Nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate, Sean O’Keefe was appointed by the President as the 10th Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration on December 21, 2001, his fourth Presidential appointment. As Administrator, O’Keefe led the NASA team and managed its resources as NASA sought to advance exploration and discovery in aeronautics and space technologies.
O’Keefe joined the Bush Administration on inauguration day and first served as the Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget until December 2001, overseeing the preparation, management, and administration of the Federal budget and government wide-management initiatives across the Executive Branch.
Prior to joining the Bush Administration, O’Keefe was the Louis A. Bantle Professor of Business and Government Policy, an endowed chair at the Syracuse University Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. He also served as the Director of National Security Studies, a partnership of Syracuse University and Johns Hopkins University, for delivery of executive education programs for senior military and civilian officials. Appointed to these positions in 1996, he was previously Professor of Business Administration and Assistant to the Senior Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School at the Pennsylvania State University.
Appointed as the Secretary of the Navy in July 1992 by President George Bush, O’Keefe previously served as Comptroller and Chief Financial Officer of the Department of Defense since 1989. Before joining then Defense Secretary Dick Cheney’s Pentagon management team in these capacities, he served on the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations staff for eight years, and was Staff Director of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. His public service began in 1978 upon selection as a Presidential Management Intern.
Sean O’Keefe is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, a member of the Committee on Climate Change Science and Technology, and a Fellow of the International Academy of Astronautics. During his academic postings, he was a Visiting Scholar at the Wolfson College of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, a member of the Naval Postgraduate School’s civil-military relations seminar team, and conducted seminars for the Strategic Studies Group at Oxford University. He served on the national security panel to devise the 1988 Republican platform and was a member of the 1985 Kennedy School of Government program for national security executives at Harvard University.
In 1993, President Bush and Secretary Cheney presented him the Distinguished Public Service Award. He was the 1999 faculty recipient of the Syracuse University Chancellor’s Award for Public Service; recipient of the Department of the Navy’s Public Service Award in December 2000; and has been awarded honorary doctorate degrees from several prestigious educational institutions. In March 2003 and 2004, he was recognized and honored by the Irish American Magazine as one of the Top 100 Irish Americans.
He is the author of several journal articles, contributing author of Keeping the Edge: Managing Defense for the Future released in October 2000, and in 1998, co-authored The Defense Industry in the Post-Cold War Era: Corporate Strategies and Public Policy Perspectives.
Sean O’Keefe earned his Bachelor of Arts in 1977 from Loyola University in New Orleans, Louisiana, and his Master of Public Administration degree in 1978 from The Maxwell School. His wife Laura and children Lindsey, Jonathan and Kevin, reside in northern Virginia.