21 Oct 2009
In what was a highly anticipated keynote address from the new NRO Director, Bruce Carlson, delivered a candid presentation on the challenges and future of the NRO. We will be posting the actual video of this presentation shortly, but wanted to provide a quick primer on his top priorities for the agency. From launching equipment under construction in a timely manner to enhancing the business of launch, it is a wide range of priorities aimed at turning things around.
Carlson’s main priority – in is words, his “#1 priority” – is to move efficiently in launching equipment under construction within the next 15-18 months. He was very passionate about moving forward with this effort and even said to “don’t screw up and don’t get in the way.” Very strong words indeed, and certainly a call to arms to bring this effort forward.
His second priority is to enhance the business of launch, which he concluded was not good overall. He compared this challenge to going to a Hertz rental car location and having to wait in an endless line because there are no cars available. Waiting for a rocket is unacceptable in his eyes.
Carlson’s third priority is to make sure that the S&T budget does not get slashed. In the past five years, the budget had been cut by 50 percent. His exact words were “shame on us and shame on this nation.”
And, finally his fourth priority is to make sure that the NRO staff is a top priority. It is one of the things that keep him up at night because personnel overturn can cause further delays on projects. The NRO needs to retain talent for the long term because most projects take 6-10 years to complete and losing multiple project managers during the process is ineffective.
Again, we will be posting the video of this presentation shortly and we recommend everyone check it out. And, we welcome all comments and feedback on Carlson’s NRO priorities!