PM »
Oh, to be a fly on the Oval Office wall right now...

I'd rather be a person in the room than a fly...LOL

Yes, it would be something to hear, I'm sure.

You're right, Robert. :) Obama is pretty good at swatting them!
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