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 today.
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 the NTSB in March 2003 and became Acting Chairman two years later. He was sworn in as the 11th Chairman of the Safety Board in August 2006, and was renominated 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, Public Affairs for the Electronic Industries Alliance.
During his Chairmanship of the Board, the agency marked a number of major transportation safety achievements. 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, the Safety Board 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.
Chairman Rosenker also improved the Safety Board's financial posture. Among fiscal improvements, he ensured that the NTSB Training Center - which was renamed from the previous NTSB Academy to better reflect the internal training mission of the facility - reduce the operational cost burden to the taxpayer through course fees, short-term rentals and long- term subleases.
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 a Safety Board 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.
He has been the Board Member on scene for the Safety Board's investigations on many occasions, including the October 2005 capsizing of the passenger vessel Ethan Allen in Lake George, New York that claimed 20 lives; the December 2005 crash of a seaplane in Miami that killed all 20 persons aboard; the August 2007 collapse of an Interstate highway bridge in Minneapolis that killed 13 motorists who were crossing the bridge at the time of the collapse; the June 2008 midair collision of two emergency medical helicopters in Flagstaff, Arizona; and the March 2009 crash of a single- engine plane in Butte, Montana, that killed all 14 persons aboard.
In March 2007, Rosenker chaired the NTSB's public forum promoting runway safety, held on the 30th anniversary of the deadliest aviation accident in history, a runway collision in the Canary Islands. In April 2008, Rosenker chaired the NTSB's public hearing into the accident involving a cargo ship that struck the fendering system of the San Francisco- Oakland Bay Bridge, and in May of this year, he chaired the Board's public hearing into the crash of a regional airliner near Buffalo, New York that killed 50 people.
For his leadership role in recreational boating issues, the National Safe Boating Council presented Rosenker their highest honor, the Confluence Award, twice. In addition, in 2007, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators presented Chairman Rosenker with the NASBLA Award for his years of promoting boating safety.
Rosenker is a retired Major General in the Air Force Reserve.
He intends to pursue opportunities in the private sector.