29 – America is lacking in human spacefaring leaders


Nation’s prosper by the foresight, wisdom, and tenacity of their leaders.


Foresight provides recognition of coming challenges and needs that a nation must meet and that will only be achieved through strong leadership.


Wisdom is the capacity to visualize and understand the correct path of actions going forward.


Tenacity is the strength of spirit to pursue relentlessly that which wisdom and foresight have identified as needed.


A leader is the person with the power to act with tenacity to do what is needed and wise.


Even in a land of substantial personal opportunity, such as America, there are some things of national importance that the national government must undertake. If these actions of national importance are not being addressed then such is a clear indication of a lack of leaders—not a lack of leadership—but a lack of people who actually lead.


On July 21, 2011, the Space Shuttle orbiter Atlantis completed the last Space Shuttle System mission. The national infrastructure for human space access ended. For the first time in American history, as I understand, an important national infrastructure capability was ended without a new, better capability coming into operation.


Take any of the important government-enabled infrastructure on which you depend and imagine it being simply ended. The library or the hospital is simply closed because the building was old and became a safety hazard. The bridge is closed because it became unsafe and no one apparently noticed and bothered to plan and build a replacement. The pumps on the water system fail and the system stops because no one maintained the pumps. The public would be outraged.


Such rarely happens in America because, first, we are a wealthy society and can afford to build and operate our needed public infrastructure, and, second, public outrage quickly brands the responsible people as incompetent, forcing them out due to a lack of confidence in their foresight and wisdom and making it probably impossible for them to again gain comparable employment and responsibility. In short, if people self-nominate themselves as leaders or accept positions as leaders, then we expect them to be leaders—to have good foresight, sound wisdom, and tenacity. Once in a leadership position, being a leader is not something to turn on and off as one may wish as a matter of convenience.


That America does not now have a better operational human space access capability replacing the Space Shuttle is a demonstration of the lack of leaders in Congress, government, industry, and aerospace professional societies. We certainly have lots of folks bearing titles implying they are leaders, but actual leaders in maintaining and advancing America’s vital 21st century human spacefaring enterprise do not now exist. The corrective action is to express outrage and find new leaders.


After the outbreak of war in Europe in Sept. 1939, Winston Churchill, an outspoken critic of the then Prime Minister, was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty and returned to being a member of the war cabinet as he had during World War I. On hearing of the appointment, the message sent by the Board of Admiralty to the British Royal Navy was short, simple, and said all that needed to be said. “Winston is back.” Nations find leaders to lead them forward to success or they fail.

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