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NASA Internal memo: Message from the NASA Administrator: Feb. 3, 2010

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Wednesday, February 3, 2010

image On Monday, Feb. 1, the Obama Administration launched a bold and ambitious new space initiative that invests in American ingenuity to propel us on a new journey of innovation and discovery. This new effort will enable our nation to explore new worlds, develop more innovative technologies, foster new industries, strengthen international partnerships, and increase our understanding of the Earth, our solar system, and the universe.

In anticipation of the President’s new vision for NASA, I have been working closely with the NASA senior leadership team to ensure that we are ready to take on the opportunities we have been given. Early last fall, I asked Deputy Administrator Lori Garver to lead an Institutional Readiness Project (IRP) that focused on improving the area of institutional management. She and the IRP Team can be credited with surfacing progressive ideas that culminated into recommendations for organizational changes. Accordingly, I have notified the Congress that I intend to implement some organizational changes at NASA. The changes align with my previously stated goals of:

(a) embracing national priorities that align with NASA capabilities, (b) empowering NASA to pursue and implement new direction, and (c) streamlining functions and aligning roles and responsibilities with program execution.

First, as we pursue a new direction, we must invigorate NASA’s long tradition of innovation and scientific discovery. To help with this, I have created two new positions that will report directly to me:

- A Chief Technologist, who will lead a new Technology Innovation Office and provide a much-needed interface to our external stakeholders and to our industry, government, and international partners. The Chief Technologist will lead a new Technology Innovation Office (TIO) that includes the existing Innovative Partnerships Program.

- I have appointed Dr. Robert D. Braun from the Georgia Institute of Technology as Chief Technologist.

- A Chief Scientist, who will serve as my principal science advisor in addition to being the primary NASA interface to the national and international science community. The Chief Scientist will provide independent guidance and assessment of Agency level strategic plans, budgets, and long-range scientific vision, ensuring that the interrelated scientific endeavors are widely regarded as scientifically and technologically well founded and appropriate to achieve NASA’s mission.

Second, to streamline the way we do business and to ensure that we “invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don't” through strategic maintenance and investments in infrastructure, I am consolidating a number of mission support and business functions under a new Mission Support Directorate that will report directly to my Office.

- I have asked Dr. Woodrow Whitlow, Jr., from the Glenn Research Center to serve as Associate Administrator for the new Mission Support Directorate.

While additional changes have been made to the structure, I wanted to outline these major changes in my communication to you.

Finally, I want to express my confidence in you, the NASA staff. Though organizational change can promote improvement, it is the people who must make it all work. And, it will be you who will realize the President's vision. I am confident in you and grateful for your continued contributions.

Charles F. Bolden, Jr.
NASA Administrator

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