NTSB Acting Chairman Announces Resignation
After leading the National Transportation Safety Board for four and a half years, Mark V. Rosenker has announced that he will resign his position as acting Chairman and Member. He submitted his letter of resignation to President Obama on July 21.
Rosenker said he will delay his departure until a new chairman and an additional board member are confirmed to ensure a quorum remains at the board.
In his letter to the President, Rosenker said that the opportunity to serve in and lead the NTSB "has been the highlight of my entire 40-year professional life. It is an agency that truly makes a positive difference every day, saving lives by preventing accidents, not only in our great Nation, but around the world."
Rosenker became a member and the vice chairman of NTSB in March 2003 and became acting chairman two years later. He was sworn in as the 11th chairman of NTSB in August 2006, and was re-nominated by President Bush for a second term as chairman in October 2007.
Before joining the Board, Rosenker was deputy assistant to the President and director of the White House Military Office under President George W. Bush. In that capacity, he was traveling with President Bush onboard Air Force One during the events of September 11, 2001. He also held several other federal government and private sector positions during a 40-year career, including 23 years as vice president of public affairs for the Electronic Industries Alliance.
During his chairmanship of the board, three significant items were removed from the NTSB's Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements. The board removed Airliner Fuel Tank Flammability when the Federal Aviation Administration announced a new requirement for inerting fuel systems in newly manufactured airliners. With congressional passage of the Rail Safety Act of 2008, two rail items were removed from the list: Positive Train Control, designed to prevent collisions if engineers fail to operate their trains in accordance with signal indications; and Rail Fatigue, whereby hours of service rules will be revised to set work hour limits based on fatigue research, circadian rhythms, and sleep and rest requirements.
Under his leadership, NTSB added important issues to the Most Wanted list to reflect new safety priorities, including Emergency Medical Helicopter Safety, Cell Phone Use by Bus Drivers, Highway Vehicle Anti-collision Technology, On-board Highway Vehicle Recorders, and School Bus Passenger Safety.
During his tenure at the Board, the NTSB was presented with new investigative challenges. Its investigation into the Minneapolis bridge collapse resulted in a finding that the bridge's failure originated in its inadequate design four decades earlier, with some of the gusset plates being designed with less strength than thought.
It was an NTSB investigation into the collapse of a ceiling in Boston's "Big Dig" project that led to a new appreciation for a national tunnel inspection program. Also, the board held a public forum to bring to the aviation community a broad understanding of the growing Unmanned Aircraft Systems industry, and its more than 3-year investigation into the crash of American Airlines flight 587 in New York provided a new understanding of the consequences of excessive rudder manipulations in transport category airplanes.
Rosenker intends to pursue opportunities in the private sector.
This is the second recently sent resignation letter as NTSB Member Kathryn (Kitty) O'Leary Higgins on July 20 submitted to President Obama her resignation from the Board, effective August 3. Higgins also said she is leaving the board to pursue opportunities in the private sector.