Senate Commerce Committee Co-Chairmen Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) have scheduled a Full Committee hearing for Tuesday, April 12, 2005 at 10:00 am in room 253 of the Russell Building on the following nominees:
Click here for video of this hearing.
At the request of Senate Commerce Committee Co-Chairmen Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), the United States Senate unanimously approved the nomination of Dr. Michael Griffin to be Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)on April 13, 2005. Senators Stevens and Inouye planned to consider the nomination at the Commerce Committee's mark-up on Thursday, April 14, 2005. However, Stevens and Inouye convinced their colleagues to approve the nomination quickly so that Dr. Griffin could immediately get to work assessing the safety of the Space Shuttle's expected return to flight.
The Senate confirmed Mr. Boardman, Ms. Nord, and Mr. Cobey by unanimous consent on April 28, 2005.
Witness Panel 1
The Honorable Paul SarbanesUnited States SenatorMaryland
Statement of Senator Paul S. Sarbanes (D-MD)
Before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
On the nomination of Dr. Michael D. Griffin
As NASA Administrator
April 12, 2005
Chairman Stevens, Senator Inouye, and members of the Commerce Committee, I am pleased to appear before you today with my colleague Senator Mikulski to introduce a highly respected leader in Maryland’s scientific community – Dr. Michael Griffin, President Bush’s nominee to serve as the next Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
I am proud to be able to say that Dr. Griffin is a son of Maryland, born in Aberdeen – home of Cal Ripken, Jr. – and educated in some of our finest academic institutions. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Physics from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where he attended as the recipient of a prestigious Maryland State Senatorial Scholarship. He then went on to earn five Master’s degrees – in Aerospace Science from Catholic University, in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California, in Applied Physics from Johns Hopkins University, in Civil Engineering from George Washington University, and in Business Administration from Loyola College of Maryland. Dr. Griffin ultimately earned his Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland. As you can see, Dr. Griffin is – quite literally – a rocket scientist.
Dr. Griffin is currently the Space Department Head of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. Johns Hopkins APL is nonprofit division of the Johns Hopkins University, and, under the strong leadership of Dr. Richard Rocca, serves as one of the premier research and development institutions dedicated to solving a host of technical challenges faced by the nation. For over 45 years, APL’s Space Division has played a central role in supporting our nation’s civilian and military space programs. One of the most exciting recent collaborations between NASA and APL was the August 2, 2004, launch of the Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission. APL designed and built the spacecraft, which was completed under Dr. Griffin’s leadership, and the module is scheduled to arrive at Mercury in 2011.
A March 16, 2005, editorial in the New York Times strongly supporting Dr. Griffin’s nomination was simply and appropriately entitled: “A Talented Leader.” Indeed, Dr. Griffin has held numerous leadership posts during his long career in both the public and private sectors. These positions have demanded an extraordinarily high level of both administrative and scientific excellence, and Dr. Griffin has met these challenges with characteristic resolve and determination. As Head of APL’s Space Division, Dr. Griffin oversees a staff of over 600 employees, with an annual budget of over $200 million. Dr. Griffin previously served in the upper echelons of NASA leadership as both the Chief Engineer and the Associate Administrator for Exploration, and served in the private sector as the Chief Operating Officer of In-Q-Tel, Chief Executive Officer of Magellan Systems, and as Orbital Science Corporation’s Executive Vice President and Chief Technical Officer.
A self-described “space junkie,” Dr. Griffin has continued to pursue his intellectual and research interests outside of his administrative duties. Authoring over two-dozen technical papers, Dr. Griffin has also written a textbook entitled Space Vehicle Design. He has also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, and George Washington University. As the Committee knows well, the United States faces serious challenges in maintaining its preeminence in the fields of aeronautics and aerospace. In this regard, I applaud Dr. Griffin’s commitment to passing along his expertise and passion to the next generation of space researchers and enthusiasts.
Dr. Griffin has received numerous honors and awards over the course of his distinguished career, including the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, and the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal – the highest honor a non-governmental employee can receive from the Department. Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, one of the most important roles I have as a United States Senator is the responsibility to provide “advice and consent” with respect to Presidential nominees. To that end, I am confident that Dr. Griffin, if confirmed as NASA Administrator, will fulfill his serious responsibilities and face the considerable challenges of that position with skill, conviction, and determination. I urge the Committee to carefully and expeditiously consider this nomination, and to favorably report his nomination.
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to appear before you today to introduce this talented and distinguished nominee.
U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
Statement of Senator Barbara Mikulski on behalf of Dr. Michael Griffin
Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this hearing today. I am very pleased to introduce to the Committee Mike Griffin, the President’s nominee to be the next Administrator of NASA.
Mr. Griffin is a Marylander: born and raised in Aberdeen. Aberdeen is the home of another great Marylander, Cal Ripken, Jr. Just like Cal, Mike comes to this job with Aberdeen values: work hard, play by the rules, stay in school and serve your community. He not only brings his values to the job, he brings his education and experience. He has never forgotten where he came from. Mike proves that no matter who you are, or where you came from, there is no limit to what you can become, or what you can do in life. That’s what Aberdeen values are all about.
Mike Griffin started out as the class Salutation at Aberdeen High School, then on to Johns Hopkins, Loyola, and the University of Maryland. He’s got a Ph.D. in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Maryland, and FIVE MASTERS DEGREES in electrical engineering, civil engineering, aerospace science and physics. He even has an MBA- from Loyola College. He literally is a rocket scientist. Who better to run NASA than a rocket scientist?
I got to know Mike more than 15 years ago when he worked at NASA for President Bush’s father. But he hasn’t spent his whole life at a government agency or in a laboratory. He has worked in government, industry and academia. He has managed programs, institutes and ran entire companies. He comes to NASA from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, where he is the current head of the Space Department, a 600 person laboratory with a $200 million annual budget. APL has a proud and rich tradition of space and planetary exploration.
During his government service, Mike served as the Chief Engineer at NASA. In industry, he served as the CEO of Magellen Systems. He was an Executive Vice President at Orbital Sciences, and, he ran a private, non-profit technology company for the CIA. Mike is that rare combination of an engineer who is also an experienced manager.
There are enormous challenges facing NASA right now: returning the Space Shuttle safely to flight, implementing the recommendations of the Columbia Accident Board, finishing the Space Station, saving Hubble, building a replacement for the Shuttle, implementing the Moon-Mars Initiative, reviving aeronautics, changing NASA’s culture and maintaining fiscal responsibility. Mike is exactly the right man for the job- an engineer who can manage.
As NASA’s appropriator, I want someone who understands how to fix problems and manage a large organization. I want someone who has the technical knowledge and competency to lead large, complex organizations. I can’t think of anyone better qualified to be the next NASA Administrator than Mike Griffin.
As a Marylander and as a United States Senator, I am proud to support Mr. Griffin’s nomination.
The Honorable Elizabeth DoleUnited States SenatorNorth Carolina
Witness Panel 2
Dr. Michael D. GriffinAdministratorNational Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Witness Panel 3
The Honorable William W. Cobey Jr.Nominated to be a Member of the Board of DirectorsMetropolitan Washington Airports Authority
WILLIAM W. COBEY JR.
his Nomination as a
Member of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority
COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
UNITED STATES SENATE
April 12, 2005
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:
I am Bill Cobey, the President=s nominee to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Au-thority. I would succeed the Honorable John Paul Hammerschmidt, who has been closely involved with Washington=s two airports since the Congress agreed to turn them over to a public regional authority in 1986.
As you can see from the Committee=s record, my principal qualifications for this ap-pointment are found in my years of governmental service. I was introduced to airport politics and policies when I had responsibility for the airports in North Carolina as Dep-uty Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Transportation., and later as Town Manager of Morrisville, North Carolina which is located immediately adjacent to the Ra-leigh-Durham Airport.
I have long been involved with the Republican Party in North Carolina, and I am proud to have actively supported the election of the two outstanding Senators who introduced me this morning. I had the honor of representing the good people of the fourth district of North Carolina as a Member of the House of Representatives for one term in the mid 1980s when the Airports Authority was established under the visionary leadership of then Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole.
The Airports Authority customarily invites nominees to attend its meetings, and I have already attended a Board meeting and five committee meetings. The Board is very active and its members are well informed. I very much look forward to working with my col-leagues there.
As you may know, the Metropolitan Washington Airports is a public agency created by interstate compact between the Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia solely to operate Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport under lease from the United States. It is governed by a Board of 13 Members. Five are appointed by the Governor of Virginia, three by the Mayor of the District of Columbia, two by the Governor of Maryland and three by the President.
I am told that the Presidential members are among the most active and have the best at-tendance records. They are also mindful of the statutory direction, in the federal Metro-politan Washington Airports Act, to “ensure adequate consideration is given to the na-tional interest.” I can assure the Committee that this record will continue if I am con-firmed.
I appreciate your consideration of my nomination. I would be happy to answer any questions.
The Honorable Nancy A. NordActing ChairmanU.S. Consumer Product Safety CommissionSTATEMENT OF NANCY A. NORD, NOMINEE
FOR COMMISSIONER OF THE CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, it is an honor to appear before you today as the President’s nominee to be a Member of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”). I welcome the opportunity to talk with you about the Commission and to answer any questions you may have.To give you an overview of my background, I was born and raised in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where most of my family still lives. I graduated from the University of Nebraska and then attended George Washington University Law School at night, while working during the day as a Senate staffer. Twenty-one years ago, I married James S. Halpern, a Judge on the United States Tax Court. We have an 18 year old daughter, who is a freshman in college.My professional background includes service as counsel to the House Commerce Committee (where I handled consumer protection issues, including those relating to the CPSC), general counsel to the President’s Council on Environmental Quality, private law practice, starting and leading a professional association, and managing the federal government relations function of a large consumer products company.I have long had an interest in the activities of the CPSC. One of the first issues I worked on as a young lawyer, thirty years ago, was the original legislation establishing the Commission. As a hill staffer, I worked on authorizing legislation and oversight of the agency. I believe that the mission of the agency is of vital importance to the lives of every person in this country and I am committed to working aggressively to assure that the Commission carries out its statutory mission.From my experience in both the public and private sectors, I firmly believe it is critical that the agency involve in its deliberations all stakeholders, including private industry, consumer groups, state public health and law enforcement officials, and other federal agencies. If confirmed, I am committed to establishing an open communications process to assure that I have the benefit of vigorous debate and all points of view before reaching a decision on an issue. I also understand that Congress, and especially this Committee, is vitally interested in the Commission’s activities. If confirmed, I will assure that there continues to be open and full communication with you and your staff, and that the agency is fully responsive to any questions or issues you may have.The activities of the agency break down into three main areas, (1) identifying products that present unreasonable risks and developing uniform safety standards to protect against those risks, (2) educating consumers about the relative safety of consumer products and about compliance actions taken by the Commission, and (3) a law enforcement function, which assures compliance with the statute. I would like to outline my priorities with respect to each of these activities.With respect to the standards setting process, the Consumer Product Safety Act is unique in its direction to the Commission to work with interested parties to develop voluntary safety standards if such standards would be adequate to address a particular risk. The voluntary standards mechanism that Congress built into the Act assures that the standards-setting process is a collaborative one involving all stakeholders. It gives incentive to manufactures to design for safety. The commission should encourage product manufacturers, working cooperatively with consumer and standard setting groups in appropriate situations, to design safety into products so that regulatory action by the commission is a rare occurrence. With respect to consumer education and outreach, I believe that much needs to be done to alert consumers about potential safety issues. In addition, we need to continue developing more imaginative ways to get unsafe products out of the hands of consumers. However, this is not something the agency can do alone. It is vital that the agency work closely with the states’ attorneys general, state and local public health officials, educators, and community organizations, especially those serving consumers who are less fortunate economically and consumers who do not speak English as their first language, to assure that those closest to the people have information about safety issues and product risks.With respect to the agency’s law enforcement function, I am committed to vigorously enforcing the law: Those who do not comply with the statute should be punished. As our world gets smaller and manufacturing becomes global in scale, it is important that we assure consumers that consumer products coming into this country are safe and meet U.S. safety standards. Counterfeit products pose a special problem. Not only do counterfeit products impose unfair competitive burdens on American manufacturers, but they also can pose real safety hazards for American consumers.Finally, the Commission has a special obligation to protect vulnerable population groups, especially the elderly and the young. You have my full assurance that I will work tirelessly to assure that consumer products posing unreasonable risks to children and the elderly are dealt with quickly and efficiently.Serving as a CPSC Commissioner is a serious responsibility and a tremendous opportunity to work with a talented and dedicated staff. If confirmed, I commit to you that I will undertake the job of Commissioner with enthusiasm and integrity.