Image left: Associate Administrator for International and Interagency Relations Michael F. O'Brien. Photo credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls.
As Associate Administrator for International and Interagency Relations, O'Brien is responsible for NASA's interaction with Executive Branch offices and agencies; international relations for each NASA Mission Directorate; administration of export control and international technology transfer programs; and, NASA advisory councils and commissions.
O'Brien previously served as Deputy Assistant Administrator for External Relations (Space Flight). He was responsible for the international aspects of NASA's human space flight activities. He led the team that negotiated the agreements for the International Space Station with the space agencies of Europe, Japan, Canada, and Russia. O'Brien also was responsible for agreements related to Space Shuttle flights for international astronauts and NASA relations with other space agencies, such as those of Israel, China and India.
O'Brien came to NASA from the United States Navy. He served as a naval aviator in command positions and in Washington on the staffs of the Chief of Naval Operations and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As an advisor to the Chairman concerning political-military policy in the Middle East, Africa, and Southwest Asia, he traveled widely in the Persian Gulf area for bilateral discussions with the defense forces of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and other nations in the region.
He also served as the Deputy Director for Research at the Institute for National Strategic Studies in Washington. O'Brien was Commanding Officer of U.S. Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico where he designed and executed the $350 million repair and reconstruction program after the station was nearly destroyed by Hurricane Hugo. As a Navy combat pilot, he commanded a Navy carrier-based attack squadron, and has made over 900 aircraft carrier landings in high performance jet aircraft. Mr. O'Brien has also served as a physicist for the Department of the Navy.
O'Brien graduated with high distinction from the University of Virginia. He holds a Master of Science in Physics from Cornell University and a Master of Science in Aeronautical Systems from the University of West Florida. As an Olmsted Scholar, he performed research in International Relations and Strategic Studies at the Graduate Institute of International Relations in Geneva, Switzerland. O'Brien is also a graduate of the French Ecole Militaire in Paris, France.
O'Brien's awards include the Presidential Rank of Meritorious Executive, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, two Legions of Merit and two Air Medals. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
O'Brien and his wife Patricia have four children: Kate, a graduate of the University of Virginia; Karen, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame; Beth, a graduate of Cornell University; and Timothy, a high school graduate.