Christopher Hart’s Term as NTSB Chairman Ends
Hart’s Safety Expertise is Still Needed
Christopher A. Hart’s term as Chairman of the NTSB ended on March 16, 2017. The good news is that this thoughtful safety advocate and expert (aeronautical engineer degrees, pilot, lawyer, former FAA innovator [the paternity of the FAA current data regime could be traced to him]) will stay on as a Member until December 31, 2017.
Over the past few years, his leadership has resulted in some very positive actions and a few with which we differed (objectivity compulsion). The Chair and all of the Members face a very difficult task. It is chartered as an independent body to investigate and provide oversight of all modes of transportation. The content of its investigations tends to attract an inordinate amount of press attention. The temptation to exploit that spotlight is strong, but by so doing the Board’s attention to its extensive agenda may not be optimized.
In the past, it has appeared that the Board’s agenda reflected a goal of high visibility and perhaps its credibility suffered. The Hart Board has established a strong record of investigative integrity and highlighting areas for which the safety regulators’ greater focus should be devoted.
Mr. Hart has been with the Board for almost 10 years over two separate terms; so, he may well want 2018 to be a year of reentry into the private sector. However, if Mr. Hart is willing, the Trump Administration would be well advised to nominate Mr. Hart for the Board again or any of the safety positions within DoT and the modal administrations. It would show bipartisanship and his track record demonstrates an apolitical approach (Hart and Foxx very publicly on the right organization to oversee WMATA).
In any event, thanks for your years of sound leadership of the Board.