James Frederick “Jim” Bridenstine was nominated by President Donald Trump, confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and sworn in as NASA’s 13th administrator on April 23, 2018.
Bridenstine was elected in 2012 to represent Oklahoma’s First Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served on the Armed Services Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee.
Bridenstine’s career in federal service began in the U.S. Navy, flying the E-2C Hawkeye off the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier. It was there that he flew combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and accrued most of his 1,900 flight hours and 333 carrier-arrested landings. He later moved to the F-18 Hornet and flew at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, the parent command to TOPGUN.
After transitioning from active duty to the U.S. Navy Reserve, Bridenstine returned to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to be the Executive Director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium.
Bridenstine was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander in 2012 while flying missions in Central and South America in support of America’s war on drugs. Most recently, he transitioned to the 137th Special Operations Wing of the Oklahoma Air National Guard.
Bridenstine completed a triple major at Rice University, and earned his MBA at Cornell University. He has three children with his wife, Michelle.
Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls
Moderator: Michael H. Maloney
CEO, American Institute of Physics
Michael H. Moloney is the ninth CEO of the American Institute of Physics where he leads the federation’s programs serving the physical sciences community, including AIP’s ten Member Societies. Previously he was the Director for Space and Aeronautics at the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine—where in a 16-year career he worked on about 100 reports on physics, space sciences, materials science, aeronautics and many more topics. Moloney also spent 7 years as a foreign service officer for the Government of Ireland. He earned his PhD in physics from Trinity College Dublin.