REACHING FOR THE STARS
Cape Canaveral Visitors Center, FL
Thank you for that introduction and thank you to all of you who have gathered here today.
Before I tell you about the fine work of the Joint Operations and Support Contract Source Evaluation Board, which will be receiving the Vice President's Hammer Award today, I'd like acknowledge several people on behalf of the Vice President.
It is an honor to have Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin with us. We all traveled with you to the Sea of Tranquillity, and lived our dreams through your flight.
I'd also like to acknowledge General Meyers and NASA Administrator Dan Goldin. No one in all of government has done more to demonstrate what can be done to reinvent government with a clear mission and a deep dedication to its accomplishment than Dan Goldin. He knows that in order to keep our space programs strong we must ensure that the American taxpayer is getting the most for their investment. And you and all of the NASA team and everyone involved in the air forces reinvention efforts as well have made it happen.
Thirty years ago today, the Apollo 11 launched from this location on its voyage to the moon. Americans at that time were united in a common vision and purpose. In some ways this was a demonstration of America at its best-a time in history when Americans believed in government's ability to achieve something so outstanding as landing on the moon. In a sense-reinventing government is much like that Apollo mission-it requires the coming together of the most talented Americans and government employees to overcome tremendous obstacles to reach a lofty goal. It requires a common vision, a belief in the mission and the strength and commitment to carry it out. Thirty years ago, NASA was demonstrating the qualities of innovation and commitment that made your great achievement possible and you are continuing to demonstrate these qualities of excellence today.
You have done an amazing thing--Your creation of a NASA - Air Force team to share procurement contract and support services that streamlines services will eliminate more than a half billion dollars in unnecessary spending over the next 10 years.
This saving will allow the Air Force and NASA to better focus on their core missions of research and launch operations. This innovative teamwork is what Vice President Gore was looking for when he created the Hammer Award. And it is what Reinventing Government is all about. Creating a Government that Works Better, Costs Less and Gets Results Americans Care About.
And today we look toward a vision of future success-- we must as a nation lead the world into the era of space commerce. Not that long ago the United States had almost 80 percent of the space launch business. Today the U, S. share has dropped to about 40 percent. As more countries gain the ability to launch rockets into space, the market will become more competitive. If we are to grow our market share, we must develop economical launch systems.
That is why it is so important that we find ever more efficient ways to do business, such as the Joint Base Operations team has done. By combining support and acquisition services, you have created a far more efficient and cost effective system.
Those savings can be used for capital projects to attract more commercial space projects and ensure that Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Station remains the world's premier gateway to space.
America must maintain its position in the commercial, scientific and military use of space - and this Hammer Award recognizes a team, which is making that happen. The idea for integrating the space center operations here came from KSC Director Roy Bridges and Brigadier General F. Randall (Randy) Starbuck, Comander of the 45th Space Wing. Through their leadership we are able to celebrate the accomplishments of the entire team here today. I'd like the two team leaders to come on stage now to receive the hammer award on behalf of the whole team. Chris Fairey and Ed Gormel, co-chairs of the Source Evaluation Board, please come on up here.
We are by nature restless explorers, wanders and seekers of an ever more distant horizon, whether it is for a better life or more understanding of our world. We must stretch toward the unknown, for a civilization that no longer dreams and searches for deeper truths is a civilization in decline. I believe America has just begun reaching for the stars, and I thank all of you for taking us there.