White House nominates O'Keefe to head NASA

White House nominates O'Keefe to head NASA

Sean O'Keefe, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, will be nominated as the new administrator of NASA, according to a White House spokesman.

He will replace the space agency's longest-serving administrator, Daniel S. Goldin, who joined NASA in April 1992 and will retire Friday.

O'Keefe, whose nomination must be confirmed by the Senate, joined OMB in February. He oversaw the preparation, management and administration of the federal budget and governmentwide management initiatives. He also worked on NASA budget issues, including the troubled International Space Station project.

At a Nov. 7 hearing on ISS before the House Science Committee, O'Keefe said, 'Managing the program within cost and schedule must be elevated in importance'particularly within the culture of NASA's human space flight activities'to be on a par with technical excellence.'

His new position would give him the chance to set such a priority. His views on the space agency, however, have come under fire from some quarters.

'We find our nation on the verge of ending up with a bargain-basement space station with a three-person capability and little real science, rather than a world-class research facility,' Rep. Dave Weldon (R-Fla.) said in a release. His district includes the Kennedy Space Center.

O'Keefe's 'lack of cooperation at the hearing raises new doubts for me about OMB's intentions and whether this administration supports the human exploration of space,' Weldon added.

Before joining OMB, O'Keefe was the Louis A. Bantle Professor of Business and Government Policy, an endowed chair at the Syracuse University Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

He holds a bachelor's degree from Loyola University in New Orleans and a master's in public administration from the Maxwell School.

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