Author Topic: James Morhard Nominated as NASA Deputy Administrator  (Read 5498 times)

Online yg1968

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Re: WaPo: Trump-Bridenstine Disagree re. Deputy Director
« Reply #20 on: 07/17/2018 12:59 AM »
There is no appetite for a new Augustine committee at this point in time. You mentioned the achievements of the Obama Administration but it is not clear to me that Obama had much involvement in those. Incidentally, commercial crew (as a separate program from COTS) appeared in the 2008 NASA Authorization bill which was signed by President Bush. Although I agree that the Obama Administration did a good job for commercial crew and for NASA in general, I am not sure that it is because of President Obama himself. My understanding is that OMB deserves a lot of the credit for the FY11 NASA budget (which among other things cancelled Ares I and replaced it with commercial crew).

In terms of the involvement of VPs, I think that it is more related to the interest of the VP himself. I remember that VP Dan Quayle was also very involved in space.
« Last Edit: 07/17/2018 01:05 AM by yg1968 »

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Re: WaPo: Trump-Bridenstine Disagree re. Deputy Director
« Reply #21 on: 07/17/2018 10:49 AM »
Incidentally, both Bridenstine and Morhard have space policy experience.

What is Morhard's experience?  According to Marcia Smith, he "has no known experience in aerospace."

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Re: WaPo: Trump-Bridenstine Disagree re. Deputy Director
« Reply #22 on: 07/17/2018 11:02 AM »
There is no appetite for a new Augustine committee at this point in time. You mentioned the achievements of the Obama Administration but it is not clear to me that Obama had much involvement in those.... Although I agree that the Obama Administration did a good job for commercial crew and for NASA in general, I am not sure that it is because of President Obama himself. My understanding is that OMB deserves a lot of the credit for the FY11 NASA budget (which among other things cancelled Ares I and replaced it with commercial crew).

OMB is the president, in that it's part of the executive branch.  The director of OMB, currently Mike Mulvaney, is appointed by and reports directly to the president.

Obama (using the term to apply to his administration in general) at least tried to kill the Shuttle-derived boondoggle and put NASA in a position where a few years down the road it might have the technology to be able to afford to do something on a realistic budget instead of being stuck with outdated hardware developed at high cost that it can't afford to use productively.  Though he botched the attempt and would have faced long odds even with good execution, I am more favorably impressed by his attempt than I am by either his predecessor's creation of a budget-eating Shuttle-derived monster (Constellation) or his successor's doubling down on the Shuttle-derived boondoggle (despite claims of wanting to "drain the swamp").

I'd also point out that Obama visited KSC twice -- how many other presidential visits to NASA centers can you think of in the post-Apollo era?  He also took the political risk of visiting Falcon 9 on the pad before its first flight.  If that rocket had blown up -- as it very well might have -- his critics would have had a field day.
« Last Edit: 07/17/2018 02:26 PM by Proponent »

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Re: WaPo: Trump-Bridenstine Disagree re. Deputy Director
« Reply #23 on: 07/17/2018 02:56 PM »
Incidentally, both Bridenstine and Morhard have space policy experience.

What is Morhard's experience?  According to Marcia Smith, he "has no known experience in aerospace."

He worked on the Appropriations side. We will find out more during the hearing. I imagine that there will also be a questionnaire for him to fill as there was for Bridenstine.

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Re: WaPo: Trump-Bridenstine Disagree re. Deputy Director
« Reply #24 on: 07/17/2018 03:11 PM »
There is no appetite for a new Augustine committee at this point in time. You mentioned the achievements of the Obama Administration but it is not clear to me that Obama had much involvement in those.... Although I agree that the Obama Administration did a good job for commercial crew and for NASA in general, I am not sure that it is because of President Obama himself. My understanding is that OMB deserves a lot of the credit for the FY11 NASA budget (which among other things cancelled Ares I and replaced it with commercial crew).

OMB is the president, in that it's part of the executive branch.  The director of OMB, currently Mike Mulvaney, is appointed by and reports directly to the president.

Obama (using the term to apply to his administration in general) at least tried to kill the Shuttle-derived boondoggle and put NASA in a position where a few years down the road it might have the technology to be able to afford to do something on a realistic budget instead of being stuck with outdated hardware developed at high cost that it can't afford to use productively.  Though he botched the attempt and would have faced long odds even with good execution, I am more favorably impressed by his attempt than I am by either his predecessor's creation of a budget-eating Shuttle-derived monster (Constellation) or his successor's doubling down on the Shuttle-derived boondoggle (despite claims of wanting to "drain the swamp").

I'd also point out that Obama visited KSC twice -- how many other presidential visits to NASA centers can you think of in the post-Apollo era?  He also took the political risk of visiting Falcon 9 on the pad before its first flight.  If that rocket had blown up -- as it very well might have -- his critics would have had a field day.

I know that OMB is part of the executive. That is why I made the distinction between the Obama Administration and Obama himself. But most of OMB isn't appointed and their employees do not change a whole lot between each administration. I don't think that Obama cared a whole lot about NASA. His 2010 speech at KSC wasn't very good and he almost never mentioned NASA again in any other speech. But I agree that his administration as a whole did a good job for NASA.

But if you remember Griffin fought OMB whereas Bolden did not. Senator Nelson keeps portraying the OMB as an evil organization that has its own agenda.  I disagree with him, I think that OMB was a positive influence on NASA (especially on the FY11 NASA Budget) during the Obama presidency. I suspect that Bridenstine will also not fight OMB and that OMB will continue to be a positive influence on NASA.
« Last Edit: 07/17/2018 03:17 PM by yg1968 »

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Re: WaPo: Trump-Bridenstine Disagree re. Deputy Director
« Reply #25 on: 07/17/2018 03:20 PM »
Incidentally, both Bridenstine and Morhard have space policy experience.

What is Morhard's experience?  According to Marcia Smith, he "has no known experience in aerospace."

He worked on the Appropriations side. We will find out more during the hearing. I imagine that there will also be a questionnaire for him to fill as there was for Bridenstine.

Morhard did not have responsibility for NASA when he was on appropriations. See this correction from the quartz, who were among the first to break the story -

Quote
Correction: An earlier version of this article said Morhard worked on NASA’s budget while a staffer on the Commerce, Science and Justice Appropriations committee, but NASA was not included in its jurisdiction until after he left the senate.
https://qz.com/1327227/donald-trump-appoints-james-morhard-who-has-no-space-experience-to-be-nasas-second-in-command/

As to the earlier post that WaPo manufactured the "drama" between Bridenstine and the administration, that is just utter nonsense.  The fact that Morhard was nominated so quickly after Bridenstine announced his preferred choice shows that Morhard had already been chosen for the position before Bridenstine went public. These things take months to vet and roll out.  Clearly Bridenstine was very passionate about his views and chose to go against the administration's pick at a great risk to his own standing with the administration.  It is extraordinarily unusual for a political appointee at an agency to go against the administration on another political appointee like this.

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Re: WaPo: Trump-Bridenstine Disagree re. Deputy Director
« Reply #26 on: 07/17/2018 03:31 PM »
I do not trust the WaPo.  They have been caught in lies and exaggerations, especially concerning SpaceX.  WaPo is owned by Bezos.  They may want to stir the pot to get NASA more interested in what Blue Origin is doing, or eventually get government contracts.

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Re: WaPo: Trump-Bridenstine Disagree re. Deputy Director
« Reply #27 on: 07/17/2018 03:36 PM »
Incidentally, both Bridenstine and Morhard have space policy experience.

What is Morhard's experience?  According to Marcia Smith, he "has no known experience in aerospace."

He worked on the Appropriations side. We will find out more during the hearing. I imagine that there will also be a questionnaire for him to fill as there was for Bridenstine.

Morhard did not have responsibility for NASA when he was on appropriations. See this correction from the quartz, who were among the first to break the story -

Quote
Correction: An earlier version of this article said Morhard worked on NASA’s budget while a staffer on the Commerce, Science and Justice Appropriations committee, but NASA was not included in its jurisdiction until after he left the senate.
https://qz.com/1327227/donald-trump-appoints-james-morhard-who-has-no-space-experience-to-be-nasas-second-in-command/

As to the earlier post that WaPo manufactured the "drama" between Bridenstine and the administration, that is just utter nonsense.  The fact that Morhard was nominated so quickly after Bridenstine announced his preferred choice shows that Morhard had already been chosen for the position before Bridenstine went public. These things take months to vet and roll out.  Clearly Bridenstine was very passionate about his views and chose to go against the administration's pick at a great risk to his own standing with the administration.  It is extraordinarily unusual for a political appointee at an agency to go against the administration on another political appointee like this.

That is speculation on your part. You don't know what happened. There may have been more than one candidate being considered.

Some of the qualifications of Morhard are mentioned in the Washington Post article and I am sure that we will find out more about his qualifications when he gets a chance to make his case during the hearing:

Quote from: WPost
To reach those goals, the agency needs a leader like Morhard, said Bob Walker, a former Republican congressman who helped draft President Trump’s space policy goals.

“The administration has decided they want somebody who is clearly in tune with what the president wants to get done in the space program,” he said. Bridenstine “is going to have a great partner in implementing the very visionary space goals the president has set forward.”

Morhard’s experience in Washington, particularly on the Appropriations Committee, will be helpful, not a hindrance, he said, adding that Morhard “has bipartisan support on the Hill.”

Mark Albrecht, the executive secretary of the National Space Council under President George H.W. Bush, also said Morhard was a good pick: “He brings years of experience from the Senate Appropriations Committee reviewing programs, looking at budgets and making programs achieve their intended purposes.”
« Last Edit: 07/17/2018 03:46 PM by yg1968 »

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Re: WaPo: Trump-Bridenstine Disagree re. Deputy Director
« Reply #28 on: 07/17/2018 05:23 PM »
I know that OMB is part of the executive. That is why I made the distinction between the Obama Administration and Obama himself. But most of OMB isn't appointed and their employees do not change a whole lot between each administration.

One could say the same of the entire federal government, yet significant changes of policy do sometimes occur from one presidential administration to the next.  Changes at the top matter.

Quote
I don't think that Obama cared a whole lot about NASA.

Surely that's true of every president aside from the three who were in office when the Soviets decided to make space a major issue.  Obama attempted the largest change in NASA since the end of Apollo.  Trump, in contrast, has changed almost nothing.

Online yg1968

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Re: WaPo: Trump-Bridenstine Disagree re. Deputy Director
« Reply #29 on: 07/17/2018 06:28 PM »
My own view is that changes at the top does not make a huge difference. Stuff that makes the news changes somewhat but the rest of the stuff that doesn't make the news stays the same.

The Obama administration tried to undo what Griffin did and deserves praises for that. But less changes are needed now. But what is needed now is a realistic path forward that is affordable (especially for the Moon lander and the LOP-G). So someone such as Morhard that has experience in ensuring that programs follow their budget is encouraging. Bridenstine has only been Administrator for a few weeks. Give him more time.
« Last Edit: 07/17/2018 06:31 PM by yg1968 »

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Re: WaPo: Trump-Bridenstine Disagree re. Deputy Director
« Reply #30 on: 07/18/2018 02:51 AM »
There is no appetite for a new Augustine committee at this point in time.

Reread what I said. I said by this point in Obama's 1st term he had, beyond any doubt, had more significant accomplishments than what Trump has had. The closest Trump gets to Obama's Augustine Commission - which was a highly detailed review of our nation's efforts in space and what our options COULD be - is that his National Space Council has held some meetings and suggested some regulatory changes.

Not sure how anyone could imagine that Trump has done more than Obama at the same points in time.

Quote
You mentioned the achievements of the Obama Administration but it is not clear to me that Obama had much involvement in those.

Let's make sure we're using the same standards here by assuming that the President, whoever they may be, signs off on ALL significant actions in their administration. By that standard Obama clearly demonstrated more direct interest in NASA, and NASA's future, than Trump has at the same point in office.

Quote
Incidentally, commercial crew (as a separate program from COTS) appeared in the 2008 NASA Authorization bill which was signed by President Bush.

No, you are mistaken. Commercial Crew was COTS Capability level D, which was not funded by Bush.

Quote
Although I agree that the Obama Administration did a good job for commercial crew and for NASA in general, I am not sure that it is because of President Obama himself. My understanding is that OMB deserves a lot of the credit for the FY11 NASA budget (which among other things cancelled Ares I and replaced it with commercial crew).

I suggest that you get better educated about how the U.S. Government works. The Office of Management and Budget is not a separate agency or department, like NASA or the Department of Defense, the OMB is the largest office within the Executive Office of the President of the United States - they work directly FOR the President.

The OMB is responsible for assembling the budget, and even making adjustments, but the OMB Director does not make policy. They carry out the policy of the President.

Quote
In terms of the involvement of VPs, I think that it is more related to the interest of the VP himself. I remember that VP Dan Quayle was also very involved in space.

Pence is more interested in social issues then space, but if the National Space Council is going to be resurrected then it makes sense to put the Vice President in charge, especially since the biggest space issues the NSC is focused on are national defense related, not the peaceful type.

So someone such as Morhard that has experience in ensuring that programs follow their budget is encouraging.

That would be a stretch to say that James Morhard had that type of experience - he worked on committees and sub-committees as a staffer. In our form of government he would not have had an oversight role.

I suggest you compare the Wikipedia entries for Lori Garver and James Morhard to see who, when nominated, had the better ability to push space policy - and know about space policy.

To say that Trump is nominating a policy "lightweight" would be an understatement...  ;)
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Online yg1968

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Re: WaPo: Trump-Bridenstine Disagree re. Deputy Director
« Reply #31 on: 07/18/2018 04:01 AM »
I wasn't saying that the Trump Administration has done more. I was saying that less needs to be done today since there is no need for an overhaul of the human exploration program as was the case in 2010.

COTS D was a different program and it preceded the 2008 NASA Authorization Act. It was an option that was never picked up by NASA. The commercial crew program that appears in the 2008 NASA Authorization Act was the commercial crew program that we know. It was funded later on (in appropriation bills signed by Obama) but it was first authorized in the 2008 NASA Authorization Act (which was signed by President Bush in October 2008).

I know that OMB is part of the executive, you need to learn how to read my posts more carefully. I was making a distinction between the Obama Administration and Obama himself. See my comment above which already explains this:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=45996.msg1838541#msg1838541

I never said that Morhard had any oversight role. Those are your words, not mine. But my point was that his work on the appropriation side in the Senate will be useful at NASA. Setting up a budget in an appropriation bill entails some follow up on how a program is doing and what kind of budget it needs in the future.
« Last Edit: 07/18/2018 04:25 AM by yg1968 »

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Re: WaPo: Trump-Bridenstine Disagree re. Deputy Director
« Reply #32 on: 07/18/2018 11:45 AM »
I wasn't saying that the Trump Administration has done more. I was saying that less needs to be done today since there is no need for an overhaul of the human exploration program as was the case in 2010.

Really?  It looks to me like the program is on track to spend a heluva lot of money without even a realistic plan to accomplish anything significant.  The plan is to fund Orion and SLS, regardless of the fact that doing so will leave little money for actually doing anything useful with them.  Even Morhard/Bridenstine succeed in keeping that program funded and on cost, I don't see much being accomplished.

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Re: WaPo: Trump-Bridenstine Disagree re. Deputy Director
« Reply #33 on: 07/18/2018 01:53 PM »
I wasn't saying that the Trump Administration has done more. I was saying that less needs to be done today since there is no need for an overhaul of the human exploration program as was the case in 2010.

Really?  It looks to me like the program is on track to spend a heluva lot of money without even a realistic plan to accomplish anything significant.  The plan is to fund Orion and SLS, regardless of the fact that doing so will leave little money for actually doing anything useful with them.  Even Morhard/Bridenstine succeed in keeping that program funded and on cost, I don't see much being accomplished.

I suspect that the Administration agrees with you. But cancelling SLS and Orion would entail a fight with the Senate that the Administration cannot win (as Obama learned in 2010). My own view is that the Administration should focus on making sure that the lunar lander is commercial. I also hope that LOP-G will be mostly commercial.

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Re: WaPo: Trump-Bridenstine Disagree re. Deputy Director
« Reply #34 on: 07/18/2018 03:50 PM »
COTS D was a different program and it preceded the 2008 NASA Authorization Act. It was an option that was never picked up by NASA. The commercial crew program that appears in the 2008 NASA Authorization Act was the commercial crew program that we know. It was funded later on (in appropriation bills signed by Obama) but it was first authorized in the 2008 NASA Authorization Act (which was signed by President Bush in October 2008).

We're wondering off topic but the 2008 NASA bill authorized COTS D.  It was the 2010 bill that authorized what we now know as the Commercial Crew Program.  See section 902 of the 2008 bill: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-110publ422/html/PLAW-110publ422.htm

Quote
(4) <<NOTE: Notice. Deadline. Contracts.>> issue a notice of
        intent, not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of
        this Act, to enter into a funded, competitively awarded Space
        Act Agreement with 2 or more commercial entities for a Phase 1
        Commercial Orbital Transportation Services crewed vehicle
        demonstration program
.

bold emphasis mine

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Re: WaPo: Trump-Bridenstine Disagree re. Deputy Director
« Reply #35 on: 07/18/2018 04:30 PM »
Although the name is somewhat similar, that wasn't COTS-D. COTS-D was awarded in 2006 to SpaceX and Kistler as an option. But that option was never picked up by NASA. Orbital did not offer COTS-D as an option when it was awarded a COTS agreement in early 2008.

I have had this discussion with QuantumG and others in the past. He partly disagreed with me to a certain extent but I believe that I am right. Here are links to prior discussions on this topic:

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=16835.msg400298#msg400298

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=31803.220

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=16836.msg455324#msg455324

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=39662.msg1496173#msg1496173

For more on COTS, see:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commercial_Orbital_Transportation_Services

See also these 2009 hearings with NASA Acting Adm. Scolese:
https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-111shrg54283/html/CHRG-111shrg54283.htm

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-111hhrg51291/html/CHRG-111hhrg51291.htm
« Last Edit: 07/19/2018 03:21 AM by yg1968 »

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Re: WaPo: Trump-Bridenstine Disagree re. Deputy Director
« Reply #36 on: 07/18/2018 05:25 PM »
Although the name is somewhat similar, that wasn't COTS-D. COTS-D was awarded in 2006 to SpaceX and Kistler as an option. But that option was never picked up by NASA. Orbital did not offer COTS-D as an option when it was awarded a COTS agreement in early 2008.

I have had this discussion with QuantumG and others in the past. He disagrees with me but I am sure that I am right. Here is links to prior discussions on this topic:

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=16836.msg455324#msg455324

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=39662.msg1496173#msg1496173

For more on COTS, see:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commercial_Orbital_Transportation_Services

Alright, well I'm not going to argue this further since it's too far from the topic.  I posted the link already to the 2008 bill which clearly authorizes an effort as part of Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (note the capitalization - it's referring to the specific program).  Here's the link to the 2010 act that established the commercial crew program a distinct program from COTS (the way it was ultimately implemented). https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-111publ267/html/PLAW-111publ267.htm

It was sloppy on my part to refer to the program as COTS-D since that was the contract option, not the program. Anyone who cares can read the laws for themselves. It's pretty cut and dry what they say.

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Re: WaPo: Trump-Bridenstine Disagree re. Deputy Director
« Reply #37 on: 07/18/2018 06:01 PM »
If you read Scolese's 2009 comments in the links that I provided above, he makes the point that the funding (initially of $150M but which was later reduced to $50M) from the February 2009 stimulus bill was consistent with section 902 of the 2008 NASA Authorization bill. NASA ended up calling the program something else than "Phase 1 COTS commercial crew" (it was eventually called CCDev) but it was essentially the program envisioned by the 2008 NASA Authorization bill (at least in Scolese's opinion but perhaps not in Senator Nelson's opinion). 

The 2010 NASA Authorization bill was enacted in October of 2010, much later than the 2009 stimulus bill which funded CCDev1. Commercial crew had already started at that point (CCDev1 was awarded in February 2010 after a long delay).
« Last Edit: 07/19/2018 03:25 AM by yg1968 »

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Re: WaPo: Trump-Bridenstine Disagree re. Deputy Director
« Reply #38 on: 07/21/2018 12:53 AM »
Quote from: Administrator Bridenstine
I spoke with @NASA deputy administrator nominee James Morhard today. Mr. Morhard’s budget and appropriations background will be an asset to NASA moving forward. I look forward to working with him upon his confirmation.

https://twitter.com/JimBridenstine/status/1020429974191386624
« Last Edit: 07/21/2018 12:54 AM by yg1968 »

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