U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has asked retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Scott Gration, one of his top foreign policy and military advisers during his campaign, to take the helm of NASA, according to a source informed of the selection.
An announcement is expected as soon as Wednesday. If that happens, he would be the first NASA administrator to be announced before the incoming president’s inauguration.
Gration, a decorated fighter pilot who held senior policy positions in the military prior to his retirement, is a virtual unknown to the space community, but has some experience with NASA. In 1982, as a captain and fighter pilot instructor recently returned from Kenya, Gration spent a year as a White House Fellow working for NASA’s deputy administrator at the time, Hans Mark.
Official U.S. Air Force Biography
(As of 2005)
Maj. Gen. Jonathan S. Gration is Director, Strategy, Policy and Assessments, U.S. European Command, Stuttgart-Vaihingen, Germany. As Director of Strategy, Plans and Policy, he is responsible for formulation and staff direction of the execution of basic military and political policy, as well as planning for command activities involving relations with other U.S. Unified Commands, allied military and international military organizations and subordinate commands. He also serves as Director of Capabilities and Assessments. In this capacity he is responsible for the development of force structure requirements; conducting studies, analyses and assessments; and for evaluating military forces, plans, programs and strategies.
The general was raised in Africa and entered the Air Force in 1974 through the Air Force ROTC program at Rutgers University. He has previously served as a White House Fellow, operations group commander and two-time wing commander. Prior to assuming his current position, the general served as Assistant Deputy Undersecretary of the Air Force for International Affairs, Office of the Under Secretary of the Air Force, Headquarters U.S. Air Force.
General Gration is a command pilot with more than 5,000 flight hours, including more than 2,000 hours as an instructor pilot. He has extensive combat experience in the Middle East and served as the Commander of Task Force West during Operation Iraqi Freedom. General Gration’s aerial combat experience includes 274 combat missions over Iraq, with 983 hours of combat time.
1974 Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J.
1988 Master of Arts degree in national security studies, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
1988 Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va.
1993 National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
1999 Executive Program for General Officers of the Russian Federation and the United States, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
2002 National Security Decision Making Seminar, the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.
1. September 1974 – October 1975, student, undergraduate pilot training, 14th Student Squadron, Columbus Air Force Base, Miss.
2. October 1975 – March 1976, student, pilot instructor training, 12th Student Squadron, Randolph AFB, Texas
3. March 1976 – July 1978, T-38 instructor pilot, 50th Flying Training Squadron, Columbus AFB, Miss.
4. July 1978 – November 1980, F-5 instructor pilot, 425th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron, Williams AFB, Ariz.
5. November 1980 – August 1982, F-5 instructor pilot and operations officer, Technical Assistance Field Team, Laikipia Air Base, Nanyuki, Kenya
6. September 1982 – August 1983, White House Fellow and special assistant to the NASA Deputy Administrator, Washington, D.C.
7. September 1983 – December 1983, F-16 replacement training, 63rd Tactical Fighter Training Squadron, MacDill AFB, Fla.
8. January 1984 – December 1985, F-16 instructor pilot and flight commander, 429th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Nellis AFB, Nev.
9. December 1985 – January 1988, international politico-military affairs officer, Office of Regional Plans and Policy, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
10. January 1988 – June 1988, student, Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va.
11. June 1988 – May 1990, Chief, Offensive Air Operations, Headquarters 6th Allied Tactical Air Force, NATO, Izmir, Turkey
12. June 1990 – August 1990, F-16 replacement training, 314th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron, Luke AFB, Ariz.
13. September 1990 – August 1991, F-16 instructor pilot and operations officer, 512th Fighter Squadron, Ramstein AB, Germany
14. August 1991 – June 1992, Chief of Safety, 86th Fighter Wing, Ramstein AB, Germany
15. July 1992 – June 1993, student, National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
16. June 1993 – July 1994, Deputy Director, Chief of Staff of the Air Force Operations Group, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
17. July 1994 – November 1994, executive officer to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
18. November 1994 – April 1995, U.S. Air Force planner for joint and National Security Council matters, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
19. April 1995 – June 1995, F-16 replacement training, 310th Fighter Squadron, Luke AFB, Ariz.
20. June 1995 – July 1996, Commander, 4404th Operations Group (Provisional), King Abdul Aziz AB, Saudi Arabia
21. August 1996 – June 1998, Commander, 39th Wing, and 39th Air and Space Expeditionary Wing, Incirlik AB, Turkey
22. June 1998 – January 2000, Commander, 3rd Wing, Elmendorf AFB, Alaska
23. January 2000 – December 2001, Deputy Director for Operations, the Joint Staff, Washington, D.C.
24. December 2001 – July 2003, Director of Regional Affairs, Office of the Deputy Undersecretary of the Air Force for International Affairs, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. (January 2003 – June 2003, Commander, Joint Task Force-West, Southwest Asia)
25. August 2003 – May 2004, Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for International Affairs, Office of the Undersecretary of the Air Force, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
26. June 2004 – present, Director, Strategy, Policy and Assessments, U.S. European Command, Stuttgart-Vaihingen, Germany
Rating: Command pilot
Flight hours: More than 5,000, including 1,065 hours of combat and combat support
Aircraft flown: T-38, F-5, F-16 and F-15
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster
Bronze Star Medal
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with silver oak leaf cluster
Air Medal with two silver oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal with silver and two bronze oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal with “V” device and two oak leaf clusters
Joint Service Achievement Medal
Air Force Achievement Medal
Combat Readiness Medal with oak leaf cluster
National Defense Service Medal with bronze star
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with bronze star
Southwest Asia Service Medal with bronze star
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Armed Forces Service Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal with three bronze stars
Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal
Air and Space Campaign Medal
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Government of Kuwait)
Medal of Independence, First Degree (Kingdom of Jordan)
1981 Ten Outstanding Young Men of America, U.S. Jaycees
Certified as fully qualified Foreign Area Officer, Middle East and Africa
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant Jan. 24, 1974
First Lieutenant July 24, 1976
Captain July 24, 1978
Major May 1, 1985
Lieutenant Colonel June 1, 1988
Colonel Jan. 1, 1995
Brigadier General Oct. 1, 1999
Major General April 1, 2003