The gap is unfortunate, but its a product of the previous administration, not a choice of the current one. The retirement date for the shuttle? An overdue decision finally made in 2003. The continual redesign of Ares 1 and the Orion capsule? Thank you Mr Griffin. If the simple safe soon replacement vehicle for the shuttle had been funded back in 2003 when it was supposed to be, and not co-opted for Apollo On Foodstamps, then it would be flying by now.. on existing launch vehicles. Instead we got the Constellation train wreck.
So what has this administration decided to do? Close the gap by engaging *multiple* commercial providers. So if one vehicle fails, or retires, NASA can keep flying on another. There will never be a gap again. Basically what they should have done back in 2003 but without the cost plus pork.
In the mean time, NASA astronauts will continue flying to the ISS on the Soyuz.. as nearly every expedition crew member flies to the station now. The only change is that the shuttle won't be taking 6 to 7 people there 3 times a year to do assembly work.. because the station will be complete.