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Name: Bolden, Charlie
Current Position: Previous Administrator

President Obama chose a former astronaut and Marine Corps aviator with strong ties to the defense industry to lead NASA in its transition from the Space Shuttle era to the next phase of space exploration. Born in the Jim Crow South, retired Marine Corps Major General Charles F. Bolden, Jr., faced questions about his ties to the aerospace and defense industries, but was confirmed as NASA’s first permanent African American Administrator on July 15, 2009. 

Born August 19, 1946, in Columbia, South Carolina, Bolden graduated in 1964 from C. A. Johnson High School in Columbia, where his father was the head football coach. He earned a BS in Electrical Science from the U. S. Naval Academy in 1968, and an MS in Systems Management from the University of Southern California in 1977. 
Upon graduation from the Naval Academy, Bolden accepted a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. After two years of flight training, he was designated a naval aviator in May 1970. He flew more than 100 sorties into North and South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, in the A-6A Intruder between June 1972 and June 1973. Upon returning to the United States, Bolden began a two-year tour as a Marine Corps selection officer and recruiting officer in Los Angeles, followed by three years at the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, California. In June 1979, he graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Maryland, and subsequently served as an ordnance test pilot and flew numerous test projects in the A-6E, EA-6B, and A-7C/E airplanes. As a pilot, he has logged more than 6,000 hours flying time. 
Bolden was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in 1980, and became an astronaut in August 1981. A veteran of four space flights, he has logged more than 680 hours in space, including 444 orbits of the earth. Bolden served as pilot on STS-61C (Space Shuttle Columbia, January 12–18, 1986) and STS-31 (Space Shuttle Discovery, April 24–29, 1990), and was the mission commander on STS-45 (Space Shuttle Atlantis, March 24, 1992 – April 2, 1992), and STS-60 (Space Shuttle Discovery, February 3–11, 1994). During his first Discovery mission, Bolden and his colleagues successfully deployed the Hubble Space Telescope while orbiting the earth from a record setting altitude of 400 miles. The second Discovery mission was the historic first joint U.S./Russian Space Shuttle mission with a Russian Cosmonaut as a crew member. Bolden also held two administrative posts at NASA during these years. Following the Challenger accident in 1986, he was named the chief of the safety division at the Johnson Space Center, overseeing safety initiatives in the return-to-flight effort. From April 1992 to June 1993, Bolden served as Assistant Deputy Administrator for NASA.
Bolden left NASA in 1994 to return to the Marine Corps as the Deputy Commandant of Midshipmen at the Naval Academy. In July 1997, he was assigned as the Deputy Commanding General of Marine Forces in the Pacific. From February to June 1998, he served as Commanding General in support of Operation Desert Thunder in Kuwait. In July 1998 he was promoted to his final rank of Major General and assumed his duties as the Deputy Commander, U.S. Forces, Japan. Bolden then served as the Commanding General, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, from August 2000 until August 2002. In February 2002, President Bush tried to appoint Bolden as NASA Deputy Administrator, but his appointment was shot down because federal law prevents an active duty military officer being appointed to the position. Although Bolden was apparently willing to resign his commission, Bush withdrew the nomination in jess than six weeks later. Bolden retired from the Marine Corps in January 2003. 
Following retirement, Bolden became active in the corporate sector. Since 2004, he has been the owner and CEO of JackandPanther LLC, a privately-held military and aerospace consulting firm in Houston, Texas. He also serves on the corporate boards of Marathon Oil (2003-2009), helicopter services provider Bristow Group, Inc., and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina. He was Senior VP of TechTrans International, which provides Russian translation, interpretation, language training and logistics services to NASA, from 2003 to 2005; President and Chief Operating Officer of American PureTex Water Corporation, a lobbyist for Alliant Techsystems in 2005; and served on the corporate board of GenCorp, an aerospace and defense contractor.  He also serves on the NASA Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, the board of the Military Child Education Coalition, a private nonprofit focused on supporting educational opportunities for the children of military families, and the Board of Trustees of the University of Southern California
Because several of the companies with which he has been affiliated, including Alliant Techsystems, Bristow Group, TechTrans and GenCorp, have large contracts with NASA, Bolden is expected to face questioning regarding potential conflicts of interest arising from those lucrative relationships. Nevertheless, he is expected to win confirmation with ease. He will be granted a limited waiver to the administration’s ethics policy that states appointees cannot take part in matters “directly and substantially related” to their former employers for two years, and will have to recuse himself from matters directly related to his former employers. 
Bolden and his wife, Alexis (Jackie), née Walker, of Columbia, South Carolina, have two children and three grandchildren. Bolden was part of Obama for America. According to the website, Bolden has made only two political campaign contributions, $1,000 to Democrat Jim Webb’s Senate campaign in 2006, and $250 to Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign in 2008. 
Bolden Is Obama Pick to Run NASA (by Andy Pasztor and T.W. Farnam, Wall Street Journal)
Retired General Picked to Lead NASA (by Kenneth Chang, New York Times)
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