Interesting news: NASA’s associate administrator for aeronautics Lisa Porter is leaving the research agency to become the first director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) – a DARPA for the spooks. It’s a great move for the striking Porter, who came to NASA from DARPA in 2005 to head the agency’s new aeronautics directorate. But what does it mean for NASA, and US aeronautics research?
NASA administrator Mike Griffin says he will “find a successor, but not a replacement” for Porter. I agree, but I don’t think a “replacement” is needed. She has stopped the rot in US aeronautics research, after its years of decline, and put in place a programme that will allow the US to hold up its head on the global aero R&D stage.
On a personal note, I found Porter challenging to interview (it was always by phone, not in in person, I should make clear). She was extremely focused on the process of revamping NASA’s aeronautics programme and on building it around fundamental research. As an old aero guy, I think she succeeded, as previous posts on this blog should illustrate.
So I wish Ms Porter well in her new job. If you want to know more about IARPA – or as much as they will say without having to shoot you – check out this story from Signal magazine.