The position of NASA Deputy Administrator has been vacant since Lori Garver left the agency in early September to become general manager of the Air Line Pilots Association. There has, since then, been occasional speculation about who might be picked to take the job, with some wondering if the position—which, like the administrator, requires a presidential nomination and Senate confirmation—might simply be left open through the end of the administration.
On Thursday, however, NASA administrator Charles Bolden said there is an active search underway to pick a new deputy administrator, although the ultimate decision is out of his hands. “The search is on,” he said during a question-and-answer session with attendees of a “NASA Social” event at the Kennedy Space Center prior to last night’s launch of the TDRS-L communications satellite there. “I don’t pick the deputy administrator. Like me, the deputy administrator is a presidential appointee. We’ve been through several candidates and everything, and my hope is that we’re narrowing in on a final candidate.”
Bolden didn’t disclose who the candidates for the position are, or when he expected the administration to formally nominate a deputy administrator. “I will say there are some very, very promising prospects out there, so I’m excited to get a deputy whenever they can get around to it,” he said.