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Transcript of Press Briefing with NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe 17 December 2004

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Friday, December 17, 2004

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O'KEEFE: Good morning.

First and foremost, I want to introduce two new colleagues, folks I very much look forward to working with in a new capacity: Mr. Stewart Slack, who's the chairman of the board of supervisors of Louisiana State University system, and Dr. Bill Jenkins, who is the president of the LSU system, which is across the entire state. The chairman of the board last night entertained a motion, and it was agreed to, to name me the seventh chancellor of Louisiana State University, commencing at the earliest convenience. That earliest convenience will be at a time shortly after the president has nominated a successor here in my capacity as NASA administrator and hopefully upon U.S. Senate confirmation of said successor; sometime in February I hope. There will be an opportunity then to leave this great agency and head down to my home state of Louisiana.

Want to open it up for questions here in just a second, but I do want to again thank you all for the opportunity to spend a little time. It is a very mixed emotion that this circumstance, in the course of this past week, and a whirl of emotions I guess that I've felt.

But I find this new opportunity to be one of combination of public service that I've spent most of my professional career engaged in, an opportunity to be a part of a university community that is very energetic and extremely enthusiastic about a very specific agenda and a strategy for research and student excellence that is really an exemplar kind of agenda within the university ranks, and an opportunity, quite frankly, to go home.

O'KEEFE: Louisiana's my home, and it's an opportunity to spend more time there in a very familiar and extremely welcome kind of setting that I'm very fond of.

And with three teenagers, it'll be an opportunity to introduce them to that environment and the lifestyle that I think will be very, very conducive for the family life that I'm anxious to want to engage in.

So I'm most grateful to Chairman Slack and to President Jenkins for joining me here today in Washington. And I look forward to the opportunity of joining them at the soonest, earlier possibility to take on a great new assignment and one they've entrusted to me that I'm very delighted to have the opportunity to do.

And then I look forward to your questions and comments.

QUESTION: Mr. O'Keefe, after three years as NASA administrator, what is your advice to the person who will succeed you?

O'KEEFE: Real simple: Take the president's vision for space exploration, support it and implement it. As simple as that.

It's a great legacy. I think it's one that the president has left to this successor to build on that foundation and to take it to levels that were prescribed by his direction.

And so as a consequence, I think that's an opportunity now to build on that baseline and to follow through on a strategy that's been called for at least the last couple of decades, as I remember how this debate has worked.

And now that the financing is there and the Congress has endorsed it, there's an opportunity to begin with the resources necessary to get started on that agenda.

This is an opportunity to, again, support and implement a very defined agenda and strategy that the president has articulated. And I wish my successor well in that task. I'm just confident they can pull it off given the extraordinary capabilities of the folks in this agency.

QUESTION: Mr. O'Keefe, there's been some speculation that your departure had something to do with the Hubble report, what jobs you were or weren't offered. And yet it seems to be that you keep saying that it was for your family. Would you care to comment on those speculations?

QUESTION: Was there a job that you were hoping to get and you didn't? Or did the Hubble thing just spook you?

(LAUGHTER)

O'KEEFE: No.

Again, it's been my intention for some time now to depart public service after the first term of the Bush administration. And so advised my mentors in the White House, the president, the vice president, many months ago. Given that circumstance, my intention was to ease that transition along.

I did not anticipate an opportunity to go to a ideal condition as has been offered by Louisiana State University. And the very notion to achieve a dream of being the chancellor of an institution of that extraordinary caliber is one that I would not have thought possible and I'm just delighted to have that opportunity. And it fits very much in comport with what the plans were as I articulated them to the leadership.

So that's it. That's the only reasoning involved. And it's one that, again, is an actuarial fact. All the kids are getting to an age where it's exactly the right time I think to give a little back to my family. And after all the effort they've engaged in to tolerate my addiction to public service over all these years this is a good opportunity to do a little more than that.

QUESTION: You've been pretty candid that at least one motivation for your departure is financial. Public service is not generally considered to be a way to get real financially solvent.

What kind of advice can you give to those who are going to be looking for your successor in terms of getting the best talent they can for the money that they can pay? What inducements can they offer?

O'KEEFE: There's no one I've ever met in my public service career, in all the different opportunities that have been presented to me, who came to any of those circumstances because of the compensation opportunities. That's certainly not one of the elements of public service.

It is very much about the opportunity to do some things that are just extraordinary and that typically are not found in any organization, in any walk of life, and for which the responsibility is really daunting. But it's one that's a great challenge. And so, as a consequence, you're either driven to those kinds of objectives and opportunities or you're not.

O'KEEFE: And if your goal is to find some way to contribute to the broader benefit of a society we serve, then there is an opportunity to recruit folks, regardless of their condition.

That said, there comes a point where you have to make decisions about what you're going to do and how long you can continue to serve in it based on all the other challenges that all of us confront in life.

So this is just a family consideration I've made on that basis as well, and one that I've done my best, and it's an opportunity now to hand off that opportunity to someone else.

QUESTION: You've been here three years in this post, and if you had not left now, if you were staying, what is the unfinished business here that you would have made a priority?

I'm not talking necessarily about the president's vision statement, but in this agency, if you'd stayed, what other things would you have taken on to change or fix or whatever?

O'KEEFE: That's a pretty big one. I'm not sure I'd want to dismiss it quite as quickly as you would. I think it is a very clear strategy. There is a very clear set of milestones and objectives that are required.

The glide path required in order to achieve that vision is challenging. There's a lot of specific successive steps that have to be taken.

But nonetheless, these are all achievable goals. And there's none of this that's outside the range of what is feasible. It is, as the president said, a journey, not a race.

And thank God it is. I mean, we don't live in an environment in which, as we did in the '60s, in which there's a crash program required. This is about exploration and about yielding to the desire we all have, I think, to understand and to explore and understand better what we don't know.

That's a terrific opportunity. It's a terrific challenge. It's a great agenda. And it's one that, again, is financed in a way that gives a running start to get moving on that agenda. And now building on that success is what would be the time ahead is going to require.

And that is the focus. I don't know that there's a broader or other set of priorities that even rise to that same level.

As a backdrop to all that, I think part of what we have to do, tactically, in order to achieve those goals that he's laid out in his direction that the president articulated, is the challenge of return to flight.

O'KEEFE: And that's the first major objective, and that means you've got to comply with the recommendations of the accident investigation board, meet the objectives of those recommendations and move forward as that first step in order to achieve these broader goals and objectives laid out and articulated in the blueprint for the overall exploration objectives.

That also calls for, I think as the accident investigation board articulated, an opportunity to really adjust the nature of the organization, transform the focus of this organization, as the Aldrich commission observed, and implement a range of tactical kind of objectives that they viewed as necessary or helpful in achieving the broader vision objectives that the president articulated.

So there's a lot on the plate, a lot of neat things to do. And yet there's a very good strategy laid out and a very clear game plan. It's not something that requires you to have to sit back and think about how do you reorganize the components of it; no, it's a very clear objective.

So supporting and implementing that agenda is what the president clearly intends to seek in whoever the successor will be to this great opportunity.

QUESTION: While I'm tempted to ask you to go on the record for your choice for football coach if Mr. Saban goes to the Dolphins, I'm going to ask you to look back, of course.

You came here with a very specific mission three years ago, which was to get particularly the space station finances under control, but also to fix some other problems at NASA. Do you feel like you've accomplished that, or at least made significant headway and are leaving your successor with books that are in pretty good shape?

O'KEEFE: It's on the road to recovery. There's no doubt about it.

I think the situation on International Space Station was more a symptom that was manifest of a larger challenge that we have structurally within the agency of financial management and resource management and accounting practices.

So it was the manifestation of the real deficiencies in the financial management systems that yielded that major program challenge when I first arrived here better than three years ago.

O'KEEFE: Having conquered that one and dealt with that symptom of how to you reconcile and develop a cost estimate that is an accurate portrayal and projection of what the International Space Station would cost and all of our partners internationally agree to and understand, they're all party to, and a configuration now that we're moving toward, that will be the final assembly sequence by the end of the decade, I think that is a -- having dealt with the symptoms that and the tactical consequences of it have moved forward.

That said, the more structural challenge, systemic problem, is the financial management system, which we have moved on aggressively to implement a single core financial accounting system based on an integrated financial management program.

That's been ongoing now for three years. We are deep in the midst of that transition. A year-plus ago we transitioned to that single core financial system.

And as a consequence, all of the challenges that go on with collapsing a whole range of legacy accounting systems is what we've been reconciling to over the course of the last year.

So the hard work is largely been confronted and now under way.

And every other organization or chief executive of every other organization I've talked to who has gone through the same kind of transitional effort has described this as one of the most hellacious challenges going, that is as unpopular as all get out while you're doing and then as soon as you emerge from it, everybody wonders why they ever did it any other way.

So it'll be, hopefully, my successor's opportunity to be in the how-did-we-ever-do-it-any-other-way mode while I've done the first two parts. And I think that's at least a foundation to get through the fire and brimstone part in order to get to the conclusion of it.

But it's moving. I think it's the right choice in order to get on with the developing a solid baseline for avoiding those kinds of financial problems in the future that I inherited when I walked in here.

QUESTION: Mr. O'Keefe, you've been through some very lows at this agency with the loss of Columbia and some highs with the Mars successes and others. Can you describe for us what you're thinking about return to flight? And is there a part of you that regrets that you won't be here for it?

O'KEEFE: Let me take the last part of your question or comment first.

It's never been about me, OK; it really isn't. And what role I play in this matters little relative to the extraordinary capabilities this agency has brought to bear on a really serious challenge.

And while we all, I think, took the tragedy of Columbia as a personal situation and one that reinforced a commitment to diligence, that we're constantly working to reinforce, it is in this circumstance -- I think this milestone coming up for return to flight is a great opportunity to be the opening chapter for whoever is the NASA administrator to begin that task and the first step of achieving the broader vision for space exploration the president has articulated. It's the first step in order to get there, rather than being the closing chapter of my tenure.

And so far better to start it on that process. And what we've really gone through the hard work of doing in the last almost two years now since the Columbia accident occurred and since the accident investigation board released its report in August of 2003, is the effort of really surrounding the challenges of meeting the objectives of those recommendations, rather than just complying with them.

We probably could have complied with them a long time ago and just figured out some way to meet the minimums. Instead, we've really been trying to find -- meeting objectives of what's involved in order to really own those answers and be part of that solution that then makes this a stronger organization, to assure that diligence in the time ahead and for the remaining time that we fly the shuttle, until station is completed and we move on to the next phases.

So this is an opportunity, I think, for the next administrator to take this team to that first major accomplishment and first major step in the task toward achieving the vision for space exploration, and I think it's a critical one.

O'KEEFE: It was a low point, but it's also been -- I think, when the Columbia accident occurred. But certainly it was, I think, a cathartic moment that really motivated all of us, not just here at NASA, but I think throughout the broader public policy debate, to think seriously and deeply about what the objectives of and the space policies/space exploration goal should be.

And what emerged from that, I believe, was the president's vision that was prompted in large measure as a consequence of this tragedy.

It certainly motivated and inspired him to be, I think, very clear about what those goals should be. And I think he has done the nation a great service by being very specific about what our expectations ought to be as well.

QUESTION: Mr. O'Keefe, I was just wondering what the top items are going to be on your agenda in your final weeks as administrator.

O'KEEFE: I guess, first and foremost, consulting the Hippocratic oath, do no harm. That'll be first.

And I think really trying to resolve a variety of different issues that have been set in motion in order to leave as solid a baseline for my successor to begin with.

But, you know, it will be first and foremost, the first one, which is do no harm.

QUESTION: That said, will you be making a decision about the Hubble Space Telescope and its future or will you leave that to your successor?

O'KEEFE: Well, I think the decision that I made I intend to stand by, which is that we move forward, as I've articulated, to a program design review in March on the robotic mission, which will tell us an awful lot more about the capabilities and the assessment of those capabilities rather than an assessment and an analysis performed by some independent, objective observers.

O'KEEFE: This way, it will be folks who are vested in the activity.

And at that time, I think some forecast of when that could be achieved and how it will be put together and what it will take in order to do that, in terms of cost and everything else, will be better known.

The next step is it has to meet a critical design review in August.

And so, meeting those two steps will tell us a lot more about this rather than guessing.

And right now, what we have is a lot of folks forecasting based models and what they think might happen and based on their expert judgment of what they think came before and so forth. And I think at this point we're so close to getting some real answers to some of the questions and their real analysis in these next two phases that it's worth carrying through that level, because in the end at some point we have to de-orbit the Hubble anyway.

So as long as everybody is focused right now, let's focus on the task of what it takes to do that baseline mission, which is a fundamental start of what it's going to take for a robotic mission to take off, which would be to add gyros, provide battery power for an extended life and potentially replace instruments. Those will all become additive increments on top of that baseline mission.

So let's see what it takes on that first part, give that the opportunity to work its way out. And I would hope that folks would have the patience and tolerance long enough to see that through, because the technology that could be yielded from pursuit of that objective right now could have great, and will have great applications to a wide range of other exploration objectives. It won't be just limited to extending the service life of Hubble.

The concern, based on the analysis of past trends, that there is a lower probability of success than other alternatives -- well, that was about the same assessment that there was over the first repair mission in the early 1990s after, with all due respect, many of your colleagues described this same instrument as a billion dollar piece of space trash. And the assessment from the community and the experts was that it had a very low probability of success of repair.

Well, I guess if we had listened to that wisdom we would never have repaired it, or never given it the first mission that it needed.

O'KEEFE: So let's give this a shot. Let's see what happens.

And to the extent that -- the argument that somehow this is something that's never been done before, well, that kind of describes almost everything NASA has done for 45 years is stuff that no one's done before. So that's hardly a remarkable observation, and one that, therefore, let's base this on some facts and analysis and some progress looking at the program management alternatives, rather than based on some past tense historical perspective that has often been wrong.

QUESTION: Sir, there seems to be some disagreement at least over the semantics of one of the CAIB recommendations involving just how good of a repair needs to be in the astronauts' hands before the return to flight, in terms of repairing tiles or RCC.

And I'd be curious, in your parting thoughts, just how good of a repair method should be on board when the shuttle lifts off. Should it be just as good as we can do, the best we can do, as the Johnson people say, or, in the words of the task force, should it be reasonable, doable and practicable?

O'KEEFE: Oh, again, I'm not going to parse words on what the Stafford-Covey task group may say versus others. I think just the objectives of what's intended in the Columbia Accident Investigation Board report is to have the capacity to repair damage to the thermal protection system.

Now, under any scenario the only way you're going to be able to determine whether or not you can do any level of repair is after the first two flights. So the answer to that probing question and this semantical debate will be settled by the reality of what's possible after the first two flights.

One test is worth loads of opinions on this kind of thing, and it settles all kinds of arguments.

O'KEEFE: So I think the debate over what is going to be the level of expertise that's possible in this particular case and level of completion is going to be demonstrated on the first two flights.

QUESTION: Sir, I wanted to give you an opportunity to maybe share and reflect back on was there one day or one thing that you've done in your years that was maybe your -- obviously you've got a fun job, too. Was there one thing that stuck out in your mind as the most fun you've had in this job?

O'KEEFE: Every single time I've had an opportunity to visit and explore a school is the most fun I've had in this capacity. No doubt about it. Hands down. No other comparative baseline.

Everything else has been really interesting and a lot of fun, and there have been some fascinating days and all that. But consistently, time after time, when you visit fired up, you know, middle school kids out there who are really motivated to suddenly think about studying what math and science applications can do and how math and science can be brought to life for the purposes of these kinds of great exploration goals, it is just absolutely intoxicating in terms of the overall focus that kids bring to this kind of effort.

And the enthusiasm is over the top. And it reminds you why we do what we do as public servants -- is for that next generation of explorers and to motivate kids to think differently about the limits of our imaginations -- because how jaundiced we've become as grown- ups. They are unencumbered by that.

And I've also learned in those great experiences on those great days never, never, never follow an astronaut on the state. It's the equivalent of being the dog act after the main event.

And it's a good life skill and lesson learned. And as a result, I only made that mistake once.

QUESTION: Good morning, Mr. O'Keefe.

I'm sure the past three years have had their share of ups and downs. If the situation presented itself and it was convenient, would you consider returning to NASA in another form of service throughout the years?

O'KEEFE: Gosh, I've always been amazed at the next opportunities that have been presented to me because I thought they were well beyond any potential of my modest means to attain. MORE

O'KEEFE: And it certainly applies to the coming opportunity to be the chancellor at LSU.

I just never would have thought that possible. And it was something that I can recall as a college student aspiring to the opportunity to lead a public institution and thinking this is going to be something which would be such a reach that I would never be able to achieve it.

So I've been pleasantly surprised again at what modest capabilities can bring for you if you just put a little bit of energy to it, and the harder you work, the luckier you seem to get. And if my privilege would be to move on to some other opportunity again at some later time, I can't imagine what that would be.

I'm about to achieve an opportunity that I thought was well beyond the scope of what would be possible for me to do, and I'm looking forward to the great challenge of achieving it.

QUESTION: During your tenure, you saw some harsh budget realities and a creation of a plan that emphasized solar system exploration.

Given that plan and budget reality, where does Beyond Einstein fit in NASA's vision? Can you articulate the level of NASA's commitment and whether there'd be any further delays to the Beyond Einstein project?

O'KEEFE: Well, I think rather than focus on a specific set of initiatives, first point I think that's critically important to emphasize is that the pursuit of this broader exploration strategy that the president has articulated doesn't mean that it is at the expense of basic research activities.

Much of the basic research needs to continue on to inform each of those steps that are necessary in the future to understand and establish what objectives will be driving the very specific applications of technologies for those exploration goals.

So I think a deeper understanding of the origins of the universe, as well as a deeper understanding of our own condition here on this planet and what is contributing to it -- both of those extended issues on either end of the pole are the kinds of things that I think will inform what the science objectives are behind each exploration journey.

And again, the president has articulated it as a journey, not a race.

O'KEEFE: One mission at a time. And focusing on that objective will then always be informed by those science views.

So rather than prejudging what should be a level of commitment to this program versus that program along the way, it's more based on what the scientific objectives are and how you go about achieving that focus.

That, in turn, any one individual program, Beyond Einstein or any other, is a means to define and be very much more specific about the scientific objectives, then that's how it'll be pursued.

And I think that's the logic that's being supported here, as opposed to an approach that says every program ought to get some level of effort so that nothing really excels much but everything kind of gets sustained for a period of time. That is a recipe for mediocrity.

QUESTION: Getting back to the issue of NASA reform, I was just wondering if you had anything to say about your efforts to upgrade the skills of the NASA work force.

O'KEEFE: Well, first and foremost, I think as a baseline assumption, the skills of the NASA work force is pretty exemplary. I mean, among the talent that I've had the privilege to work with in my professional career, this is, person for person, some of the most extraordinarily talented, diverse, disciplined kind of folks that I've ever dealt with. It's just really extraordinary.

In looking at our assessment of what are the strategic management of human capital objectives -- the people kind of focus that we need to have in terms of disciplines and skills, as engineers, scientists and technologists in the future -- there has converged over the last three years a very clear understanding of what kind of skill mix do we need to carry out the objectives that have been handed to us and directed to us.

And I think a comprehensive effort has gone into that. We now have across the agency about 130 different specific definitions of the kind of skill talents that are required to carry this out, and they mean the same thing at every center in every element of this agency.

O'KEEFE: That wasn't true three years ago. There were hundreds of different definitions, and one definition of an electrical engineer in one location meant something totally different in a different area, or a different part of the centers, or wherever else. Now it's a standard kind of understanding of what is required.

And what we find is that there are some skill mixes for which we really need to focus on recruiting new talent to the task because of either actuarial realities -- people are going to retire -- or because we have fewer of them than what we need.

For a very specific example, folks who are nuclear engineers -- if you're going to pursue power generation and propulsion capabilities under Project Prometheus in the manner that we are, what you find and when you inventory across all the skills that we have across the agency is among the folks we have who are skilled in this particular expertise, there are fewer of them than we need, and most of the ones we have are within three years of retirement.

That tells you you ought to go recruit.

So that's why we're really out there focusing very directly on folks who have the kind of talents in those skill mix areas that will contribute to, for example, that kind of a case, as well as others. There are other specific examples that fit in the same category.

QUESTION: About half an hour from now, in this very room, you're going to be facing the all-hands NASA employees and it will be for the first time that you will have faced them since the president released your letter of resignation. I was wondering if you could share with us what it is you're going to tell them.

O'KEEFE: It's only half an hour; stay tuned.

(LAUGHTER)

I think it really -- I'd rather have that opportunity to speak with colleagues without previewing coming attractions on it. But it is very much a -- it touches on the themes we've talked about a fair amount here, which is a period of tragedy, of triumph and transformation certainly has been felt over these last three years.

O'KEEFE: And it's been a mixed set of emotions. It's same ones that I have about leaving.

QUESTION: You are the best placed person to know what the essential quality is to be a good NASA administrator. When you came, the need was to put in place more, sort of, rational accounting. You set the agency on the road to that.

As NASA stands now, what's the one key quality that your successor should have?

O'KEEFE: I think regardless of discipline or professional calling or walk of life or whatever, the fundamental characteristic ought to be someone who can support and implement the president's vision for space exploration.

It's just a straightforward proposition. This is not something that require, I think, an examination of all the other alternatives and options of what should be the purposes of broader space policy. That's defined. That's clear. Someone who can support that objective and then go implement the pieces of that as a management and leadership objective is exactly what the president's looking for.

And there's a wealth of talent out there that can certainly step up to that challenge. And I would find that there would be a great enticement and excitement to lots of different people to take that on.

QUESTION: I wanted to follow up a little bit on what you just said, which was this is a person who needs to implement the vision.

Do you see that person needing to be more of a management-type person, as you just mentioned, or more of a sales person, as some people on Capitol Hill have said? Should this person have more of a space background perhaps more than you did in order to sell it a little bit?

O'KEEFE: Well, I'll leave others to interpret what is the appropriate composition mix and desired kind of talents that ought to be brought here.

O'KEEFE: What I've suggested is leadership skills that are necessary in order to implement the president's vision for space exploration is what I believe the president's looking for.

And in the end, the only characteristics that will matter are the ones that are embodied in the individual that the president ultimately selects. And they, by definition, will be the right ones.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

O'KEEFE: Well, you've been apologizing for as long as I've known you anyway.

(LAUGHTER)

I mean, this is great, finally get a couple of shots in here.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) praise of your political acumen. Some folks say that the handling and the timing of the Hubbell Space Telescope decision was not your best moment politically. Your thoughts?

O'KEEFE: There's the skill mixes you learn with and the ones you live with. And I don't know that there's a whole lot that I would have done differently.

I don't spend any amount of time, I got to tell you flat out, really thinking about woulda, coulda, shouldas, and looking backwards, because every minute you spend looking backwards is time wasted from not looking forward. And it is just -- it's one of the circumstances you can't ever undo it. No amount of rethinking timing or anything else matters.

So I have no reticence or regrets about that. I think that's exactly what the conditions were at the time. There were a set of challenges that had to be confronted then.

I must tell you that, even in reflecting, the easy answer would have been to do nothing, and in the process this debate would have been enjoined when it was too late.

O'KEEFE: The debate could have been enjoined at -- I think, I'm just anticipating that what would be occurring is a debate about whether to conduct such a mission using the shuttle when it becomes clearer down the road in a few years that the objectives of the recommendations of the accident investigation board weren't met.

Now, what we're having right now is a raging debate and discussion among folks who think that it can be met versus those -- maybe few -- who believe that it will be challenging.

And the only deficiency I find in the nature of the argument today -- because, frankly, these are good ones, a good discussion to have. And it's better to have it now than to have that when it's too late, when there were no other options to be had.

You're faced with the ridiculous Hobson's choice of either saying, I'm going to fly the mission knowing I don't comply, I don't meet the objectives of the accident investigation board recommendations, but we're going to do it anyway, thereby risking the credibility of this agency to mean what it says and follow through on what's going on.

Or you face the equally ridiculous choice of saying, Well, I guess we'll not fly the mission because we haven't met the objectives and let the asset go dark.

Right now we've got the option to look at alternatives, and that's what's going on. And I think that's why the logic and the reasoning of waiting for the program decision reviews, the critical reviews. It's in these very short months ahead. That's got great utility rather than everybody reaching some determination.

Now, the easy answer would have been to never have raised this at all and have let this happen a couple -- a year or two from now or something, and at that point, there would be no other choice except, again, a Hobson's choice.

I rest a whole lot easier knowing that there is a debate that has been enjoined and discussed, that is about all the right topics of this and all the right focus of this in time in order to inform other alternatives.

And, you know, if that means that during the course of this time folks who would rather I had not brought it up at all, then so be it. But that's the definition of preferring ignorance over an informed decision and opportunity in order to make those choices. And I think that's what's been served up for the time being right now.

So I don't see any regret to that.

O'KEEFE: I think the timing of it is what it was, and it is what it is, and there isn't a whole lot that would matter by looking back and trying to reflect on some other composition.

STAFF: Sir, there being no further LSU questions, thank you very much for joining us.

O'KEEFE: Thank you. Appreciate it.

// end //

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