Press Release

NASA Administrator Names Retired Marine General to Lead Johnson Space Center

By SpaceRef Editor
February 12, 2002
Filed under ,

NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe today named Jefferson D.
Howell, Jr., as the new Director for NASA’s Johnson Space
Center (JSC) in Houston, effective April 1.

Howell, a retired U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant General and
former commander of Marine Forces, Pacific, currently serves
as Senior Vice President and Program Manager for the Safety,
Reliability, and Quality Assurance contract at JSC. He is
employed by Science Application International Corporation
(SAIC).

“General Howell is a true patriot and leader with more than
three decades of executive management and financial
management experience,” said Administrator O’Keefe.
“Throughout his military and civilian careers, Jeff has been
a leader, an innovator and a team builder. He’s the right
person to lead the NASA center that’s the cornerstone of our
human spaceflight operations.”

Howell replaces Roy S. Estess, who was temporarily assigned
to JSC last February as Acting Director. Estess, a native of
Mississippi, will return to his duties as Director of NASA’s
John C. Stennis Space Center.

“Over the past year, Roy has done a terrific job leading the
dedicated people at Johnson,” Administrator O’Keefe added.
“He agreed to step in at a difficult and challenging time for
the agency. His outstanding stewardship and advice played a
vital role in today’s announcement, and I have expressed my
deep appreciation for his service to JSC and to NASA.”

Howell has been with SAIC since February 1999, when he first
served as Deputy Program Manager of the safety contract. He
was named Program Manager in August 1999. Howell manages more
than 525 people in support of a contract focused on safety
and mission assurance in support of the Space Shuttle and
International Space Station programs.

He retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1998 as Marine
Forces Pacific Commander, reporting to the four star
Commander in Chief, Pacific. Howell was responsible for the
operational readiness, training, equipping and welfare of
80,000 Marine personnel based throughout the area. In this
capacity, Howell was also charged with maintaining the
readiness of more than 600 aircraft and managing an annual
operational budget of more than one billion dollars.

“Howell’s military service is exemplary and he has a legacy
of organizational and financial expertise,” concluded
Administrator O’Keefe. “I am proud that he has accepted the
opportunity and responsibility to lead JSC.”

Assigned to naval flight training in 1964, Howell earned his
wings as a Naval Aviator in 1965. He flew more than 300
combat missions during Vietnam.

In 1995, after numerous commands, he was promoted to
Lieutenant General and assigned as the Command, Marine Forces
Pacific/Commanding General Fleet Marine Forces Pacific and
Commander Marine Corps Bases, Pacific. He was headquartered
at Camp H.M. Smith, Oahu Hawaii, and designated Commander of
U.S. Marine Forces Korea and Commander U.S. Marine Forces
Central Command.

During a distinguished military career, Howell was awarded
the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior
Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, a Bronze Star, and the
Air Medal with two individual and 25 strike flight awards,
and the Navy Commendation Meal. In 1980, he received the John
Paul Jones Award for Inspirational Leadership from the Navy
League of the United States.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a
master’s degree in Economics at the University of Texas.

SpaceRef staff editor.