Obama Taps Bolden To Lead NASA

Gen. Charles Bolden served for more than 34 years in the Marine Corps before becoming senior VP at TechTrans International through 2005.

K.C. Jones, Contributor

May 26, 2009

2 Min Read

President Obama has chosen Gen. Charles Bolden to become NASA's new administrator.

Lori Garver will serve under Bolden as deputy administrator. Obama announced the decision over the holiday weekend.

"These talented individuals will help put NASA on course to boldly push the boundaries of science, aeronautics, and exploration in the 21st century and ensure the long-term vibrancy of America's space program," Obama said in a statement released Saturday.

Bolden retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2003 as commanding general of the Third Marine Aircraft Wing. He served for more than 34 years in the Marine Corps before becoming senior VP at TechTrans International through 2005. He is currently CEO of the privately held military and aerospace consulting firm JackandPanther.

Since joining the Marines in 1968, Bolden flew more than 100 sorties and served in Vietnam from 1972 to 1973. Years later, he embarked on two space shuttle missions as pilot and two as commander, NASA said. He was tapped to lead the safety division at the Johnson Space Center after the Challenger disaster in 1986. Six years later, he became assistant deputy administrator of NASA headquarters in 1992. Bolden has a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and a master of science in systems management from the University of Southern California.

Garver is president of Capital Space. She served as senior adviser for space at a strategy and management consulting firm, the Avascent Group, in Washington, D.C. She was the top civil space policy adviser for Obama's campaign, and she led an agency review team for NASA during the transition.

Florida newspapers reported earlier this year that NASA's last administrator, Michael Griffin, had clashed with Garver and told employees during a party that she lacked qualifications to judge the agency's rocket program.

NASA said in a statement released Saturday that Garver "has intimate familiarity with the agency and knows well the challenges it faces.

From 1998 to 2001, she was associate administrator of NASA's Office of Policy and Plans, where she supervised NASA's strategic management system and its advisory council. She also served as a lead spokesperson for NASA. Before that, she was senior policy analyst in the same office and served as a special assistant to the administrator. She has an MS in science, technology, and public policy from George Washington University and a BA in political science and economics from Colorado College.

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