1. "What steps have been taken to reduce internal management orders, regulations, and redundant oversight? Please provide baseline and performance measures that demonstrate the affect of these changes on scientists, programs, laboratories, and the age ncy."
To further reduce redundant oversight, NASA is revising its program review process. This initiative is being accomplished by an Agencywide Provide Aerospace Products & Capabilities cross-cutting process team. An outgrowth of previous study work, the Provide Aerospace Products & Capabilities team was established at the April 2-3, 1996 NASA Senior Management Strategic Planning Retreat. The team is implementing 13 specific recommendations that were approved by Senior Management at the April retreat including a recommendation to provide a coordinated Agency program review process. The approach is to define a NASA Policy Directive (NPD), limited to four pages, and issue it in the fall of 1996. The NPD will be followed by a NASA Procedures & Guidelines (NPG) document which will contain guidance and best practice information. Together, they will replace NASA's NMI 7120.4 and NHB 7120.5, ÒManagement of Major System Programs and ProjectsÓ, although their applicability will be more comprehensive, including not only major programs, but also smaller/faster/cheaper programs that result from new ways of doing business. The NPD is now in final review prior to issuance. The NPG has been outlined and is scheduled for development following the NPD's completion.
NASA expects the time for program reviews to be reduced as a result of this process team effort. More importantly, by reducing the necessary review time spent by senior technical leaders, these leaders will be able to focus more of their efforts on getting the technical job done with excellence.
2. "What steps have been taken to clarify and focus laboratory missions and assignments? Has redundancy been eliminated and to what degree has the laboratory system been restructured?"
The designated Centers of Excellence are Ames Research Center (ARC): Information Technology; Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC): Atmospheric Flight Operations; Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC): Scientific Research; Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL): Deep Space Systems; Johnson Space Center (JSC): Human Operations in Space; Kennedy Space Center (KSC): Launch and Cargo Processing Systems; Langley Research Center (LaRC): Structures and Materials; Lewis Research Center (LeRC): Turbomachinery; Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC): Space Propulsion; and Stennis Space Center (SSC): Propulsion Testing Systems.
In addition to establishing Centers of Excellence, Center Missions have been assigned to clarify and streamline management responsibilities and to identify the primary concentration of capabilities to support the accomplishment of Strategic Enterprise goals. Each Center now has designated areas of responsibility that provide a basis for building human resource capabilities and physical infrastructure in direct support of Enterprise requirements. Enterprise program and project assignments are based on mission designations. The Centers with Agencywide management responsibility for supporting Enterprises have been identified. The others will continue to provide support capabilities.
In addition to identifying Centers of Excellence and Center Missions, NASA's new strategic management system also includes a Lead Center concept. Each NASA program is assigned to a Lead Center for implementation. In making these assignments, NASA's Enterprise Associate Administrators consider other Center responsibilities since Lead Centers have full program management responsibility, authority, and accountability. Although the Enterprise Associate Administrators configure the programs and establish specific performance-level requirements for each program, Lead Center Directors must ensure that assigned programs are managed to agreed-upon schedules, budget guidelines, technical requirements, and safety and reliability standards. In addition, Lead Center Directors establish supporting assignments for other Centers and delegate management responsibility to the Program Managers that report to them.
Lower level definitions of the Research and Development (R&D) process must still be developed to streamline and strengthen the effectiveness with which NASA accomplishes its missions. The Provide Aerospace Products and Capabilities cross-cutting process team has begun defining and clarifying the activities that are involved, including Aeronautics and Space Technology Development, Program/Project Management, and Space Operations Services.
Major site closures completed to date include Edwards Test Station - closed 1995, Slidell Computer Complex - closed 1995, and Yellow Creek - closed 1996. There has also been considerable consolidation of facilities, including 25 wind tunnel and aeropropulsion closures since 1993. These have been important steps in the process of focusing program management functions at the Centers and eliminating unnecessary redundancy in activity between Headquarters and the Centers as well as between Centers.
Communication is vital to the effectiveness of any organization, and it is even more crucial for NASA as it proceeds with plans for change. NASA recognizes this and is using the mechanism of a Strategic Management Handbook to define and communicate responsibilities to lower levels. The Handbook has been drafted, reviewed at the July 1996 Senior Management Strategic Planning Meeting, and editing is nearly complete. The draft is now being reviewed by employee focus groups. Once completed, NASA Senior Managers will sign and endorse the document prior to final printing.
3. "What has been done to streamline and improve management practices, both at the agency and in the laboratories? What impact have these actions had on efficiency and effectiveness of the laboratory system? Please include information about personnel reductions, both at the agency and at the laboratories. Also provide a list of redundant and/or lower priority programs, projects, and activities that have been eliminated or significantly reduced and the savings (in FTEs and dollars) from each reducti on or elimination."
First, NASA is responding to the needs of the American people and its other customers in industry, the science and academic communities, and other Government agencies, by returning NASA to a world-class R&D agency. NASA is renewing its focus on the development and application of new cutting-edge technologies and giving up-front consideration to the potential commercial use of these technologies.
Second, the February, 1996 NASA Strategic Plan (Attachment-2) outlines the NASA Vision, Mission, and Strategic Outcomes which establish the direction of NASA's personnel. Approved by all Senior Managers of NASA, it includes the goals and strategies to accomplish this vision. It is the foundation upon which NASA's management streamlining activity is built.
Third, throughout NASA, managers and employees at all levels are reinventing NASA by doing things faster, better, and cheaper without compromising safety. The 1995 NASA Management Initiatives Report Card (Attachment 3) cites over 600 examples of improved management practices initiated or accomplished over the past 3 years. These have ranged from Systems Engineering Program Management (developing systems engineering guidelines/standards for Agency program/project management) to privatization (such as procuring both development and operations of the Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy [SOFIA] to help assure lowest life-cycle costs).
Fourth, to further streamline and improve management practices at NASA Centers, Lead Centers have been identified, including ARC as Lead Center for Consolidated Management of NASA's Supercomputing Resources; GSFC to include Headquarters Procurement; and MSFC as Lead Center for Earned Value Performance Management, Consolidated Mainframe Computer Operations, and Logistics/Business Systems Operations and Maintenance. Lead Center responsibility for Space Operations has been assigned to JSC, and support is provided by a multi-center organization with staff located at JSC (integrated Operations Management), GSFC (Mission Services Management), JPL (Data Services Management), and MSFC (Commercial Services Management).
Fifth, at its April 1996 Senior Management Strategic Planning Meeting, 30 specific actions were selected for implementation to streamline and improve management practices. These actions include providing more effective customer and supplier involvement in the definition process; providing a process for managing risk while ensuring incorporation of new technologies; providing a process for timely, coordinated updates to program plans; providing a coordinated program review process; incorporating concurrent engineering into project management; providing a process for crosscutting functional requirements to be developed and managed; producing a comprehensive Space Technology Plan; establishing a process to expedite the insertion of technology into programs; instituting uniform independent assessment procedures; and enhancing training and education in program/project management to support NASA restructuring activities. Responsibilities were assigned, and plans to implement are being developed. Although portions will be completed sooner, the goal is to complete the revolution of NASA by the year 2002.
Sixth, with its renewed focus on R&D, NASA is also strengthening its efforts to privatize functions where practical. The most recent step in this direction is NASA's plan to privatize Space Shuttle Operations, reducing cost without compromising safety. Negotiations are currently underway, and a fully defined contract will be in place by October 1, 1996. The pace at which functions will be turned over to contractor control will be determined by demonstrated contractor performance, and the contract will provide incentives to the contractor to expedite the process.
Seventh, NASA has taken steps to reduce its aircraft fleet and improve operational effectiveness. Since 1993, total fleet size has been reduced from 149 to 106 aircraft. This reduction of 43 aircraft represents an inventory book-value decrease of over $200 million. Centralization of the NASA R&D and program support aircraft fleet at DFRC and JSC is also under active consideration.
With the prospect of declining budgets in the years ahead, NASA's plans of management reforms and improvements to increase effectiveness and efficiency are based on a central strategy of streamlining the organization. NASA considers its highly skilled workforce, including scientists, engineers, technicians, and administrative and support professionals, as its most important asset, so Agency managers are planning streamlining actions with great care.
NASA began restructuring efforts in 1993 when Agencywide staff included 25,000 civil service personnel. Following intense downsizing efforts, NASA now has an employment level of just under 21,000. By the year 2000, the Agency plans to have less than 18,000 civil service personnel. This workforce size resulted from a comprehensive Zero-Base Review (ZBR) that redefined roles, missions, and program management structures consistent with outyear funding levels reflected in NASA's FY 1996 budget. Restructuring and streamlining efforts have continually focused both on reducing costs and improving management and program delivery.
As described previously, NASA is in the midst of a management revolution. Headquarters will determine 'what" the Agency does and "why", but NASA's Centers are assuming full responsibility for determining "how" the programs are implemented and "how" the work gets done. The level of activities controlled by Headquarters is being reduced while the activities managed at the Centers are expanding. Accountability will rest at the management level where the work is performed.
NASA as a whole will experience an overall staff reduction of approximately 30 percent from FY 1993 to FY 2000. NASA recently established a revised target staffing level of 951 for Headquarters which is consistent with both the NPR guidance to reduce staffing levels at all Federal agency headquarters offices by 50 percent and the new NASA management model which delegates additional operational responsibilities to NASA Centers and focuses NASA Headquarters on strategic management. NASA Headquarters organizations are currently assessing the earliest date by which this revised workforce level can be achieved to ensure that it can be in place to oversee the balance of Agency downsizing activities.
Attachment 4 provides the latest published NASA employment targets and schedule, as well as breakouts for each of the Centers and Headquarters. Skill level targets which are being monitored in compliance with the NPR goals also are shown, as is NASA's actual performance relative to these targets.
NASA also has been steadily reducing its number of supervisors. When the NPR issued its report in September 1993, NASA had just over 3,700 employees in supervisory positions. The NASA streamlining plan set a goal of improving the Agency's supervisory ratio by a factor of two, and after two successive buyouts and on-going restructuring, the number of NASA supervisors is down to 2,125. Several Centers are already approaching the target employee-to-supervisor ratio range, as shown in Attachment 4, and sta ffing numbers will continue to decline.
Although NASA is attempting to preserve programs, the budget outlook suggests that future actions may include some project eliminations. Specifics are being developed and will be provided as part of the NASA Budget submissions.
4. "What steps have been taken to coordinate and integrate laboratory resources and facilities within the agency and with other agencies?"
Within the Agency, NASA assigned action officers to review each of the 88 recommendations which resulted from the interagency National Facility Study (NFS). Seventy-two of the recommendations have been accepted by NASA fully or with modification; 8 have been rejected; and 8 remain open. Attachment 5 provides the current status of all 88 recommendations, including Category 1 (recommendations for facility or other actions) and Category 2 (areas which the NFS Task Team believed to merit detailed study, bas ed on their preliminary analysis).
The NFS was followed by the NASA ZBR which started in the fall of 1994. A small internal NASA team was appointed to oversee and integrate the effort which focused on developing recommendations for achieving the following four objectives:
The team's recommendations were made to the Administrator and NASA Senior Management in May 1995 and were an important basis for many later decisions. For example, NASA's subsequent designation of Centers of Excellence and Center Missions will reduce unnecessary redundancy between the Centers and provide opportunities for establishing 'best in class" capabilities even in the face of decreasing budgets. Added incentive will be provided as full-cost accounting is established throughout the Agency and each Enterprise manages its facility operating costs.
B. Coordination and Integration with Other Agencies
Coordination and integration among NASA and other agencies has been particularly close with DoD, although there are also important areas of coordination with DOE, the Department of Transportation/Federal Aviation Administration (DOT/FAA), and the Natio nal Institutes of Health (NIH).
At present, there are 356 separate agreements between NASA and DoD on research collaboration and other areas of cooperation. Collocated DoD teams include U.S. Army teams at LaRC (55 persons), ARC (100 persons), and LeRC (55 persons), all of which are using NASA wind tunnel facilities for rotary wing related research projects. Other work is underway at various levels of security classification.
Partly as a result of the Federal Laboratory Review, NASA and DoD defined and conducted a 7-month study of ways in which the two agencies could work together more effectively. This work was carried out under the direction of the Aeronautics and Astronautics Coordinating Board (AACB), chaired by the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology, Dr. Paul Kaminski, and NASA Acting Deputy Administrator, General John Dailey. Joint agency Integrated Product Teams (IPT) studied opportunities in Technology and Laboratories, Space Launch, Satellite Telemetry Tracking and Commanding, Center/Base Support and Services, Interagency Agreements, Personnel Exchange, and Major Facilities.
General results from the NASA/DoD Cooperation Initiative include increased Science and Technology reliance through integrated planning, new opportunities for sharing of base/Center support infrastructure, a NASA/DoD personnel exchange program which has already been partially implemented, and revitalization of standing AACB panels to continue coordination and track recommendation implementation.
Examples of specific cost avoidances include combining spacecraft technology demonstrations and sharing results from each agency's experiments - $60 million; and sharing a C-17 aircraft hangar at Edwards Air Force Base/DFRC -- $14 million. Additional savings at Edwards/DFRC are sharing the cryogenics systems facility - $60,000/year; NASA use of the Air Force's aircraft paint facility - $128,000/year; and Air Force use of DFRC's tracking radar - $370,000/year. At Langley Air Force Base/LaRC, a $445,000 cost avoidance can be achieved through joint use of an alternate fueling facility. At the Army's Redstone Arsenal/MSFC, a cost avoidance of $200,000/year can be realized by the Army's use of MSFC's photo laboratory.
NASA and DoD have also completed development of a Major Facilities Inventory which provides the characteristics of 1,494 NASA and DoD facilities in condensed and common format. It is accessible from the NASA Headquarters Internet Home Page under "What's New", and from the DoD Test, Systems Engineering, and Evaluation Home Page. The data base includes the facilities that were identified by the subgroups for alliances. This will not only be a key tool for the facility planners in both agencies, but it will also serve as an excellent reference for experimentalists wishing to use Government facilities. Its utility is likely to go beyond the NASA/DoD Cooperation Initiative. An additional 181 DOE and Department of Commerce/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration facilities are included and being updated, and DOT/FAA has indicated interest in adding its facilities to this common data base.
In addition to these cost avoidances, the Major Facilities IPT focused on issues related to the May 15, 1995, Interagency Federal Laboratory Review Final Report, Section 11B recommendations. The IPT concluded that there are long-term cooperative opportunities in six broad major facility categories: wind tunnels, air breathing propulsion, rocket propulsion, space environmental, hypervelocity ballistic range/impact, and arc-heated facilities. It was apparent that while useful interchange was occurring between the various technical organizations, more long-term gain will be accomplished if this is strengthened with formal alliances between the key line organizations. Implementation of these alliances has been approved by the AACB, and Memoranda of Agre ement have been drafted.
I. "What is the status of NASA and DoD responses to the recommendations contained in the May 15, 1995, Interagency Federal Laboratory Review Final Report, the February, 1995, report of NASA's Federal Laboratory Review Task Force, (and the February, 1995, memorandum from Jones to Gibbons? [DoD only]). Future Plans?"
NASA provided an initial status on implementing the Report's recommendations on April 25, 1996 (Attachment 6) and a final status on July 9, 1996 (Attachment 7). As described in the response to questions 2 and 3 above, NASA has taken appropriate and aggressive steps in focusing missions for the Centers, delegating program responsibility to the Centers, and reducing staff at Headquarters and the Centers. Following careful review, it was determined that program management delegations to the Centers beyond those suggested were practical and are, therefore, being implemented. Staff-reduction targets and the schedule for reduction in Headquarters staff were preceded by a thorough review of functions, requirements, and priorities. As shown in Attachment 4, the Headquarters staff has decreased by 36 percent since FY 1993. It is now very important that the Agency Buyout Authority requested in the House VA/HUD/Independent Agencies Appropriation Bill for 1997 be approved so that proper skill mix and diversity distributions can be achieved as further reductions are implemented. Detailed Center reduction planning will take place using the Headquarters plans as input.
Regarding the recommendation that NASA review its oversight of JPL and take immediate steps to remove excessive oversight burdens, the NASA Office of Space Science has conducted a review of management oversight of JPL and program enablement, and a four-step approach has been taken. First, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been negotiated among NASA's Office of the Inspector General, the Defense Contract Audit Agency, and the JPL Management Office which provides for audit coordination to eliminate redundancy and duplication of audit activities. Second, following a comprehensive review of JPL task orders, the total number was reduced to a manageable level through selective consolidation. Third, NASA staff performing oversight of JPL operations will be reduced by 40 percent as part of the Headquarters downsizing and reorganization plan. And fourth, the Office of Space Science is undertaking a further study to identify, evaluate, and recommend additional management actions that will further improve the effectiveness of the NASA/JPL interface.
The recommendation that NASA explore possibilities for putting some of its Centers, or parts of them, under management of a university or consortium has been earnestly considered. NASA established a high-level Institutes Task Force to develop Science Institute options whereby NASA Science Institutes could be established within the next 2 years. The formation of the first of these NASA Science Institutes, the National Space Biomedical Research Institute at JSC, was initiated by release of the Cooperative Agreement Notice on June 10, 1996. Two additional Institutes were proposed for implementation, one each at the ARC and LeRC. The Institutes Task Force felt strongly that the success of these institutes could well depend on certain legislative relief. The Office of Government Ethics, however, objected to NASA's request for a limited exception to the post-employment restrictions and procurement integrity statutes, and the Office of Personnel Management objected to NASA's request to permit an employee who accepted employment with a Science Institute to continue to participate in the Civil Service Retirement System, the Federal Employees Retirement System, and/or the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program. The legislation would have enabled movement of key technical people from NASA into the Science Institutes to make the plan successful. Rather than proceed in face of the risks identified by the task force, NASA discontinued efforts to establish Science Institutes at the ARC and LeRC. The Agency will now consider other options to continue to enhance the quality of science at the Centers as documented in an April 3, 1996, letter from the NASA Administrator to Dr. John Gibbons, OSTP (Attachment 8).
B. NASA Federal Laboratory Review (NASA Advisory Council Task Force Review, February 1995)
NASA considered the 74 recommendations contained in this study as part of the ZBR and other reviews. Many of the recommendations have been accepted and are part of the 1996 NASA Strategic Plan and Enterprise plans. Complete responses to each of these recommendations are provided in Attachment 9.
II. "How do NASA and DoD plan to interface with the private sector in setting priorities for R&D facilities planning, management, consolidation, and closure?"
Similar, but less formal procedures, are followed to promote private-sector use of space related facilities. Experimental programs in liquid rocket, hybrid rocket, structures and materials, thermal vacuum, thermal protection systems, hypervelocity impact, and many other areas have been conducted to meet private-sector needs. Usually, the experimenter is on site, and proprietary protection is provided.
Part of the challenge for the private sector is knowing what Government facilities are available, their performance characteristics, and whom to contact for further information. The Major Facilities Inventory previously described, is an important step toward addressing this challenge; 705 NASA facilities and 789 DoD facilities are included. The system is also being expanded to accommodate private-sector facility information (if the owner desires).
III. "Are there any issues identified in Presidential Review Directive NSTC-1 which have not been adequately addressed?"
A. NASA and DOT/FAA
There has been a long-term relationship between NASA and FAA in which NASA performs technology development work for FAA and uses NASA facilities and technical expertise to help meet the technology needs of FAA. The work is highly collaborative, including such items as development of wind shear warning to aid pilots in takeoff and landing, and evaluation of advanced air traffic control techniques.
B. NASA and DOE
NASA's Office of Life & Microgravity Sciences & Applications and DOE's Energy Research Division signed an MOU in September 1995 for an important spaceflight payload cooperative program. Under the MOU, NASA will fly the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), first on the Space Shuttle and, subsequently, on the International Space Station. The AMS was developed by DOE in cooperation with several international partners, and it will be used to collect accelerated space particles. Its objective is to discover signs of anti-matter in the galaxy. The results of research using the AMS will be of great importance to the fundamental physics, astronomy, astrophysics, and particle physics technical communities. NASA is building a container to hold the AMS in the cargo bay of the Space Shuttle and on the International Space Station. The first launch is scheduled for May 1998.
DOE has been a supplier of radioisotope thermoelectric generators which have been commonly used in the past by NASA/JPL on deep space missions. This arrangement has capitalized on DOE's expertise in nuclear energy and avoids duplication of capabilities between the two agencies in this area. While NASA is minimizing its use of radioisotopes for future missions, some missions will still require radioisotope power sources. As such, the long-term availability of the fuel source may be an issue for review to make sure that power supplies are available at reasonable cost within the United States.
NASA's Office of Aeronautics and DOE's Environmental Sciences Office have signed a Memorandum of Agreement concerning "Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Technology Development and Flight Demonstration" to facilitate cooperation and promote synergism in the execution of the NASA Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology (ERAST) program.
C. NASA and NIH
The NASA-NIH partnership is one in which each partner brings its unique strengths and expertise to the cooperative activities. NASA addresses problems not appropriate for NIH and provides advice and support to the science community on payload requirements. There are over 20 active MOU's between NASA and NIH.
In microgravity research, NASA is working with the NIH National Eye Institute to transfer NASA technology involving the use of laser light scattering to detect early signs of cataract formation. NASA is also collaborating with researchers at the National Eye Institute using protein crystal growth technology to determine structures of important proteins related to the signal pathway for sight.
In life sciences, cooperation with NIH has expanded. NASA is collaborating with the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases on the use of NASA remote sensing technology to detect vectors for the path of certain diseases. Work has also been initiated with the National Cancer Institute to examine the effect of radiation in inducing cancer and injuring cells.