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NASA Administration, Office Reorganizes to Align With National Space Priorities; Bill Nelson Quoted

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Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator, has announced new leadership roles and an office merger as part of the agency’s reorganization strategy in response to the Biden Administration’s space priorities.

As part of the reorganization, NASA’s Office of Strategic Engagements and Assessments has merged with the Office of the Chief Technologist to create the newly established Office of Technology, Policy and Strategy (OTPS), the company said Monday.

Nelson said that the newly formed OTPS will leverage “cutting-edge technology, strategy and policy” to ensure the agency’s continued success at a critical time in global space exploration.

He added, “These leadership roles are critical for both sustaining and advancing NASA’s missions, and this team will guide us on our significant work ahead as we continue to take care of our people, advance our technologies, make our skies safer, enable groundbreaking scientific discoveries, protect our home planet, and push humanity’s exploration farther into the solar system than ever before.”

Dr. Bhavya Lal, who previously served as NASA’s senior advisor for budget and finance, will now lead the newly formed OTPS in her new position of associate administrator, reporting to NASA’s Deputy Administrator, Pam Melroy.

Douglas Terrier, the agency’s former chief technologist, will assume the new position of associate director for vision and strategy at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Dr. Lal will serve as acting chief technologist in the interim.

Former Deputy Associate Administrator Melanie Saunders will now serve as chief resilience officer for NASA and will lead the agency’s COVID-19 response efforts such as its Future of Work program.

Casey Swails will transition from her previous role as NASA’s senior advisor and chief of staff for the associate administrator to the new position of deputy associate administrator for business operations. Swails will also act as the principal advisor to Associate Administrator Bob Cabana. 

The agency has also tapped Tom Cremins to serve as Associate Administrator for space security interests. Cremins previously held the role of associate administrator for strategic engagement and assessments.

These shifts continue NASA’s recent reorganization efforts, following the split of the agency’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate into the two separate organizations of Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate and Space Operations Mission Directorate.