New Roles, Combined Offices for NASA Administrator Leadership Team

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson announced new leadership roles and the merging of two offices into the Office of Technology, Policy, and Strategy (OTPS) in support of Biden-Harris Administration priorities and the focus on space strategy.

  • Bhavya Lal will serve as the associate administrator for OTPS
  • Melanie Saunders will serve as the agency’s new chief resilience officer
  • Casey Swails will serve as the deputy associate administrator for business operations
  • Tom Cremins will serve as the associate administrator for space security interests
  • Douglas Terrier, the agency’s current chief technologist, will serve in a new position as the associate director for vision and strategy at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston (in the interim, Lal will serve as acting chief technologist)

All appointments are effective immediately.

OTPS is being established to provide data- and evidence-driven technology, policy, and strategy advice to NASA leadership. The office is a merger of the Office of Strategic Engagements and Assessments and the Office of the Chief Technologist. OTPS will support NASA leadership in developing and guiding the agency’s activities across its six mission directorates. As the lead for the organization, Lal, who previously served as NASA’s acting chief of staff during the presidential transition and senior advisor for budget and finance, brings her extensive experience and background in space technology, exploration, science, and policy to the role. She will report to NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy.

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and unprecedented scope of work that Saunders has been leading, she will move into a new, dedicated role focused on the agency’s coronavirus response and implementation of requirements related to it. In addition, she will oversee and integrate NASA’s Future of Work program as it specifically ties to the pandemic, such as the agency’s return to more onsite work. Saunders also will be responsible for the continued development and implementation of NASA’s pilots, policies, and strategies, enabling a hybrid workforce and innovation in the workplace. Saunders will report to Melroy.

Swails, who most recently served as senior advisor and chief of staff to the associate administrator, as well as the agency’s acting deputy chief of staff during the presidential transition, will lead and facilitate the integration of mission support functions across the agency, build and advance NASA’s industry partnerships, and act as the principal advisor to NASA Associate Administrator Bob Cabana. Swails will report to Cabana.

In his new role, Cremins will report to the administrator and provide a broad security focus on NASA’s civil space efforts within the larger national and global environment. Cremins also will support enterprise protection and assessment efforts, representing NASA and working with our federal agency partners to secure and advance our national posture.

In his new role as the associate director for vision and strategy at Johnson, Terrier will be responsible for leading the strategy, creation, integration, and overall execution of Johnson’s ongoing transformation initiatives revolutionizing the center’s policies, plans, and processes around workforce, facilities, and products to advance human spaceflight. Terrier also will provide executive and functional leadership to expand the center’s collaboration across the agency, industry, academia, and international community, to ensure alignment with NASA’s strategic plan and missions.

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