Published: 02nd February 2021
NASA names Indian American Bhavya Lal as acting chief of staff
Lal served as a member of the Biden Presidential Transition Agency Review Team for the agency and oversaw the agency's transition under the Joe Biden-led administration
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has named Bhavya Lal as acting chief of staff for the agency. As the senior White House appointee at NASA, Lal served as a member of the Biden Presidential Transition Agency Review Team for the agency and oversaw the agency's transition under the Joe Biden-led administration. "NASA has named appointees for senior agency positions. Bhavya Lal joins the agency as acting chief of staff, Phillip Thompson will serve as White House liaison, Alicia Brown will serve as associate administrator for the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs, and Marc Etkind will serve as associate administrator for the agency's Office of Communications. In addition, Jackie McGuinness will join the agency as press secretary and Reagan Hunter will serve as special assistant for the agency's Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs," NASA said in a statement.
Lal brings extensive experience in engineering and space technology, serving as a member of the research staff at the Institute for Defense Analyses Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) from 2005 to 2020. "There, she led the analysis of space technology, strategy, and policy for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and National Space Council, as well as federal space-oriented organizations, including NASA, the Department of Defense, and the intelligence community," the statement added.
Lal is an active member of the space technology and policy community, having chaired, co-chaired, or served on five high-impact National Academy of Science committees. She served two consecutive terms on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Federal Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing and was an External Council member of NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts Program and the Technology, Innovation and Engineering Advisory Committee of the NASA Advisory Council.
Before joining STPI, Lal was president of C-STPS LLC, a science and technology policy research and consulting firm. Prior to that, she was the director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Studies at Abt Associates, a global policy research consultancy based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Lal will also serve as the senior advisor for budget and finance at NASA.