In what was one of the more interesting speeches by a NASA Administrator, on April 28th, Charlie Bolden proclaimed to an audience of NASA civil servants and contractors at the Johnson Spaceflight center that we were missing the boat if we keep arguing the way forward for NASA. Bolden’s firm belief, as both a good Marine and as a loyal appointee of his President, is that once the pre-decisional discussion has been conducted and the vote is cast (by this he means the sole vote of the President) about how we are going forward, then we need to stand behind that. Period. No more dissent. If you have a problem, NASA folks should forget contacting their Congressional representatives and instead visit with Charlie (we guess that means you, Jeff Hanley, so there!). We told you that it was bizarre.
There is no arguing that Charlie is a good soldier and a model American citizen. But, his contention that, once the President has made his decision on NASA’s direction, all at NASA need to tow the Executive’s line is a slap on the very face of the 535 members of Congress who ultimately will make the decision on the future of NASA and our nation’s human space program. Let us not forget, our forefathers very thoughtfully and deliberately crafted the Constitution and the Separation of Powers. We suggest that the NASA Administrator consider reading Article I, Section 8 and Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, which to put it simply, stipulate that, “the President proposes, and the Congress disposes”. Charlie needs to remember that there are 535 votes that must be cast before we fall in line behind any plan, that while the President may have cast his vote, Congress has yet to do so.