Author Topic: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?  (Read 190821 times)

Offline Proponent

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #500 on: 11/01/2017 02:36 PM »
Which senator is up now?  I didn't catch the name.

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #501 on: 11/01/2017 02:38 PM »
Which senator is up now?  I didn't catch the name.

Senator Hassan

Offline Proponent

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #502 on: 11/01/2017 02:40 PM »
Sen. Imhofe (R-OK) bashing global warming in general, citing a particular MIT scientist's speculation on the political motivations behind climate policy -- and a Gallup poll.  Poses such a softball question for B -- is it important for NASA to work with Congress -- that, effectively, he fails to ask any questions at all.

Offline Proponent

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #503 on: 11/01/2017 02:44 PM »
Sen. Hassan (D-NH) bashes for B for previously reported scrubbing of his Twitter account (my view: this is a bit dodgy, but hardly unusual or unexpected for a nominee; basically a senator looking for points to score rather than raising substantive issues).

More seriously bashes Brindenstine for not having bashed Trump on sexual assault of women during 2016 campaign.

Offline eric z

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #504 on: 11/01/2017 03:00 PM »
 Not hearing much about Space! Feel sorry for the other nominees, they are not getting much attention.

Offline Proponent

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #505 on: 11/01/2017 03:01 PM »
Sen. Cortez Masto (R-Nevada) interested in drones (and other stuff -- missed it, as I'm actually meant to be getting work done now....).  Didn't make B squirm; maybe she's a Democratic yes vote?

P.S.  Most questions are for B rather than for the three other nominees.  I can't help but wonder if Brindenstine isn't being used as a distraction from the other nominees, because there seems to be a move afoot to eliminate the government's ability to order product recalls, which would be a really big deal.

Back to B -- Sen. Markey (D-Massachusetts) asking B about his support for LGBT rights, despite past political positions, receiving the blandly reassuring response you'd expect.  Now going after B for flip-flopping on climate change.  Asks and receives assurances not to politicize NASA climate-science research.

Offline Proponent

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #506 on: 11/01/2017 03:17 PM »
Sen. Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) make B squirm again about  a situation in which he failed to criticize a call for Pres. Obama to be executed as a traitor.

Sen. Gardner (R-Colorado) criticizes criticism of B for partisanship, gets B to say out loud he supports Orion (Pork, pork, I want my pork!).

Sen. Booker (D-NJ) implicitly questions B's ability to administer NASA, his previous executive experience apparently having been limited to the aforementioned Tulsa Air & Space Museum.  Goes after B for past anti-gay statements.  B, squirming, doesn't recall and offers generalities.

Offline Proponent

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #507 on: 11/01/2017 03:29 PM »
Sen. Duckworth (D-IL) goes after B's on association with anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant parties; B says he didn't know, not looking very credible.  Something about a report (CAIB? -- damn this work thing, that keeps distracting me!).

Sen. Cruz bashing Democrats for bashing B, defends B on grounds of being a war hero and ace pilot.  Softball question:  What's the difference between being a representative and being NASA administrator?

Offline Proponent

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #508 on: 11/01/2017 03:41 PM »
Follow-up questions now.  Nelson blaming loss of Challenger on fact that NASA had a non-technical administrator at the time*.  B says decisions will be made by committee including plenty of technical expertise.

Nelson coming back with hard data on finances of Tulsa museum.  B refutes pretty effectively, in my view, though, again, I don't know the facts.  Nelson says he'll submit more info for the record.

* Is this true?  I thought the acting admin at the time was William Graham, who had a degree from Cal Tech and had worked at an Air Force weapons lab.  I suspect Nelson is conflating Challenger with Columbia, which occurred when accountant O'Keefe.

Sen. Thune wraps up hearing.

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #509 on: 11/01/2017 03:43 PM »
Camera zoomed out but it looked to me that as soon as the hearing was adjourned Bridenstine went over and shook hands with Senator Nelson.

They are both seasoned enough to understand the process they are going through and still work effectively together if the confirmation is successful.

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #510 on: 11/01/2017 03:50 PM »
Quote
Chairman Thune told reporters after the hearing he expected the committee to take up Bridenstine’s nomination at a hearing next Wed.

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/925766608483647489

Quote
Thune said it wasn’t clear how long it would take for the full Senate to vote to confirm Bridenstine, but expected he would be confirmed.

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/925766754332233729
« Last Edit: 11/01/2017 03:51 PM by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline Proponent

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #511 on: 11/01/2017 04:10 PM »
Re Nelson's argument about a technically-trained administrator being essential for crew safety, one could point out that two of the three incidents of losses of crew (Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia) occurred under non-technical administrators, namely Webb and O'Keefe.  But how many people want to criticize Webb?

Offline eric z

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #512 on: 11/01/2017 04:27 PM »
 I would personally not consider Mr. Bridenstine to be "Non-technical". As a jet-fighter pilot he has honed numerous skill-sets and technical qualifications to have that gig in the first-place! He places his life on the line knowing great people have made "technical" judgements every time he takes-off... At least in that department I have no worries. Dr. Griffin has been ostracized over the Stick, among other things; but I never heard someone criticize his ability to hone in on the safety of any particular launch. Times change. Webb didn't overrule a lot of things in the early days that now would be unheard of. I think Astronaut/Senator Nelson is just saying "I got my eye on you!", IMHO!
 I would like to add, though, that we have just seen another example as to how these days many
 good men and women have to pander, and sometimes perhaps say things they know are silly to survive in today's cutthroat political environment. I was cautiously encouraged by his responses, but wish the time had been spent more on actual space policy questions and what he will contribute to a unified, nuts and bolts plan that can finally swing towards actual achievements, rather than CG/Power-points and a lot of "Hot Gas"!

« Last Edit: 11/01/2017 04:50 PM by eric z »

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #513 on: 11/01/2017 05:30 PM »
If Rep. Bridenstine has a certain set of belief structures he should stand firm for them without being evasive when it is on the record. I don't have to agree with them but it is a test of character and courage when you refuse to stand by you actions or words. If he is confirmed he will be in charge of a workforce of 18,000 plus contractors and their confidence in him is imperative in order to be effective... He could use a lesson from Sir Thomas More: "But what matters to me is not whether it's true or not, but that I believe it to be true, or rather not that I /believe/ it, but that "I" believe it"...
« Last Edit: 11/01/2017 05:32 PM by Rocket Science »
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Offline eric z

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #514 on: 11/01/2017 06:06 PM »
 Blackstar, I think you are making a great point, though. Does he have the management chops that the job also
needs? This hearing shed no light on that aspect of the job whatsoever.
 Somebody should have asked if he reads "Nasaspaceflight.com" to stay up on the issues. ;)
« Last Edit: 11/01/2017 06:18 PM by eric z »

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #515 on: 11/01/2017 06:14 PM »
Blackstar, I think you are making a great point, though. Does he have the management chops that the job also
needs? This hearing shed no light on that aspect of the job whatsoever.
In a shocking development, a congressional hearing was a vehicle for scoring points rather than a august investigative panel focused primarily in developing information and increasing understanding and reaching consensus on the action path forward.
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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #516 on: 11/01/2017 06:18 PM »
Jeff Foust’s write-up:

Quote
Bridenstine faces partisan criticism at NASA administrator nomination hearing
by Jeff Foust — November 1, 2017

WASHINGTON — Democrats on the Senate Commerce Committee sharply criticized the nomination of Jim Bridenstine as NASA administrator in a confirmation hearing Nov. 1, arguing he was not qualified for the job.

http://spacenews.com/bridenstine-faces-partisan-criticism-at-nasa-administrator-nomination-hearing/

Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #517 on: 11/01/2017 06:51 PM »
If Rep. Bridenstine has a certain set of belief structures he should stand firm for them without being evasive when it is on the record. I don't have to agree with them but it is a test of character and courage when you refuse to stand by you actions or words.
<snip>
He could use a lesson from Sir Thomas More: "But what matters to me is not whether it's true or not, but that I believe it to be true, or rather not that I /believe/ it, but that "I" believe it"...

Maybe Mr. Bridenstine IS taking a lesson from the life of St. Thomas More:

He stood by his Catholic beliefs, as Lord Chancellor of England, and refused to take the Oath of Supremacy acknowledging his lord, King Henry VIII, as Head of the Church of England.

For this, he was convicted of treason and beheaded.
« Last Edit: 11/01/2017 06:52 PM by zubenelgenubi »
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Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #518 on: 11/01/2017 06:58 PM »
If Rep. Bridenstine has a certain set of belief structures he should stand firm for them without being evasive when it is on the record. I don't have to agree with them but it is a test of character and courage when you refuse to stand by you actions or words.
<snip>
He could use a lesson from Sir Thomas More: "But what matters to me is not whether it's true or not, but that I believe it to be true, or rather not that I /believe/ it, but that "I" believe it"...

Maybe Mr. Bridenstine IS taking a lesson from the life of St. Thomas More:

He stood by his Catholic beliefs, as Lord Chancellor of England, and refused to take the Oath of Supremacy acknowledging his lord, King Henry VIII, as Head of the Church of England.

For this, he was convicted of treason and beheaded.
Let's hope it dosen't come to that... That's why we supposedly separated church and state on this side of the pond... ;)
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Online Blackstar

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #519 on: 11/01/2017 07:37 PM »
Does he have the management chops that the job also needs? This hearing shed no light on that aspect of the job whatsoever.

You know what? I don't think that members of Congress ask these kinds of questions. And they might not even be aware of them. For example, Bolden was a Marine Corps general. But what exactly did that mean? How many people did he command? Did he have budget and management responsibilities while serving as a general? I suspect he was not asked those questions, but at least some people assumed that because he was an astronaut, he "knew NASA."*

I've dealt with a number of general officers over the years. Some of them have had command positions where they oversaw scientific research and technical development organizations, like the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Those are the leadership positions that are most analogous to running NASA. I think that a legitimate set of questions are along the lines of "How many people did you oversee on your staff? How big was the budget? Were you involved in budget formulation?" and so on.

But, I'd also add here that you need to keep in mind what public hearings are. A significant aspect is theater. There is often an information-gathering aspect to hearings, but it is usually not the primary reason. Bridenstine would have met with all the members of the committee before the hearing, and answered questions that they had then. I know of one prior administrator who met with a member of Congress and told him, point blank, I know you have to ask me tough questions in the hearing that are for your constituents. Go ahead. I know how the game is played.



*If you look up Bolden's military service on his Wikipedia page, you see that he had some command positions. I don't know the specifics, but I assume that at least some of those posts involved overseeing budgets for those commands. So he probably had some relevant experience in the Marines.
« Last Edit: 11/01/2017 07:39 PM by Blackstar »

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