Wednesday, January 14, 2009

945p 1/13 Update: reports Gration in line for NASA administrator


CBS NEWS Coverage of Breaking Space News
Posted: 9:45 PM, 1/13/09

By William Harwood
CBS News Space Consultant

Changes and additions:

12/30/08 (01:25 PM): NASA releases post-Columbia crew survival study
12/30/08 (05:30 PM): NASA teleconference discusses crew survival study
01/09/09 (11:57 AM): Griffin awaits word from Obama administration
01/13/09 (09:40 PM): reports Gration to replace Griffin as NASA administrator


9:45 PM, 1/13/09, Update: reports Gration to replace Griffin as NASA administrator reports that President-elect Barack Obama plans to name retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Scott Gration, a decorated fighter pilot, as the next administrator of NASA, replacing Mike Griffin at the helm of the U.S. space agency. The web site reports an announcement "is expected as soon as Wednesday."

Speculation about who might replace Griffin has dominated space news in recent weeks, with former shuttle commander Charles Bolden and Charles Kennel, chairman of the National Academy of Science's Space Studies Board, mentioned as possible candidates.

Gration is a virtual unknown in the space community, but not to Obama. According to Newsweek magazine, Gration accompanied Obama on a tour of Africa and stumped for the presidential candidate during the campaign.

His Air Force biography states he retired from active duty on Oct. 1, 2006.

As Director of Strategy, Plans and Policy with U.S. European Command, Stuttgart-Vaihingen, Germany, Gration was "responsible for formulation and staff direction of the execution of basic military and political policy, as well as planning for command activities involving relations with other U.S. Unified Commands, allied military and international military organizations and subordinate commands."

He also served as director of Capabilities and Assessments and was "responsible for the development of force structure requirements; conducting studies, analyses and assessments; and for evaluating military forces, plans, programs and strategies," the Air Force web bio said.

"The general was raised in Africa and entered the Air Force in 1974 through the Air Force ROTC program at Rutgers University. He has previously served as a White House Fellow, operations group commander and two-time wing commander. Prior to assuming his current position, the general served as Assistant Deputy Undersecretary of the Air Force for International Affairs, Office of the Under Secretary of the Air Force, Headquarters U.S. Air Force.

"General Gration is a command pilot with more than 5,000 flight hours, including more than 2,000 hours as an instructor pilot. He has extensive combat experience in the Middle East and served as the Commander of Task Force West during Operation Iraqi Freedom. General Gration's aerial combat experience includes 274 combat missions over Iraq, with 983 hours of combat time."

A NASA spokesman reached late Tuesday said he did not know whether Gration was, in fact, a candidate to replace Griffin.


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