First Item of Business: Opening Comments and Upcoming Agency Decisions
Griffin led the members in a discussion of Agency strategy.
- When budgets are tight, it is important to keep Agency priorities in mind when making decisions. Griffin restated the Agency's goals (as stated in the Agency's 2006 Strategic Plan).
- At the time of the loss of Space Shuttle Columbia, NASA had a robust space science program and an aeronautics research program that needed work. As NASA is now trying to turn the human spaceflight program in a new direction, it is important not to harm science and aeronautics, while bringing new spaceflight capabilities on line as rapidly as possible.
- Griffin acknowledged that the decision to explore beyond Earth orbit after building the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle and the Ares Launch Vehicle will be determined by the next administration and funded by future congresses. He stated that his intent is for the Agency to finish the International Space Station (ISS) and get the replacement for the Shuttle on line to the point that when future leaders consider NASA's goals, the decision to move beyond Earth orbit will look like the logical extension of what the Agency should do.
- Griffin stated that if the Agency is to achieve its goals, it is critical to be able to eliminate content in the face of budget cuts. He asked members to work with him to identify the least important program content that could be cut without compromising Agency goals. Getting permission from Congress to cut content will be difficult and will require the Administrator and members to work together as a team.
- He discussed past efforts to drive some NASA centers to extinction, how that is politically impossible, and that the Agency must manage programs and institutions taking that fact into account. Missions need to plan out work so that the Agency knows what people it needs. Centers need to manage their workforce to provide for mission needs.
- Griffin stated the need to give preference to civil servants at the centers when considering how work is to be done, and that it is critical to get more of the Agency involved in NASA's primary business: exploring space.
- He reminded members that there are not enough exploration programs to give every center its own, and that people at some centers will be working for people at other centers.
- He appealed to members for their help in defending the FY 2008 budget and making some programmatic sacrifices to shore up the NASA institution.