WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a Senate Commerce Subcommittee confirmation hearing today, House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) introduced
Mr. Sean O’Keefe, the President’s nominee to serve as NASA Administrator. Chairman Boehlert introduced Mr. O’Keefe at the President’s request. His statement is as follows:

“Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity speak in support of the nomination of Mr. Sean O’Keefe to serve as Administrator of the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration. I hope that the Senate will follow your example by moving quickly to confirm his nomination.

“Sean O’Keefe is a dedicated public servant who has never shirked difficult challenges. He served as comptroller and chief financial officer of the Department of Defense,
later as Secretary of the Navy, and earlier this year was confirmed by the Senate to serve as Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget. By their nature, these
are not jobs that win you many friends. But Sean has earned a reputation for being a talented manager—fair and open minded– while being absolutely committed to ensuring
that the agencies he manages are adaptable, efficient and mission focused.

“That is exactly what NASA needs today.

“I have not been impressed by the criticism of Sean – sometimes offered sotto voce — that Sean is (quote) “a budgeteer not a rocketeer.” Well, guess what? Sean is not going
to NASA to personally design rockets. But he knows enough about rockets to know that they burn cash just as assuredly as they burn fuel, and that both propellants are finite. It
won’t hurt NASA to have someone who can husband the agency’s resources.

Photos Courtesy House Science Committee. Click on Image for larger view

“But the criticism is not only less damning than intended; it’s also unfair. Sean is indeed a skilled manager who wants to make sure that taxpayer dollars are spent effectively,
but that doesn’t make him any less of a thinker. Like any good manager, Sean is not just interested in how many dollars are spent, but in what they are spent for. And I know
from our conversations that he is excited intellectually by the challenge of working to design a space program that will increase our understanding of both Earth and outer
space, hone our nation’s technological edge, and add to our economic strength.

“NASA has accomplished that in the past, and should in the future. That’s why I, like most Americans, am a strong supporter of NASA and the manned and unmanned space
programs. I remember the thrill of watching the first landing on the moon, my fear for the fate of the crew of Apollo 13, and the unforgettable horror of Challenger. I have
marveled at unmanned probes to the outer reaches of our solar system and at the technological achievement that is represented by the International Space Station.

“Nonetheless, NASA is an agency that has lost its way. The cost trajectory of its marquee program-the space station– is unsustainable. This is truer today than ever in
this time of vanishing surpluses and pressing national security and redevelopment needs. We can no longer afford to manage large technical programs without any real regard
for cost.

“The question, of course, is how we proceed from here.

“At the current rate, we will have pumped more than $30 billion into the Station-enough money to fund the National Science Foundation for almost a decade-and we need to
salvage that investment. We need to complete the core elements of the Station within the existing budget. We need to ensure that the costs of building the Space Station do
not eat into other programs and prevent NASA from pursuing its other scientific missions. And, as we do this, we need to look at options to ensure that the station is
capable of fulfilling its primary mission-science.

“The Young Task Force stated that NASA must undergo radical reforms if it is to restore credibility to the Space Station program. This was a biting critique of the way this
program has been managed. But it is also marks the path, albeit painful, that NASA must travel if it is to restore its credibility and generate broad public support for future

“I believe that Sean O’Keefe is prepared for this challenge and that he is dedicated to restoring NASA to its place as the crown jewel of American technology and ingenuity.

This will require establishing a new vision of the future of the agency and restoring the sense of mission that NASA has lacked since the race to put a man on the moon. It
will also require management reforms and changes to the way NASA conducts its business.

“I am confident that Sean has the toughness, the intellect, and the dedication to meet this challenge. I urge you to favorably report his nomination out and hope that he will be
confirmed before we leave for the holidays. Thank you.”



Heidi Mohlman Tringe

Communications Director

Committee on Science

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