Portrait photo of smiling man wearing glasses and a suit

Dr. Jens Feeley

Chief of Policy Branch

Dr. Jens Feeley serves as the Chief of the Policy Branch in the Science Mission Directorate (SMD) at NASA, a position he has held since May 2019. He is responsible for managing SMD’s small policy team and maintaining SMD’s working relationship with the Office of Management & Budget (OMB), the Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP), and the National Space Council (NSpC) staff. He is a public policy expert with experience in a broad range of pursuits.

He recently served for 5 months as the acting Deputy Director for the Earth Science Division, and for 3 months as the acting Assistant Associate Administrator for Management, filling in during a period of transition in leadership.

Dr. Feeley served from November 2012-May 2019 as the Deputy Director for the Strategic Integration and Management Division. Dr. Feeley was previously a Senior Policy Analyst supporting the Planetary Science Division, managing SMD’s advisory committees, and SMD’s history program.

Dr. Feeley was SMD’s Acting Chief of Staff from May 2007 to February 2008 and SMD’s Executive Officer from February 2008 to August 2009. His responsibilities were very broad, including overseeing action items, civil servant positions, floor plans, and interfaces with OMB, OSTP, Congress and senior NASA staff.

From May 2004 until May 2007, Dr. Feeley was a Program Planning Specialist in SMD. He reviewed new and proposed legislative initiatives to analyze their potential impact on NASA operations, and advised SMD management on legislative and government relations activities affecting NASA and SMD. He conducted special studies, focusing on historical and legislative analysis. He also provided support for international negotiations and led quarterly reviews of all pending and in-force international agreements.

Dr. Feeley was at home in the relaxed atmosphere of the Pacific Northwest, where he lived for 7 years before returning to Washington, DC, in 2004. He worked as a Research Manager and Data Archivist at the University of Washington’s Center for American Politics & Public Policy in Seattle, WA. Dr. Feeley led several research teams there analyzing US public policy, congressional processes, inter-governmental competition, public opinion, and presidential politics. He also coordinated a massive, cross-university program to create a working data set of all 379,000 public bills introduced in Congress from 1947-2002. Dr. Feeley also served as the Principal Investigator on a grant from the Dirksen Congressional Center, focused on legislative policy and processes.

Dr. Feeley previously worked at NASA Headquarters from 1987-1997. He held a number of policy positions in the Office of Space Station, Office of Space Science & Applications, and Office of Space Science (OSS). He also was detailed to the House Government Operations Committee to assist with science and technology-related issues. Dr. Feeley has worked as an intern in the Pentagon’s Office of International Security Affairs, as a high school geography teacher and served as a Presidential Management Fellow (class of 1987). He has received numerous merit awards, including the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, and numerous NASA Performance and Group Achievement Awards.

Dr. Feeley's educational experience includes a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Washington, a M.A. in Government & International Studies from the University of Notre Dame, and a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University. His publications span a broad range of topics, including space policy, earthquake policy, the history of science policy, and science communications. He is also the author of a congressional study on Foreign-Trade Zones. His dissertation research explored partisan politics in the modern Congress and documented the limitations on partisan ambition that result from the governing responsibilities of the majority.

Dr. Feeley currently lives in Arlington, VA, with his lovely wife, Karen Adler Feeley. He is an avid photographer, and he also enjoys traveling, hiking, biking, snorkeling, and hanging out at the beach.