Status Report

NASA Internal Memo From Al Diaz: My Future

By SpaceRef Editor
June 13, 2005
Filed under , ,
NASA Internal Memo From Al Diaz: My Future

From: Diaz, A V. (HQ-DA000)
Sent: Monday, June 13, 2005 8:38 AM
Subject: FW: My Future

NASA Leaders,


I put this note out to “All Hands” in SMD this morning. While I have not yet formulated a note to all of you that would be more appropriate, I didn’t want you to be surprised. I do plan to send you all a note later and I will keep you informed as my plans become more specific.



Undoubtedly, many of you read an article in Saturday’s Washington Post about upcoming leadership changes in NASA. For my part, I read it late on Saturday night on my return from two weeks of vacation. I was surprised to see the announcement of my pending departure and dismayed at the context surrounding that event. The purpose of this note is twofold. The first is to confirm that I will, in fact be retiring in the next several months and as a consequence do expect to be replaced in my current position. The exact timeline is not clear and I will inform you as soon as I know for sure. I regret the fact that you had to become aware of my plans by my reacting to public speculation. I would have much preferred sharing this news with you personally. But the fact is that once the Post story came out, I felt that you should not have to speculate further.

My second purpose is to set the record straight as to the circumstances of my departure. My plan to retire is not a recent one. In fact it dates back to my final months at Goddard when I anticipated retiring as much as one year ago. When I accepted the position of Associate Administrator for Science, I did it with the expectation that this would be a transition for me into government retirement. With the departure of Administrator O’Keefe, I decided to retire as soon as a new Administrator was named and a transition plan was established for my replacement. In so doing, I hoped to be able to pursue other opportunities outside the government but also to enable the new Administrator to put his own team in place. I communicated that fact to the new leadership team after the confirmation of Administrator Mike Griffin. So, my departure is one that is completely consistent with my own plan. In the meantime, I have been very encouraged with the changes that Mike has made. As many of you know, when I was a Center Director, I was an advocate for a strong role for the centers in planning and executing the NASA mission and for having the Center Directors reporting to the Administrator. I have always felt that our centers are vital to the realization of NASA’s Vision and Mission. Mike has taken the time to visit the centers and emphasized the important role of the centers as recently as last week in his communication to all employees. He has taken actions to assure strong center involvement in missions and he has already announced his plans for having the Center Directors report to the Administrator. In addition, Mike has confirmed his strong support for the Science program and continues to be one of our strongest advocates. So, all in all, I am very hopeful for the future of the Agency in general and the Science mission in particular. I fully support the actions taken to date by Mike Griffin.

For my part, after forty years with NASA, having been involved in the leadership of several of this country’s greatest adventures, I look forward to the opportunity to work outside the government in the future. Over the course of the next few weeks and months, I will continue considering what those opportunities might be but I also expect to help facilitate an orderly transition of leadership in SMD. When I came back to HQ ten short months ago, after almost a decade at Goddard, I did it with some trepidation. Things have changed a lot here. But the thing that hasn’t changed is the dedication and energy of the talented people that work here. There is a clear sense of purpose here and a recognition of the importance of the role that each of you plays. You have made the past ten months exciting and fun. I thank you for that and look forward to continuing to work with you in the future.


SpaceRef staff editor.