Is New NASA Administrator Bad News for NASA

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“…”If either White House staff or Congress starts to get into the launch vehicle design business, we’re doomed. This is what NASA does….” Mike Griffin

There are those who fear NASA has become The One (elect)’s own private little play-ground for giving rewards to his supporters. If so, we have a problem a big problem.

It is becoming increasingly obvious Barack Obama has no idea what he is doing, and is vastly incompetent. The actions at NASA appear to prove my theory.  I’m beginning to wonder if the Obama people aren’t floating ideas to see what sinks and what doesn’t.  If so, this is no way to govern a nation.

According to Space News, Major General Jonathan Scott Gration is being considered to replace Mike Griffin as the new Administrator of NASA.  Scott is a former fiter jock who flew something like 274 missions over Iraq, has a good 1000 hours in combat.  He was on duty at the Pentagon on 9/11.

He is also very close to Barack Obama, and there is the possibility that he and The One (elect) are connected at the hip.  This is NOT a good thing.  There is speculation that the reason Gration was picked is to park him at NASA until Gates moves out of the DOD.  If so, then it is even worse than suspected.  There is also gossip that Gration wanted to be involved in the Obama space policy making machine during the campaign, but never bothered much with it.  That is also not good.

“…”He’s not at all known to members of the space community,” said space industry analyst John Logsdon. But Logsdon added that outsiders have often had success at NASA. Among them was James Webb, the fabled administrator during Apollo. “What a difference it will make to have an Administrator who has a personal relationship with the President and will have his calls taken,” opined one commenter this morning on the NASA Watch blog….”

According to Space Politics:

“…One other development: the Washington Blade reports that David Noble will be the “White House’s liaison” to NASA, according to a “prominent Democratic activist”. Noble joined the Obama campaign in June, leading efforts to mobilize gay voters. His background doesn’t indicate any space policy experience….”

THE PROBLEM CONTINUES

In a speech the other day, outgoing Administrator Mike Griffin warned if NASA is not fully funded, the best and the brightest will leave, and the US could end up losing our leadership role in space.  Considering the role Barney Frank will be playing in NASA funding, I think we’re screwed.

“…The more pessimistic case comes from The Hill, with this headline: “Recession may ground space flights” and this lede: “President-elect Obama will have to decide the fate of the costly U.S. space program amid a global recession and skyrocketing deficits.” It’s a bit hard to follow the author’s logic, though, when saying that the $3 billion a year proposed to extend the life of the shuttle is “even more expensive with a $1.2 trillion fiscal-year deficit as a backdrop”; with deficits that high, $3 billion is lost in the noise. The article also plays up comments by Congressman Barney Frank last fall that opposed human spaceflight, noting that “Frank’s comments are particularly interesting given the integral role he’ll play in the country’s economic recovery as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.” But as the discussion to the post linked to above noted, Frank isn’t involved in appropriations any more than the typical member (he can, like other members, propose amendments during floor debate on appropriations, as he as done in the past), and his committee will be pretty busy this year dealing with TARP and other bailout issues….”

IS GRATION A DONE DEAL?

Space Politics has come forward with additional information about the choice of Major General Scott Gration.  Bill Nelson is very much against him.

“…Wednesday came and went without a formal announcement of whether former Air Force Major General Jonathan Scott Gration would be the next NASA administrator (despite one publication jumping the gun). It’s also not at all clear how certain the selection of Gration is: while initial reports indicated that Gration was all but a lock to get the nomination, the Washington Post reported that “the selection is not a done deal” but could still be made prior to Tuesday’s inauguration. The Orlando Sentinel reported that Gration is not “an automatic lock” to get the job. The Wall Street Journal [subscription required] said that no final decision has been made, but could be forthcoming in a few days, adding that Lori Garver is the leading candidate to become deputy administrator….”

Trackposted to Rosemary’s Thoughts, Political Byline, third world county, Woman Honor Thyself, Adam’s Blog, The World According to Carl, DragonLady’s World, Leaning Straight Up, and Democrat=Socialist, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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3 thoughts on “Is New NASA Administrator Bad News for NASA

  1. On the one hand, can the situation NASA get any worse than it already is? Already it seems to be an extreme example of Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy, often stated as,

    “In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely.”

    Also stated as:

    ” …in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself. Examples in education would be teachers who work and sacrifice to teach children, vs. union representative who work to protect any teacher including the most incompetent. The Iron Law states that in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions.”

    Of course, we have Congress supposedly running the show, and congresscritters operate under an even more extreme version of Pournelle’s Iron Law…

    On the other hand, Gration seems to carry n credentials that would improve the situation at NASA. Fighter pilot? Big deal. Yeh, FPs are known for pushing the envelope to “get things done” but what good’s an extreme Type A personality if his agenda is no better than what exists already–or worse?

    On the gripping hand (to use a Pournelle-Nivinism that’s crept into computerese), maybe the flat-out demise of NASA in favor of private enterprise space development would be the unintended consequence of Obama naifs meddling with stuff they’re unqualified to deal with.

    To invoke Eric Idle here might be useful,

    Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

    *heh*

    One good thing about Obama and his apparent policies: they can always serve as a Good Bad Example to future generations of Americans… should there be any. And there’s the rub…

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