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Prepared Statement of Sen. Barbara Mikulski at the Confirmation Hearing for NASA Administrator Designee Michael Griffin

Status Report From: Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
Posted: Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this hearing today. I am very pleased to introduce to the Committee Mike Griffin, the President's nominee to be the next Administrator of NASA.

Mr. Griffin is a Marylander: born and raised in Aberdeen. Aberdeen is the home of another great Marylander, Cal Ripken, Jr. Just like Cal, Mike comes to this job with Aberdeen values: work hard, play by the rules, stay in school and serve your community. He not only brings his values to the job, he brings his education and experience. He has never forgotten where he came from. Mike proves that no matter who you are, or where you came from, there is no limit to what you can become, or what you can do in life. That's what Aberdeen values are all about.

Mike Griffin started out as the class Salutation at Aberdeen High School, then on to Johns Hopkins, Loyola, and the University of Maryland. He's got a Ph.D. in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Maryland, and FIVE MASTERS DEGREES in electrical engineering, civil engineering, aerospace science and physics. He even has an MBA- from Loyola College. He literally is a rocket scientist. Who better to run NASA than a rocket scientist?

I got to know Mike more than 15 years ago when he worked at NASA for President Bush's father. But he hasn't spent his whole life at a government agency or in a laboratory. He has worked in government, industry and academia. He has managed programs, institutes and ran entire companies. He comes to NASA from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, where he is the current head of the Space Department, a 600 person laboratory with a $200 million annual budget. APL has a proud and rich tradition of space and planetary exploration.

During his government service, Mike served as the Chief Engineer at NASA. In industry, he served as the CEO of Magellen Systems. He was an Executive Vice President at Orbital Sciences, and, he ran a private, non-profit technology company for the CIA. Mike is that rare combination of an engineer who is also an experienced manager.

There are enormous challenges facing NASA right now: returning the Space Shuttle safely to flight, implementing the recommendations of the Columbia Accident Board, finishing the Space Station, saving Hubble, building a replacement for the Shuttle, implementing the Moon-Mars Initiative, reviving aeronautics, changing NASA's culture and maintaining fiscal responsibility. Mike is exactly the right man for the job- an engineer who can manage.

As NASA's appropriator, I want someone who understands how to fix problems and manage a large organization. I want someone who has the technical knowledge and competency to lead large, complex organizations. I can't think of anyone better qualified to be the next NASA Administrator than Mike Griffin.

As a Marylander and as a United States Senator, I am proud to support Mr. Griffin's nomination.

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