11 thoughts on “The NASA Deputy Administrator”

  1. Morhard is a Senate staffer currently serving as the Deputy Sergeant at Arms and has no known experience in aerospace.

    It looks like he does have a lot of administrative experience though only in an administrative setting, not industrial. His background is beneficial in dealing with congress and herding office cats. Not being a technical person means he will ask lots of questions, especially when things are not going right. So this could be a good fit for a role at NASA.

    What the article doesn’t mention is what his role as Deputy Administrator will be. It all comes down to what his actual job duties are. Maybe some NASA wonks or pedants will chime in with some greater detail.

    Oh, the article also doesn’t tell us much about Morhard’s background. He has a degree in accounting, an MBA, a JD, was an analyst at the NAVY and Pentagon where he reviewed research and procurement programs, and in addition to his lengthy career working for congress, he lectures at Harvard, the Naval War College, and Georgetown. Source.

    He may not be the “right” person for the job but he does have a long list of qualifications, some of which are technical but not necessarily from an aerospace engineering standpoint, just from a standpoint of how engineers get paid and how their work fits into the larger picture.

    All of the two articles I read quote upset Democrats and Obama officials as if their criticism is worth anything. Considering the context of the times, it isn’t. How about we get some good faith analysis of the person rather than coordinated catch phrase character assassination?

  2. Double negatives are always tricky. So do you mean that you think it is a terrible choice? If so, is it based on evidence, or just a lack of evidence that it isn’t a terrible choice?

    The article implies, but does not state directly, that the WH is going over Bridenstine’s head. Has that been confirmed? Does Morhard’s connection to Stevens and O’Keefe count as a positive or negative?

    Personally, if I were Bridenstine, I’d want someone with administrative chops rather than technical ones. Between career NASA types already in the organization and his own engineering/military BS detector, he probably already knows when he’s being snowed on the hardware front. Just sayin’.

    1. I don’t have sufficient information to have an opinion on the quality of the choice, but Bridenstine had clearly been hoping for Janet. Not clear that the pick is a good administrator. The connection to O’Keefe is sort of a positive. The connection to Stevens is supposed to be negative, but he was railroaded. I’d just like to know why he was picked, and by whom.

      1. I don’t have sufficient information to have an opinion on the quality of the choice

        No one does and its strange the space media isn’t giving us good information considering how nit picky they are on other issues.

        To his credit, Jeff Foust did mention some of Morhard’s background and even acknowledged the main criticism but did so in his own words not a copy/paste.

  3. With all that sucking sound coming from SLS and a noticeable list to the floor at NASA HQ, does it really matter who sits in what chair or where that chair is relative to the deck?

    I’m not looking to NASA for the next “big thing” in space. Maybe just enough competence to keep the COTS money flowing until New Space can bootstrap itself. The New Space companies should be focused on bootstrapping, for sure. ISS will not last forever…

  4. Given that all NASA’s major problems are political in nature – internal NASA factional politics as well as the heavy-handed external politics anent Congress – having someone in the 2nd chair whose specialty seems to be political engineering may turn out to be a very good idea. That’s especially so if Bridenstine wishes to continue his barely-begun efforts to kick NASA out of low gear and actually address some of its worst problems. It’s at least possible this new guy could be a lot more useful in the shotgun seat than some NASA lifer.

    I am content to await developments.

    1. How come Bridenstine doesn’t see it that way (in that his choice for the role was an experienced manager of technical projects)? Wasn’t one of Bridenstine’s strengths supposed to be that, as an ex congressman, he can deal with Congress?

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