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President-elect Biden names NASA ‘Agency Review Transition Team’

The Biden-Harris “Agency Transition Team” consists of five women and three men and includes two former NASA chief scientists and a former astronaut among its diverse members. It should also be noted that all the members of the team are serving on a volunteer basis.

The President-elect and the vice-president-elect don’t come into office blindfolded. The process during which the president-elect of the United States prepares to take over the administration of the federal government of the United States from the incumbent president is guided by the Presidential Transition Act of 1963.

Under the Presidential Transition Act, Biden, and Harris, according to federal law, are supposed to receive classified national security briefings once their nomination is formalized by their party. They are also entitled to presidential transition services and facilities provided by the General Services Administration (GSA), including office space, equipment, and the payment of certain related expenses.

The Presidential Transition Act requires presidential transitions to disclose the “most recent employment” and “sources of funding” for all agency review team members. The Transition Team has three types of agency review team members:
1. Volunteers: These Individuals volunteering for the Transition in their personal capacity. For these team members, their current or most recent employer is listed (for informational purposes only), and their source of funding is listed as “Volunteer.”
2. Full-Time Transition Employees: Individuals who are full-time paid Transition employees, funded by the Transition entity itself (PT Fund, Inc.). Their most recent employer prior to joining the Transition is listed (for informational purposes only), and their source of funding is listed as “Transition — PT Fund, Inc.”
3. Detailees: Individuals on detail who will be funded through an appropriation administered by the General Services Administration. For these team members, their current employer is listed, and their source of funding is listed as “Transition — Appropriation.”

NASA review team members
Ellen Stofan (team leader): Stofan is a planetary geologist who currently directs the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum, the first woman ever to do so. She served as NASA Chief Scientist from August 2013 to December 2016.

Dr. Ellen Stofan  Chief Scientist  National Aeronautics and Space Administration at National Air and...
Dr. Ellen Stofan, Chief Scientist, National Aeronautics and Space Administration at National Air and Space Museum Event – Close Encounters of the Planetary Minds
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (CC BY 2.0)


Waleed Abdalati: Abdalati heads the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, a joint effort of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Colorado, Boulder. He was NASA Chief Scientist from January 2011 to December 2012.
Dr. Waleed Abdalati speaking at the Juno Tweetup at the Kennedy Space Center in 2011.
Dr. Waleed Abdalati speaking at the Juno Tweetup at the Kennedy Space Center in 2011.
RadioFan


Jedidah Isler: Isler is an assistant professor of astrophysics at Dartmouth College who in 2014 became the first African-American woman ever to earn a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Yale University. Isler is”very interested in and active about creating more equitable STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math] spaces for scholars of color broadly, and particularly, for women of color,” according to her Dartmouth faculty page.
Jedidah Isler at the second White House Astronomy night with Mythbusters hosts Adam Savage and Jamie...
Jedidah Isler at the second White House Astronomy night with Mythbusters hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015.
NASA/Joel Kowsky


Bavya Lal: Lal is a scientist at the IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute, a federally funded organization that supports the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and other agencies.
Dr. Bhavya Lal led strategy  technology assessment  and policy studies and analyses at the IDA Scien...
Dr. Bhavya Lal led strategy, technology assessment, and policy studies and analyses at the IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the National Space Council, and Federal space-oriented organizations including NASA, the Department of Defense, and the Intelligence Community.
Institute for Defense Analyse


Pam Melroy: Melroy is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a former NASA astronaut who flew on three space shuttle missions. She was a pilot on the STS-92 and STS-112 flights in 2000 and 2002, respectively, and commanded the STS-120 mission in 2007. After leaving NASA in 2009, Melroy worked at the Federal Aviation Administration and then the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), where she served as deputy director of the Tactical Technology Office. She left DARPA in 2017.
Pamela Anne Melroy (born September 17  1961) is a retired United States Air Force officer and a form...
Pamela Anne Melroy (born September 17, 1961) is a retired United States Air Force officer and a former NASA astronaut. She served as pilot on Space Shuttle missions STS-92 and STS-112 and commanded mission STS-120 before leaving the agency in August 2009.
NASA


Dave Noble: Noble is the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan. He previously spent eight years in the Obama administration, serving as deputy director and acting director of the Presidential Personnel Office. He also worked as White House liaison and deputy chief of staff at NASA during this stretch.
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Executive Director of the ACLU of Michigan  Dave Noble
Executive Director of the ACLU of Michigan, Dave Noble
ACLU Michigan


Shannon Valley: Valley is a postdoctoral fellow in the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, where she studies our planet’s climate history. During the first five years of President Barack Obama’s administration (before she entered grad school), Valley worked at the White House and at NASA headquarters as a liaison between Congress and the space agency’s science programs.
Shannon Valley is a postdoctoral fellow in the Georgia Institute of Technology s School of Earth and...
Shannon Valley is a postdoctoral fellow in the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, where she studies our planet’s climate history.
Georgia Institute of Technology


David Weaver: Weaver is the director of communications for the Air Line Pilots Association. He served as associate administrator for NASA’s Office of Communications from 2010 to 2016, so he covers NASA’s altitude range well. (Reminder: The first “A” in NASA stands for “Aeronautics.”) Just before joining NASA.
David Weaver is the Director of Communications for the Air Line Pilots Association.
David Weaver is the Director of Communications for the Air Line Pilots Association.
David Weaver


The team will have its work cut out it for it, especially given current NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine’s recent announcement that he will leave NASA once Biden replaces Trump. But it looks like Biden has put together a great transition team.
Written By

Karen Graham is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for environmental news. Karen's view of what is happening in our world is colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in man's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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