Sunday, November 02, 2014

Hello, I Must Be Going: CSA President Natynczyk Transferred to Veterans Affairs

          by Chuck Black

Canadian Space Agency (CSA) president Walter Natynczyk, has left the the CSA after barely more than a year on the job. As outlined in the October 29th, 2014 CBC News article, "Walt Natynczyk, head of the Canadian Space Agency, moves to veterans affairs," Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced last Wednesday that Natynczyk will become deputy minister (DM) for veterans affairs, effective as of Monday, November 3rd.

General Walt Natynczyk in March 2013, after CSA president Steve MacLean's resignation on February 1st, 2013 but before Natynczyk took over from acting CSA president Gilles Leclerc in August 2013. As outlined in the March 2013 Lavin blog post "Good Leadership Is All About Trust: Gen. Walter Natynczyk," the former chief of defence staff said "it's important to give your team the skills and tools they need to succeed in their present roles—but it's equally as important to prepare them for a time when you are no longer in charge." Photo c/o Lavin.

Of course, that doesn't mean that anything substantial in the CSA is going to change over the next little while. For the last five years the CSA has been effectively run by the Industry Minister, who remains the honorable James Moore, and that rudder will remain fixed for the foreseeable future no matter who the next CSA president might happen to be.

And the reason for this should be obvious to even the most casual observer. 

As outlined originally in the December 5th, 2012 post "What the Space Volume of the Aerospace Review Actually Says," the intent of the Federal government, in implementing the 2012 David Emerson led Aerospace Review was always to establish another level of government, a "Space Program Advisory Council" reporting to the Industry Minister and tasked with CSA oversight, plus narrow the CSA mandate to the point where it would no longer be a "policy-making body" or "directly involved in designing and manufacturing space assets purchased by the government." 

And they've been quite successful at this point, managing to curtail the relative autonomy the CSA enjoyed under early presidents like Larkin KerwinWilliam MacDonald (Mac) Evans and Marc Garneau with a far more structured environment where important announcements are almost always made by the Industry Minister and not the head of the CSA. 

At this point, it's likely that "the General," as he was known within the CSA, was always expected to be transferred to the Department of Veterans Affairs at some point as part of the lead up to the anticipated fall election, currently scheduled for October 2015.

The only real question was when the transfer would become official. 

It's also possible that the shooting in Ottawa last week, as outlined in articles like the November 2nd, 2014 CBC News article, "Ottawa shooting: Reconstructing the Centre Block shootout," served as an impetus to move the plan forward so that Natynczyk would be able to take a prominent role in the upcoming November 11th, 2014 Remembrance Day ceremonies.

Whatever the specifics, it's unlikely that any new CSA president will enjoy as high a profile as Natynczyk, who will almost immediately begin using that profile to assist with another, perhaps far more appropriate role, but one that has nothing to do with space. He will be replaced by Luc Brûlé, the agency's current vice-president, at least for the next little while.

Hello, he must be going. 

1 comment:

  1. So his tenure was roughly a year?

    Met him at the Canadian Space Summit last year. Seemed to talk a lot of fluff, very superficial charm with no substance. Didn't seem like he gave half an ounce of a fuck about space.


Support our Patreon Page