Center for Environmental Policy and Administration

Leading Change at NASA: the Case of Dan Goldin

Author:W. Henry Lambright
Date: 2007
Publication:Space Policy

Daniel Goldin set the record for longevity as administrator of NASA, serving from 1992 to 2001. Active and controversial, he was unusually visible as a self-proclaimed ‘agent of change’. Coping with a turbulent political environment, Goldin directed NASA from the end of the Cold War to the early 21st century. He effected change in the multitude of programs under his aegis, especially the Space Station and robotic Mars program. He was hailed at one point as a miracle worker and poster boy of government reinvention for his ‘faster, better, cheaper’ strategy of ‘doing more with less’. But Goldin left the agency under fire for cost overruns and reforms that reached too far. Using a policy innovation process approach, this paper traces Goldin's eventful years at NASA, his policy ends and administrative and technological means. It analyzes the record of success and failure of one of the most, influential administrators in NASA history. That record provides useful lessons for how an administrator gains, uses, and loses power in the US space policy system.


W Henry Lambright
Center for Environmental Policy and Administration
The Maxwell School, Syracuse University
Revised 11/30/2010 21:40:59