[ExI] NASA Associate Administrator Stern resigns

Amara Graps amara at amara.com
Thu Apr 3 20:33:52 UTC 2008

... and follow up ...



Volume 2, Number 19 (April 3, 2008)

PEN Website: http://planetarynews.org
Editor: Mark V. Sykes
Co-Editors: Matt Balme, Nic Richmond
Email: pen_editor at psi.edu



As you probably know by now, I have announced my resignation as
NASA's Associate Administrator for SMD and will be departing at the
end of this week. Dr. Ed Weiler will assume this post on Monday
April 7.

I assure you that my decision to resign came only after several
months of hard thought and reflection about the consequences of
spiraling mission costs that SMD could not control. In the end, this
became an important matter of principle that trumped even my boss,
NASA Administrator Mike Griffin's desire for me to stay and my regard
for him.

I want you to know that I remain highly impressed with Mike Griffin,
and I am as excited as ever at the fundamental progress he is making
in renewing human space flight toward a better future centered on the
exploration of the solar system.

In the past year, SMD accomplished a great deal-making the first word
in SMD-Science-first in our priorities and first in our portfolio.
This resulted in R&A increases and process improvements, new Earth
science and lunar science initiatives, expanded suborbital programs,
and multiple new mission starts in each of our four science
Divisions. I believe we also demonstrated the benefits of management
discipline, transparency, and innovation to advancing the Earth and
space sciences within NASA, and we began demonstrating how SMD can be
more relevant to American society.

During my tenure at NASA I met many, many fine people and came to
realize that few outside NASA realize just how talented, dedicated,
and relentlessly hard working the Headquarters staff and management
team is.

I am extremely proud of the work done by the staff of SMD and the
reforms to project and processes that we undertook. I want to extend
my thanks to SMD's staff, its Division Directors and their deputies,
and to the dedicated leadership of the SMD front office team, for
that hard work. I am also proud of the very strong relationship we
re-forged with the scientific community.

As SMD now moves forward, I want to tell you that Ed Weiler is an
incredibly talented, energetic, dedicated manager and civil servant
who cares deeply about science.  You can rest assured that with Ed at
the helm, SMD's future is in capable hands.

But Ed will need your help to maintain the positive pace of change
going forward in SMD and its research and mission portfolio. It is my
opinion that this can be done only by carefully controlling mission
costs. I ask you to work closely with Ed for the continued betterment
of SMD and NASA.

I'll close now by thanking all of you who have written of your
support in the past week, and by saying that I look forward to seeing
you in the future we make for ourselves.

Alan Stern

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Amara Graps, PhD      www.amara.com
Research Scientist, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), Boulder, Colorado

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