Author Topic: NASA OIG: NASA’s Efforts to “Rightsize” itself  (Read 1575 times)

Online AncientU

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What is the right size for NASA?

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NASA OIG: NASA’s Efforts to “Rightsize” its Workforce, Facilities, and Other Supporting Assets
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WHY WE PERFORMED THIS AUDIT

To accomplish its diverse scientific and space exploration missions, NASA relies on specialized facilities and infrastructure, unique equipment and tools, and a highly skilled civil servant and contractor workforce. These assets, collectively known as technical capabilities, are spread across NASA’s 10 Centers and include more than 5,000 buildings and other structures, 17,000 civil servants, and tens of thousands of contractors. Over the years, striking the right balance among these various assets has been a top management challenge, with the Agency making a number of mostly unsuccessful attempts at “rightsizing” its technical capabilities.

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However, after more than 4 years, the Agency has yet to make many concrete decisions about its technical capabilities – for example, to consolidate or dispose of assets.  Rather, most decisions have been iterative steps on the path to making actual determinations about technical capabilities, leaving us concerned that the Agency’s efforts have been slow to produce meaningful results.   Moreover, NASA’s assessments of its capabilities did not consistently include information needed to make informed decisions, including mission needs or facility usage data, analyses to determine gaps or overlaps, or recommendations to achieve cost savings.  In addition, NASA did not incorporate in its process the best practices we identified from other successful rightsizing efforts, including following standardized guidance, incorporating independent analysis and cost-benefit rationales, and setting firm timeframes for completing actions.  Finally, NASA continues to face the long-standing challenges of its federated governance model, uncertainty about its direction and future missions, political influence, and the lack of institutionalized processes that have hindered past Agency efforts to strategically align its technical capabilities. 


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WHAT WE RECOMMEND

To ensure NASA’s efforts to evaluate technical capabilities are institutionalized and sustained over time, we recommended the Associate Administrator (1) create standardized guidance for performing annual capability assessments; (2) evaluate CLM assessments and teams to better ensure independence; (3) develop and institute training, communications, or other measures to ensure capability assessments are complete, thorough, and include expected goals and results; and (4) revise the CLM decision process to include implementation timeframes for dispositioning agreed upon actions.

http://spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=49964

OIG report(attached):
https://oig.nasa.gov/audits/reports/FY17/IG-17-015.pdf
« Last Edit: 03/21/2017 02:40 PM by AncientU »
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Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: NASA OIG: NASA’s Efforts to “Rightsize” itself
« Reply #1 on: 03/21/2017 04:26 PM »
With so many entrenched interests for government jobs, NASA will face the same challenges as the military has when jobs and facilities are deemed "no longer needed" (see BRAC).

It's not something that a NASA Administrator is able to do themselves, since it's literally an act of Congress to make any major changes.  So maybe, just maybe, this will be a topic that they upcoming VP Pence-led National Space Council (NSC) will take up?

Certainly the question for the need of government engine and rocket development assets is a good one, since many facilities were built with the expectation that the U.S. Government would always have their own space transportation system.  But if we've reached a point in history where the private sector is broad enough to shoulder that responsibility, then maybe the U.S. Government does not need to own, or at least maintain, engine and rocket development facilities anymore.

A clear philosophy of what the U.S. Government's role will be in space is required to properly assess what the U.S. Government needs to retain in personnel and facilities.  Without that clear philosophy this will just turn into another pork barrel opportunity...
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Online AncientU

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Re: NASA OIG: NASA’s Efforts to “Rightsize” itself
« Reply #2 on: 03/21/2017 04:33 PM »
I agree that the fundamental flaw is NASA being charged to do surgery on itself.
Bureaucracies only have the ability to increase in size.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
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Offline Jim

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Re: NASA OIG: NASA’s Efforts to “Rightsize” itself
« Reply #3 on: 03/21/2017 05:55 PM »
I agree that the fundamental flaw is NASA being charged to do surgery on itself.
Bureaucracies only have the ability to increase in size.

Wrong.  It isn't NASA that is the problem, it is Congress.

You take every chance to troll or snipe at NASA.
« Last Edit: 03/21/2017 05:57 PM by Jim »

Online AncientU

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Re: NASA OIG: NASA’s Efforts to “Rightsize” itself
« Reply #4 on: 03/21/2017 06:18 PM »
I agree that the fundamental flaw is NASA being charged to do surgery on itself.
Bureaucracies only have the ability to increase in size.

Wrong.  It isn't NASA that is the problem, it is Congress.

You take every chance to troll or snipe at NASA.

OIG:
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NASA has established a framework that should improve the Agency’s ability to manage its technical capabilities and help make the difficult decisions regarding infrastructure and personnel required to optimally position itself for current and future missions.  However, after more than 4 years, the Agency has yet to make many concrete decisions about its technical capabilities – for example, to consolidate or dispose of assets.
underline mine

Snipe is OIG's

« Last Edit: 03/21/2017 06:18 PM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline Jim

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Re: NASA OIG: NASA’s Efforts to “Rightsize” itself
« Reply #5 on: 03/21/2017 06:28 PM »

Snipe is OIG's


It isn't a snipe.   NASA needs direction from Congress and the President.
« Last Edit: 03/21/2017 06:29 PM by Jim »

Offline woods170

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Re: NASA OIG: NASA’s Efforts to “Rightsize” itself
« Reply #6 on: 03/22/2017 06:45 AM »

Snipe is OIG's


It isn't a snipe.   NASA needs direction from Congress and the President.
Maybe.

or

Maybe not.

Quote from: OIG
In addition, NASA did not incorporate in its process the best practices we identified from other successful rightsizing efforts, including following standardized guidance, incorporating independent analysis and cost-benefit rationales, and setting firm timeframes for completing actions.

Offline jgoldader

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Re: NASA OIG: NASA’s Efforts to “Rightsize” itself
« Reply #7 on: 03/22/2017 09:49 AM »
Jim and OIG can both be right.  It's not hard to find contradictory signals and statements in the budgets.  For example, one could say that having NASA build SLS while simultaneously not providing an unambiguous and adequately funded plan for using the launcher, could well leave NASA paralyzed and unable to reduce work in some areas lest they lose important expertise they'd then have to reassemble.  I suspect one could find many other progams in NASA (and most every other govt agency, possibly) where guidance has been simarly vague or contradictory.

Who among us hasn't heard "do this, except don't do it" at work?
Recovering astronomer

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