As deputy administrator, Garver is NASA's second in command. She is responsible to the administrator for providing overall leadership, planning, and policy direction for the agency. Garver represents NASA to the Executive Office of the President, Congress, heads of government agencies, international organizations, and external organizations and communities. She also oversees the work of NASA’s functional offices, including the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Office of General Counsel and Office of Strategic Communications.
Garver's confirmation as deputy administrator marks the second time she has worked for NASA. Her first stint at the agency was from 1996 to 2001. Initially, she served as a special assistant to the NASA administrator and senior policy analyst for the Office of Policy and Plans, before becoming the associate administrator for the Office of Policy and Plans. Reporting to the NASA administrator, she oversaw the analysis, development and integration of policies and long-range plans, the NASA Strategic Management System, and the NASA Advisory Council.
A native of Michigan, Garver was born May 22, 1961. She graduated from Haslett High School in Haslett, Michigan, in 1979 and four years later, in 1983, she earned a bachelor's degree in political science and economics from Colorado College. Her focus turned to space when she accepted a job working for Sen. John Glenn from 1983 to 1984. She since has served in a variety of senior roles in the nonprofit, government and commercial sectors.
Garver worked at the newly formed National Space Society from 1984 to 1996, becoming its second executive director in 1987. She served as the society's primary spokesperson, making frequent appearances on national television and regularly testifying on Capitol Hill. During that time, she also earned a master's degree in science, technology and public policy from George Washington University in 1989.
After working at NASA from 1996 to 2001, Garver was employed as the vice president of DFI Corporate Services from 2001 to 2003. From January 2001 until her nomination as NASA's deputy administrator, she was a full-time consultant as the president of Capital Space, LLC, and senior advisor for space at the Avascent Group. In these roles, she provided strategic planning, technology feasibility research and business development assistance, as well as merger, acquisition and strategic alliance support, to financial institutions and Fortune 500 companies.
Garver was the lead civil space policy advisor for the 2008 Obama presidential campaign and helped guide the agency review team for NASA during the post-election transition. Previously, she served as the lead space policy advisor for the Hillary Clinton and John Kerry campaigns for president and represented them at various events and conferences. Garver has held numerous advocacy roles for space exploration as a member of the NASA Advisory Council, a guest lecturer at the International Space University, president and board member of Women in Aerospace, and president of the American Astronautical Society. She lives in Virginia with her husband, David Brandt, and their sons Wesley and Mitchell.