NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe today announced the
appointment of Michael O’Brien as the Assistant
Administrator for External Relations, effective immediately.
O’Brien replaces John Schumacher who became the NASA Chief
of Staff in July.

“Mike is a proven leader who brings an impressive blend of
international and interagency experience to this important
assignment. He is well known and respected by our
international partners. He will serve NASA’s interests
extremely well as we move forward in the challenging period
ahead,” Administrator O’Keefe said.

As Assistant Administrator for External Relations, O’Brien
will be responsible for NASA’s interaction with Executive
Branch offices and agencies; international relations for
each NASA Enterprise; administration of export control and
international technology transfer programs; the NASA History
Office; NASA advisory councils and commissions.

O’Brien has served as Deputy Assistant Administrator for
External Relations (Space Flight) since 1994. He was
responsible for the international aspects of NASA’s human
space flight activities. He led the team that negotiated the
agreements for the International Space Station with the
space agencies of Europe, Japan, Canada, and Russia. O’Brien
also was responsible for agreements related to Space Shuttle
flights for international astronauts and NASA relations with
other space agencies, such as those of Brazil and Israel.

O’Brien came to NASA from the United States Navy. He served
as a naval aviator in command positions and in Washington on
the staffs of the Chief of Naval Operations and the Chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As an advisor to the Chairman
concerning political-military policy in the Middle East,
Africa, and Southwest Asia, he traveled widely in the
Persian Gulf area for bilateral discussions with the defense
forces of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and other nations in
the region.

He also served as the Deputy Director for Research at the
Institute for National Strategic Studies in Washington.
O’Brien was Commanding Officer of U.S. Naval Station
Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico and commanded a carrier-based

O’Brien graduated with high distinction from the University
of Virginia. He holds a Master of Science in Physics from
Cornell University and a Master of Science in Aeronautical
Systems from the University of West Florida. As an Olmsted
Scholar, he performed research in International Relations
and Strategic Studies at the Graduate Institute of
International Relations in Geneva, Switzerland. O’Brien is
also a graduate of the French Ecole Militaire in Paris,

O’Brien’s awards include the Presidential Rank of
Meritorious Executive, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal,
the Defense Superior Service Medal, two Legions of Merit and
two Air Medals. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

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