Washington–NASA Inspector General Paul K. Martin today released the results of a review examining NASA’s May 2010 removal of Jeffrey Hanley from his position as Manager of the Constellation Program. Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee Chairman Rockefeller and Ranking Member Hutchinson had asked the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to investigate the matter.

The OIG found that Hanley’s reassignment was a management decision made by Douglas Cooke, Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems, with the concurrence of NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, and was taken in response to actions by Hanley that led senior NASA leadership to believe he could no longer effectively lead Constellation during a period when the President was seeking to cancel the Program in the face of significant congressional opposition.

NASA’s FY 2010 appropriation contained language barring it from terminating the Constellation Program without congressional approval. However, the President’s FY 2011 budget request proposed cancelling Constellation in favor of a different approach to human space exploration. On May 26, 2010, NASA removed Hanley as Manager of the Constellation Program and reassigned him to the newly created position of Associate Director of Strategic Capabilities at Johnson Space Center. At the time, several Members of Congress questioned whether Hanley’s reassignment was consistent with NASA’s pledge that it was complying with the requirements of the appropriations law.

The OIG review found that Hanley does not claim he was retaliated against through this reassignment and we uncovered no evidence of unlawful reprisal. The OIG also found no evidence to suggest that Hanley was reassigned in order to delay or thwart execution of the Constellation Program or to foreclose Congress’s ability to consider alternatives to the Administration’s plan for NASA.

The results of the OIG’s review are set forth in a letter to Chairman Rockefeller and Senator Hutchinson from the Inspector General. The full text of the letter can be found on the OIG’s website at http://oig.nasa.gov/ under “Reading Room” or at the following link: http://oig.nasa.gov/investigations/summaries.html

Please contact Renee Juhans at (202) 358-1220 if you have questions.