There is nothing in his resume that makes me think that he understands anything at all about space policy issues, and the fact that he’s worked with Hans Mark gives me the heebies, if not full jeebies.
As for this quote:
The general also has some strong views of his own: ‘I believe if you could get rid of all the nuclear weapons this would be a wonderful world,’ he says.”
I wouldn’t disagree with the sentiment, as far as it goes, but what does it imply in terms of his beliefs and potential acts? Does he think this is an attainable goal, or is it some out-of-context quote about what he’d do if he had a magic wand? If the former, what policies would he promote to achieve it (not that NASA administrator has much to do with that)?
There is nothing here that gives me a good feeling about this potential pick. Not that the Obama administration cares what I think, of course.
[Update a few minutes later]
I know, you’re asking, “what’s the problem with Hans Mark?”
The trivial reason is that he was the one who recommended Mike Griffin to the Bush administration. A more substantive one is that he has made many statements, or at least implications, over the years that private citizens have no business being in space, and that it’s a realm only for government astronauts. Which would be in keeping with his German upbringing and long NASA pedigree. He is a government space man, first, last, always.
[One more before-bed thought]
The general is reportedly very close to the president elect. That can either be very good, or very bad, depending on just what it is he/they want to do. The last time we had a NASA administrator close to the president, it worked out pretty well (Jim Webb, Apollo). Whatever he wants to do, he can count on White House support from the top, if he gets the job. The question remains: what will the Obama space policy be?
[Wednesday morning update]
Mark Whittington once again displays his complete inability to sanely read the emotions of other people. It’s nutty to think that I’m in a “blind panic.” It’s just as dumb when he claims that I’m “full of rage,” or any of the other extreme emotions that he often misattributes to me. But that’s Mark — perhaps he’s just projecting or something.
And Jeff Foust has more on the potential pick.
[Early afternoon update]
FWIW, there’s an interesting comment over at NASAWatch, from someone who calls himself “Space Exec”:
It’s well known that Gration was angling for a top job in the Department of Defense in the Obama Administration. During the campaign he had an opportunity to be involved in creating Obama’s space policy, but barely engaged due to lack of interest and quickly pivoted over to other things – leaving the job to 20-something policy staffer Carlos Monje instead.
If he’s appointed, the signal sent to the entire space community will be that NASA is nothing more than a consolation prize for the Presidents’ buddy who couldn’t get the job he wanted. Or, at best, maybe NASA is some kind of training wheels for Gration to prove his management abilities.
How soon until he has his eyes on some of the slots at DoD that will be opening up when Gates leaves (Secretary of the Air Force, for example)? Is he really going to be effective if his term is only one or two years? Is he going to have the respect of the NASA team given his apparent lack of interest in space science or exploration?
If this is the case, it reminds me of the Frosch appointment during the Carter administration. Bob Frosch reportedly wanted to run NOAA (something for which his previous career better suited him) but that post went to someone in more political favor, and he ended up with NASA as a consolation prize. We don’t need someone at the agency right now with little previous interest in space, and whose eyes are on a bigger (in his mind) prize. But we’ll see.
I’ve verified the Frosch story. It’s actually very interesting.