oversight

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2003-01-01.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

               United States General Accounting Office

GAO            Performance and Accountability Series




January 2003
               Major Management
               Challenges and
               Program Risks
               National Aeronautics
               and Space
               Administration




GAO-03-114
               a
A Glance at the Agency Covered in This Report
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s mission encompasses
●   human exploration and development of space,
●   the advancement and communication of scientific knowledge, and
●   research and development of aeronautics and space technologies.
Its activities span a broad range of complex and technical endeavors—from
investigating the composition, evaluation, and resources of Mars; to working with
its international partners to complete and operate the International Space Station;
to providing satellite and aircraft observations of Earth for scientific and weather
forecasting purposes; to developing new technologies designed to improve
air safety.


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Budgetary and Staff Resources


Budgetary Resources a, b                                               Staff Resources b
Dollars in billions                                                    FTEs in thousands

20                                                                     20    19                           19          19
                                                                                       18        18
                                                  17
                                       16
         15        15        15
15                                                                     15


10                                                                     10


    5                                                                   5


    0                                                                   0
        1998     1999      2000      2001         2002                      1998      1999      2000      2001        2002
        Fiscal year                                                          Fiscal year
Source: Budget of the United States Government.

a Budgetary resources include new budget authority (BA) and unobligated balances of previous BA.

b Budget and staff resources are actuals for FY 1998-2001. FY 2002 are estimates from the FY 2003 budget, which
    are the latest publicly available figures on a consistent basis as of January 2003. Actuals for FY 2002 will be
    contained in the President’s FY 2004 budget to be released in February 2003.




This Series
This report is part of a special GAO series, first issued in 1999 and updated in
2001, entitled the Performance and Accountability Series: Major Management
Challenges and Program Risks. The 2003 Performance and Accountability Series
contains separate reports covering each cabinet department, most major
independent agencies, and the U.S. Postal Service. The series also includes a
governmentwide perspective on transforming the way the government does
business in order to meet 21st century challenges and address long-term fiscal
needs. The companion 2003 High-Risk Series: An Update identifies areas at high risk
due to either their greater vulnerabilities to waste, fraud, abuse, and
mismanagement or major challenges associated with their economy, efficiency, or
effectiveness. A list of all of the reports in this series is included at the end of
this report.
                                                    January 2003


                                                    PERFORMANCE AND ACCOUNTABILITY SERIES

                                                    National Aeronautics and Space
Highlights of GAO-03-114, a report to               Administration
Congress included as part of GAO’s
Performance and Accountability Series




In its 2001 performance and                         The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) continues to
accountability report on NASA,                      face challenges that threaten its ability to effectively run its largest
GAO identified important                            programs. NASA is taking steps to address these challenges. But because
management, oversight, and                          they are rooted in NASA’s culture and long-standing ways of doing business,
workforce issues facing the agency.                 NASA will need to make a major transformation.
The information GAO presents in
this report is intended to help
sustain congressional attention and                 •   Strengthening strategic human capital management. NASA is
an agency focus on continuing to                        facing shortages in its workforce, which could likely worsen as the
make progress in addressing these                       workforce continues to age and the pipeline of talent shrinks. This
challenges—and others that have                         dilemma is more pronounced among areas crucial to NASA’s ability
arisen since 2001—and ultimately                        to perform its mission, such as engineering, science, and information
overcoming them. This report is                         technology. NASA is addressing this challenge through strategic
part of a special series of reports                     planning, a new workforce planning and analysis system, and requesting
on governmentwide and agency-                           additional personnel flexibilities, among other initiatives.
specific issues.                                    •   Controlling International Space Station costs. Development costs
                                                        for this premier project have soared to the point where NASA has had
                                                        to cutback the program substantially, including reducing construction,
To make its improvement                                 the number of crew members, and scientific research. This has raised
initiatives fully successful, GAO                       concern among NASA’s international partners, who have a large stake
believes that NASA will need to                         in the scientific research to be performed on the station. NASA is
                                                        instituting management and cost-estimating reforms. But it must still
•    move to a results-oriented                         reach agreement with its partners on its planned cutbacks.
     culture and provide the                        •   Reducing space launch costs. NASA recognizes the need to reduce
     sustained attention needed                         the costs of space launches and replace its aging space shuttle. The
     to make sure human capital                         administration recently submitted an amendment to NASA’s fiscal year
     reforms stay on track;                             2003 budget request, which (1) extends the life of the space shuttle
•    overcome barriers facing                           and enhances its reliability, (2) funds the development of a new vehicle
     implementation of its financial
                                                        for ferrying crew to and from the space station, and (3) alters the
     management system and
     transform its financial                            time frame for a shuttle replacement. Accomplishing these and other
     management organization so                         goals related to space launches will be difficult and risky in light of the
     that it better supports NASA’s                     technology advances NASA would like to pursue and the high degree
     core mission; and                                  of communication and coordination required among industry and
•    successfully follow through                        government partners.
     on planned oversight                           •   Improving contract management. NASA spends most of its funds
     improvements so that costs                         on acquisitions. Yet, for many years, it has been unable to oversee
     and scheduling risks can                           contracts effectively, principally because it lacked accurate and reliable
     be mitigated.                                      information on contract spending and it placed little emphasis on end
                                                        results, product performance, and cost control. NASA has addressed
                                                        many acquisition-related weaknesses and is beginning to tackle one of its
                                                        most formidable barriers to sound contract management—the lack of a
                                                        modern, integrated financial management system. Considerable work
www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-114.                  remains to be done since NASA is only in the early stages of designing
                                                        and implementing this new system, and NASA reported that it is already
To view the full report, click on the link above.
For more information, contact Allen Li at               facing challenges in terms of cost, interoperability, and security.
(202) 512-4841 or lia@gao.gov.
Contents



Transmittal Letter                                                                                                1


Major Performance                                                                                                  2

and Accountability
Challenges

GAO Contacts                                                                                                      23


Related GAO Products                                                                                              24


Performance and                                                                                                   28
Accountability and
High-Risk Series




                        This is a work of the U.S. Government and is not subject to copyright protection in the
                        United States. It may be reproduced and distributed in its entirety without further
                        permission from GAO. It may contain copyrighted graphics, images or other materials.
                        Permission from the copyright holder may be necessary should you wish to reproduce
                        copyrighted materials separately from GAO’s product.




                       Page i                                                       GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
A
United States General Accounting Office
Washington, D.C. 20548
                                                                                           Comptroller General
                                                                                           of the United States




           January 2003                                                                                          T
                                                                                                                 ransmL
                                                                                                                      ta
                                                                                                                       ileter




           The President of the Senate and the
           Speaker of the House of Representatives

           This report addresses the major management challenges and program risks facing the National
           Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as it seeks to advance human exploration and
           development of space, advance and communicate scientific knowledge, and research and develop
           aeronautics and space technologies. The report discusses the actions that NASA has taken and that
           are under way to address the challenges GAO identified in its Performance and Accountability Series
           2 years ago, and major events that have occurred that significantly influence the environment in
           which the agency carries out its mission. Also, GAO summarizes the challenges that remain, new ones
           that have emerged, and further actions that GAO believes are needed.

           This analysis should help the new Congress and the administration carry out their responsibilities and
           improve government for the benefit of the American people. For additional information about this
           report, please contact Allen Li, Director, Acquisition and Sourcing Management, at (202) 512-4841 or
           at lia@gao.gov.




           David M. Walker
           Comptroller General
            of the United States




                                     Page 1                                             GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
Major Performance and Accountability
Challenges

              NASA is at a critical juncture. Since its inception, NASA has advanced
              space exploration and scientific knowledge and accomplished unparalled
              feats of engineering. But NASA now faces challenges, particularly in terms
              of maintaining a skilled workforce, controlling costs, and providing
              effective oversight for important projects. Recognizing the need for change,
              NASA’s Administrator has recently articulated a new vision for NASA—one
              that is science-driven, not destination-driven. To put NASA on a better
              footing to fulfill this vision, the agency is taking on a major transformation
              aimed at eliminating stovepipes, becoming more integrated and
              results-oriented, and reducing risks while working more economically,
              efficiently, and effectively.

              We have identified four performance and accountability challenges facing
              NASA. These include

              • strengthening strategic human capital management,

              • controlling International Space Station costs,

              • reducing space launch costs, and

              • improving contract management.

              Collectively, these challenges seriously affect NASA’s ability to effectively
              run its largest programs. With an aging workforce, for example, NASA is
              facing the loss of science and engineering expertise across its mission
              areas. Moreover, cost overruns have prevented NASA from achieving
              its original goals with the International Space Station and taken away
              resources from other programs. Weak contract management and financial
              controls pose additional risks across the agency. Therefore, we have placed
              this area on our high-risk list.




              Page 2                                               GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
Major Performance and Accountability
Challenges




Since our last Performance and Accountability Series report,1 issued
in January 2001, NASA has been taking actions to address each of its
challenges. For example, NASA has hired new staff, who helped address
imbalances in some critical skill areas in the shuttle program, and it has
also developed a strategic human capital plan to enhance its entire
workforce. In an effort to control space station costs, NASA made
substantial cutbacks in the space station program and is instituting
management and cost-estimating reforms. NASA also took significant
steps to improve contract management, including reducing its use of
unnegotiated contract changes and beginning to implement a new
integrated financial management system. However, we are continuing to
categorize contract management as high risk since key actions remain to
provide the oversight needed for the more than $12 billion NASA spends
annually on its contracts.

Moreover, in our last report, we had identified NASA’s faster-better-cheaper
approach to space exploration as a major management challenge. However,
since NASA decided to end this approach as a preference for managing its
programs and projects, we removed this designation. We added reducing
space launch costs as a challenge, given the wide range of complex and
difficult tasks that need to be addressed for NASA’s plans for future space
travel to succeed.

While NASA is taking positive steps toward addressing management
problems, its ultimate challenge will be in tackling the root problems
impeding its major programs. This will require instituting a results-oriented
culture that fosters knowledge sharing and empowers its workforce to
accomplish programmatic goals; making sure that the agency adheres to
rigorous and effective management controls to prevent cost overruns and
scheduling problems; transforming the financial management organization
so that it better supports NASA’s core mission; and sustaining commitment
to change.




1
 U.S. General Accounting Office, Major Management Challenges and Program Risks:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration, GAO-01-258 (Washington, D.C.:
Jan. 2001).




Page 3                                                   GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
                          Major Performance and Accountability
                          Challenges




                               Performance and
                               Accountability Challenges
                                   Strengthen strategic human capital management

                                   Control International Space Station costs

                                   Reduce space launch costs

                                   Correct weaknesses in contract management




Strengthening Strategic   Like many agencies, NASA is facing substantial challenges in attracting
                          and retaining a highly skilled workforce. Left unchecked, for example,
Human Capital             reductions in the space shuttle workforce could have jeopardized NASA’s
Management                ability to safely support the shuttle’s planned flight rate. NASA is taking
                          comprehensive steps to address this problem across all mission areas,
                          but implementing a strategic approach to marshaling, managing, and
                          maintaining human capital represents a significant challenge.

                          Leading public organizations here in the United States and abroad have
                          found that strategic human capital management must be the centerpiece
                          of any serious change management initiative and efforts to transform the
                          cultures of government agencies. People are an agency’s most important
                          organizational asset. They define its culture, drive its performance, and
                          embody its knowledge base. Because serious human capital shortfalls are
                          eroding the ability of many agencies to effectively perform their missions,
                          we designated strategic human capital management as a governmentwide
                          high-risk area in January 2001 and continue to designate it as high risk
                          today. Plainly, the problem is not federal employees. Rather, the problem
                          is the lack of a consistent strategic approach to marshaling, managing,




                          Page 4                                                   GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
Major Performance and Accountability
Challenges




and maintaining the human capital needed to maximize our government
performance and ensure its accountability.

We reported in January 2001 that NASA’s shuttle workforce had declined
significantly in recent years to the point of reducing NASA’s ability to safely
support the shuttle program. Many key areas were not sufficiently staffed
by qualified workers, and the remaining workforce showed signs of
overwork and fatigue. To the agency’s credit, NASA has recognized the
need to revitalize the shuttle’s workforce, discontinued its downsizing
plans for the shuttle program in December 1999, and initiated efforts to
hire new staff. In September 2001, we testified that NASA was hiring
approximately 200 full-time equivalent staff and that it had focused more
attention on human capital in its annual performance plan by outlining an
overall strategy to attract and retain a skilled workforce. But even with
these gains, there were still considerable challenges. For example, NASA’s
new staff would require considerable training, and the agency still needed
to deal with critical losses due to retirements in coming years.

Data obtained from NASA since September 2001 show that these
challenges have not been mitigated, and work climate indicators continue
to reflect high levels of job stress. In addition, while new hires helped
address staffing needs in some critical skill areas in the shuttle program,
staffing shortages in many key areas still remain a problem. These areas
include subsystems engineering, flight software engineering, electrical
engineering, environmental control, and shuttle resources management.
NASA’s hiring posture for fiscal year 2003 will target areas where skill
imbalances still exist in the shuttle program.




Page 5                                               GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
Major Performance and Accountability
Challenges




Figure 1: Shuttle Undergoing Inspection at the Kennedy Space Center




Source: NASA.




Page 6                                                GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
Major Performance and Accountability
Challenges




As we testified in July 2002, NASA believes that similar workforce
problems affect the entire agency and that, as a result, its ability to
perform future missions and manage its programs may be at risk. The
average age of its workforce is over 45, and the agency is finding it
particularly difficult to hire people with engineering, science, and
information technology skills—fields critical to NASA missions. At this
time, within the science and engineering workforce, the over-60 population
outnumbers the under-30 population nearly 3 to 1. Currently, 15 percent of
NASA’s science and engineering employees are eligible to retire; within
5 years, about 25 percent will be retirement eligible. At the same time,
the pipeline of people with science and engineering skills is shrinking,
and competition for workers with those skills is intense. According to
NASA’s Inspector General, the agency also faces the loss of significant
procurement expertise through the year 2007.2 Coupled with these
concerns, NASA has limited capability for personnel tracking and planning,
particularly on an agencywide or programwide basis. Further, NASA
acknowledges that it needs to complete and submit to the Office of
Management and Budget (OMB) a transformation workforce restructuring
plan, which it notes that, in conjunction with its strategic human capital
plan, will be critical to ensuring that no skill gaps or deficiencies exist in
mission critical occupations.3

NASA is taking steps to address its workforce predicament. For example,
it is developing an agencywide integrated workforce planning and analysis
system as part of its new financial management system. The new system
is expected to track the distribution of NASA’s workforce across programs,
capture critical competencies and skills, determine management and
leadership depth, and facilitate gap analyses. NASA already completed a
pilot of an interim competency management system at one of its centers.
The interim system will facilitate a gap analysis of human capital in terms
of skills and competencies. NASA plans to implement the interim system
agencywide in 2003, and integrate it with the new comprehensive
workforce planning and analysis system in 2005. The new system should



2
National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Audit Report: Procurement Workforce
Planning, IG-01-041 (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 2001).
3
 As stated in President’s Management Agenda Action Plans For The National Aeronautics
And Space Administration, (Washington, D.C.: May 9, 2002). This document is an
agreement between NASA and OMB on NASA’s plans for addressing the governmentwide
initiatives in The President’s Management Agenda.




Page 7                                                   GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
Major Performance and Accountability
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foster better management of the existing workforce and enable better
strategic decisions about future workforce needs.

NASA also developed a strategic human capital plan, which identifies
human capital goals, problems, improvement initiatives, and intended
outcomes and incorporates strategies and metrics to support the goals.4
The plan has been reviewed and approved by OMB and the Office of
Personnel Management (OPM). According to NASA, the plan is based on
OMB’s scorecard of human capital standards and OPM’s scorecard of
supporting human capital dimensions, as well as our own model, which we
published in March 2002.5 Our model is designed to help agency officials
effectively lead and manage their people and integrate human capital
considerations into their daily decision making and the program results
they seek to achieve. In doing so, the model highlights the importance of a
sustained commitment by agency leaders to maximize the value of their
agency’s human capital and to manage related risks. Consistent with
OPM’s and OMB’s views, our model of strategic human capital management
embodies an approach that is fact-based, focused on achieving strategic
results, and incorporates merit principles and other national goals.

Additionally, NASA has renewed attention to hiring applicants just out of
college and intends to pursue this even more aggressively in coming years.
It is undertaking a number of initiatives and activities aimed at acquiring
and retaining critically needed skills, such as using the new Federal
Career Intern Program to hire recent science and engineering graduates,
supplementing the workforce with nonpermanent civil servants where it
makes sense, and implementing a program to repay student loans to attract
and retain employees in critical positions.

NASA has also incorporated a strategic objective and two performance
goals and supporting indicators to address human capital in its fiscal year
2003 performance plan. The plan includes a goal to align management of
the agency’s human resources to best achieve its strategic goals and
objectives along with a second goal to attract and retain a workforce that
represents America’s diversity at all levels and to maximize individual
performance through training and development experiences. Recognizing


4
 NASA has also developed a companion strategic human capital implementation plan that
contains detailed action plans for the improvement initiatives.
5
 U.S. General Accounting Office, A Model of Strategic Human Capital Management,
GAO-02-373SP (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 15, 2002).




Page 8                                                    GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
Major Performance and Accountability
Challenges




its human capital management challenge, NASA has included strategies in
the plan that will focus on restructuring and revitalizing its workforce.

Further, the 107th Congress considered a series of legislative proposals
developed by NASA to provide it with further flexibilities and authorities
for attracting and retaining a skilled workforce. These included
streamlining hiring procedures; making noncompetitive conversions of
term employees to permanent positions; offering larger recruitment,
relocation, and retention bonuses; expanding use of early retirement; and
providing authority for permanent and enhanced buyouts. In testifying
before Congress on the legislative proposals in July 2002, the NASA
Administrator indicated that the provisions, taken together as an integrated
package, form a strong nucleus in support of NASA’s strategic human
capital plan and The President’s Management Agenda and will enable
NASA to avert a serious human capital crisis.

During those same hearings, we testified that several of the NASA issues
mirror aspects of other legislative proposals such as the Federal Human
Capital Act of 2001 (S. 1603, 107th Cong., 2001),6 and noted that while we
had not performed a detailed analysis of the support behind NASA’s
legislative proposals, several points as outlined as follows were worthy
of consideration:

• First, the addition of flexibilities and authorities alone will not solve
  workforce problems. Agencies need to undertake a wide array of
  initiatives to attract, retain, and motivate a top quality workforce. These
  include such actions as revitalizing recruiting and college relations
  efforts; conducting employee feedback surveys to set priorities and
  assess progress; conducting employee preference surveys so employees
  can be given the opportunity to work in areas that interest and energize
  them consistent with overall institutional needs; inventorying the
  skills and knowledge of existing employees; initiating professional
  development programs for newly hired staff to help them transition and
  progress; implementing modern, effective, and credible performance
  appraisal and management systems; redesigning training programs to
  directly link them to core competencies; and implementing employee-
  friendly benefits, such as day care centers, business casual dress,
  flextime, and public transportation subsidies.



6
We testified on this proposed legislation in March 2002.




Page 9                                                     GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
Major Performance and Accountability
Challenges




• Second, agencies need to make the most of current flexibilities and
  authorities already available. These flexibilities are identified by OPM in
  its guide, Human Resource Flexibilities and Authorities in the Federal
  Government. They include such things as the ability to use commercial
  recruiting firms to recruit for vacancies; customize merit promotion
  plans and performance systems; increase basic pay to attract and retain
  staff with unusually high or unique qualifications; and grant substantial
  cash incentive awards. Agencies should develop a sound business case
  for using these flexibilities by focusing on how a given flexibility will
  address human capital challenges and ultimately improve agency
  results. In tandem with exercising these flexibilities, agencies must
  learn to effectively balance their pay and incentive programs to
  encourage both individual and team contributions to achieve results.
  In our December 2002 report, we identified 6 key practices for the
  effective use of human capital flexibilities. These practices are
  (1) planning strategically and making targeted investments, (2) ensuring
  stakeholder input in developing policies and procedures, (3) educating
  managers and employees on the availability and use of flexibilities,
  (4) streamlining administrative processes, (5) building transparency
  and accountability into the system, and (6) changing the
  organizational culture.7

• Third, agencies need effective succession planning. NASA’s workforce
  profile, particularly for science and engineering workers, points to the
  need for this. Faced with the same problems at GAO, we reinstated our
  Executive Candidate Development Program, under which candidates
  are selected through a rigorous competitive process and are prepared
  for assignments at the SES level. While the potential loss of expertise
  through retirements will be substantial, this turnover also affords
  NASA’s Administrator the opportunity to change culture, skill mix,
  deployment locations, and other agency attributes. NASA will, however,
  need to leverage technology and enhance its training efforts to help
  make this transition and facilitate needed knowledge sharing initiatives.

• Fourth, agencies must ensure that strategic human capital plans are
  results-oriented and data-driven. This includes developing appropriate
  information on the number and location of employees and their key
  competencies and skills as well as data on the profile of the workforce,


7
 U.S. General Accounting Office, Human Capital: Effective Use of Flexibilities Can Assist
Agencies in Managing Their Workforces, GAO-03-2 (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 6, 2002).




Page 10                                                     GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
                      Major Performance and Accountability
                      Challenges




                         and performance goals and measures for human capital approaches.
                         Further, this data must be used effectively to develop strategies that
                         continually ensure they have the right mix of employees to meet
                         future needs. A key to success in this area also will be NASA’s ability
                         to implement its new financial management system, since it will
                         encompass the new workforce planning and analysis system.

                      We will continue to monitor NASA’s progress in resolving its human capital
                      problems, including how well its human capital initiatives and reforms and
                      any new and existing flexibilities and authorities are helping to strategically
                      manage and reshape its workforce.




Controlling           The International Space Station is characterized as one of the most
                      challenging engineering feats ever attempted. It also represents an
International Space   important effort to foster international cooperation in scientific research
Station Costs         and space exploration. But development costs for the International Space
                      Station have soared to the point where NASA has had to make substantial
                      cutbacks in the program. Specifically, the cost to complete assembly
                      has mushroomed by about $5 billion to the current estimate of about
                      $30 billion, and while assembly of the station was originally expected to
                      be completed in 2002, NASA now expects it to be done in 2006. This has
                      negatively impacted NASA’s credibility with Congress and raised concern
                      among international partners and the scientific community about the
                      viability of the space station. NASA is taking action to keep costs in check,
                      but its success in this area still faces considerable challenges.

                      NASA has had difficulty predicting and controlling costs and scheduling
                      for the space station since its inception in 1984. In September 1997, we
                      reported that the cost and schedule performance of the space station’s
                      prime contract, which showed signs of deterioration in 1996, had
                      continued to worsen steadily and that the program’s financial reserves
                      for contingencies had deteriorated, principally because of program
                      uncertainties and cost overruns. In our January 2001 Performance and
                      Accountability Series report, we reported that the prime contract for the
                      space station was initially expected to cost over $5.2 billion, and the
                      assembly of the station was expected to be completed in June 2002. But by
                      October 2000, the prime contractor’s cost had grown to about $9 billion, of
                      which $986 million was for cost overruns, and the station was not expected
                      to be complete until April 2006. NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG)


                      Page 11                                              GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
Major Performance and Accountability
Challenges




reported the same cost overrun in a February 2000 audit report, and based
on recommendations in that report, NASA agreed to take several actions,
including discussing the prime contractor’s cost performance at regularly
scheduled meetings and preparing monthly reports to senior management
on the overrun status.



Figure 2: The International Space Station




Source: NASA.



Our July 2002 report on the International Space Station shows that
the reasons for continued cost growth include an inadequate definition
of requirements, changes in program content, and schedule delays and
inadequate program oversight. NASA has controls in place that should
have alerted management to the growing cost problem and the need for
mitigation, but these were largely ignored because of NASA’s focus
on fiscal year budget management rather than on total program
cost management.

The estimated cost growth is having a profound effect on the utility of
the space station—with substantial cutbacks in construction, the number



Page 12                                          GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
                 Major Performance and Accountability
                 Challenges




                 of crew members, and scientific research. As a part of the space station
                 restructuring, further work and funding for the habitation module and
                 crew return vehicle have been deferred, thus requiring the on-orbit crew to
                 be reduced from seven to three members. This will limit the crew-member
                 hours that can be devoted to research. Additionally, NASA has cut back
                 from 27 to 20 the number of facilities available for research. This will
                 eliminate some experiments, such as those relating to biotechnology.
                 NASA’s international partners and the scientific community are not
                 satisfied with these and other reductions in capabilities and have raised
                 concerns about the viability of the space station science program.

                 NASA is instituting a number of management and cost-estimating reforms.
                 But there are significant challenges to their successful implementation.
                 First, NASA is now preparing a life cycle cost estimate for the program
                 based on a three-person crew. However, between now and submission of
                 the fiscal year 2004 budget, NASA and OMB must agree on the estimate.
                 Furthermore, NASA’s financial management system used to collect
                 required space station cost data has proven inadequate. Second, NASA
                 must decide how research can be maximized with only a three-person
                 crew. Third, NASA has not yet reached an agreement with its international
                 partners on an acceptable on-orbit configuration and sharing of research
                 facilities and costs. Thus, the capacity and capabilities of the space station,
                 the scope of research that can be accomplished, and the partners’ share of
                 operating costs are unknown at this time. In addition to the reforms, NASA
                 has requested additional funding for the space station program in its
                 revised fiscal year 2003 budget request.



Reducing Space   Until last November, NASA was pursuing a $4.8 billion, 5-year program—
                 known as the Space Launch Initiative (SLI)—to build a new generation of
Launch Costs     space vehicles to replace its aging space shuttle. This was part of NASA’s
                 broader plan for the future of space travel—known as NASA’s Integrated
                 Space Transportation Plan—which involved operating the space shuttle
                 through 2020 and developing successive generations of transportation
                 vehicles that would begin to be deployed around 2011. The primary goals
                 for SLI were to reduce the risk of crew loss as well as substantially
                 lower the cost of space transportation so that more funds could be made
                 available for scientific research, technology development, and exploration
                 activities. Currently, NASA spends nearly one third of its budget on
                 space transportation.




                 Page 13                                              GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
Major Performance and Accountability
Challenges




Figure 3: NASA Illustration of Its Second Generation Transportation Vehicle




 Source: NASA.



We reported in September 2002 that SLI was a considerably complex and
challenging endeavor for NASA—from both a technical and business
standpoint. For example, it would require NASA to develop and advance
new technologies for the new vehicle, including (1) new airframe
technologies that will include robust, low-cost, low-maintenance structure,
tanks, and thermal protection systems, using advanced ceramic and
metallic composite materials, and (2) new propulsion technologies,
including main propulsion systems, orbital maneuvering systems, main
engines, and propellant management. The program would also require
NASA to carefully coordinate and communicate among industry and
government partners since agreements need to be reached on what the
basic capabilities of the new vehicle will be, what designs or architectures
should be pursued, how development costs will be shared, and what
individual partner responsibilities will be. Lastly, the SLI project would
require careful oversight, especially in view of past difficulties NASA has
had in developing the technologies for reusable launch vehicles to replace
the space shuttle. These efforts did not achieve their goals primarily


Page 14                                                 GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
Major Performance and Accountability
Challenges




because NASA did not develop realistic cost estimates, timely acquisition
and risk management plans, or adequate and realistic performance goals.

Most important, however, we reported that NASA was incurring a high level
of risk in pursuing its plans to select potential designs for the new vehicle
without first making other decisions that would have a large impact on the
SLI program. These included decisions on what DOD’s role would be in the
program; what the final configuration of the International Space Station
would be; and what overall direction NASA’s Space Transportation Plan
would take. At the time, there were indications that NASA and DOD
differed on priorities and requirements for the program. Also, NASA had
yet to come to agreement with its international partners on space station
issues that could dramatically impact SLI requirements, such as how many
crew members would operate the station. Moreover, NASA was still in the
process of reassessing its overall space transportation plans.

NASA agreed with our findings and took steps needed to refocus its
space launch efforts. On October 21, 2002, NASA postponed its Systems
Requirements Review (SRR) for SLI so that it could focus on defining
DOD’s role, determine the future requirements of the International Space
Station, and firm up the agency’s future space transportation needs.

In November 2002, the administration submitted to the Congress an
amendment to NASA’s fiscal year 2003 budget request to implement a
new Integrated Space Transportation Plan. The new plan makes
investments to extend the space shuttle’s operational life for continued
safe operations and refocuses the SLI program on developing an
orbital space plane—which provides a crew transfer capability to and
from the space station—and next generation launch technology.

We will continue to monitor NASA’s progress in reducing launch costs
and position ourselves to advise the Congress accordingly. As it proceeds
forward with its revised plans, it will still be important for NASA to
implement management controls that can effectively predict what the
total costs of the program will be and minimize risks. These include
cost estimates, controls designed to provide early warnings of cost and
schedule overruns, and risk mitigation plans. With such controls in place,
NASA would be positioned to provide its managers and the Congress with
the information needed to ensure that the program is on track and able to
meet expectations.




Page 15                                             GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
                        Major Performance and Accountability
                        Challenges




Correcting Weaknesses   Much of NASA’s success depends on the work of its contractors—on which
                        it spends the greatest part of its funds—$12.7 billion or 90 percent. But
in Contract             for many years, NASA has not been able to effectively oversee contracts,
Management              principally because it lacked accurate and reliable information on
                        contract spending and it has placed little emphasis on end results,
                        product performance, and cost control. NASA has addressed many
                        acquisition-related weaknesses, but key tasks remain, including
                        completing the design and implementation of a new integrated financial
                        management system.

                        Since 1990, we have identified NASA’s contract management function as
                        an area at high risk due to its ineffective systems and processes for
                        overseeing contractor activities. Our reports and testimonies since then
                        have demonstrated just how debilitating these weaknesses in contract
                        management and oversight can be to important space programs. Our
                        July 2002 report on the International Space Station, for example, found that
                        NASA did not effectively control costs or technical and scheduling risks,
                        provide adequate oversight review, or effectively coordinate efforts with its
                        partners. In other examples, we found that NASA lacked effective systems
                        and processes for overseeing contractor activities and did not emphasize
                        controlling costs.

                        In addition, NASA’s ability to collect, maintain, and report the full cost of
                        its projects and programs is weakened by diverse and often incompatible
                        center-level accounting systems and uneven and nonstandard cost-
                        reporting capabilities. The agency’s financial management environment
                        is comprised of decentralized, nonintegrated systems with policies,
                        procedures, and practices that are unique to its field centers. For the
                        most part, data formats are not standardized, automated systems are not
                        interfaced, and on-line financial information is not readily available to
                        program managers. Thus, it is difficult to ensure that contracts are being
                        efficiently and effectively implemented and that budgets are executed
                        as planned.




                        Page 16                                              GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
Major Performance and Accountability
Challenges




NASA’s lack of a fully integrated financial management system also hurts
NASA’s ability to provide data required for external reporting purposes.
For example, in March 2002, we testified that NASA was unable to provide
us with detailed support for amounts that it reported to Congress as
obligated against space station and related shuttle program cost limits
as required by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Authorization Act of 2000.8 Furthermore, NASA’s independent auditor,
Pricewaterhouse Coopers, disclaimed an opinion on the agency’s fiscal
year 2001 financial statements and identified significant internal control
weaknesses related to accounting for space station material and equipment
and to computer security. This action is in contrast with the unqualified
or “clean” audit opinions of its previous auditor for fiscal years 1996
through 2000. Also in contrast with NASA’s previous auditor’s opinion,
Pricewaterhouse Coopers concluded that NASA’s financial management
systems do not substantially comply with the requirements of the Federal
Financial Management Improvement Act of 19969 (FFMIA). FFMIA builds
on previous financial management reform legislation by emphasizing the
need for agencies to have systems that can generate timely, accurate, and
useful information with which to make informed decisions and to ensure
accountability on an ongoing basis.

In recent years, NASA made progress in addressing its contract
management challenges. In July 1998, for example, we reported that
NASA was developing systems to provide oversight and information
needed to improve contract management and that it had made progress
evaluating its field centers’ procurement activities on the basis of
international quality standards and its own procurement surveys. In
January 1999, we reported that NASA was implementing its new system
for measuring procurement-related activities and had made progress in
evaluating procurement functions in its field centers.

NASA has also made progress reducing its use of undefinitized contract
actions10—that is, unnegotiated (i.e., uncosted) contract changes. Both
NASA’s Office of the Inspector General and we have reported our concerns


8
Section 202 of P.L. 106-391.
9
Section 801 of P.L. 104-208.
10
 An undefinitized contract action means a unilateral or bilateral contract modification or
delivery/task order in which the final price or estimated cost and fee have not been
negotiated and mutually agreed to by NASA and the contractor. 48 CFR 1843.7001.




Page 17                                                       GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
Major Performance and Accountability
Challenges




about NASA’s frequent use of undefinitized contract changes. In 2000,
we reported concerns about NASA’s use of such actions, since this practice
could result in contract cost overruns and cost growth in the International
Space Station program. NASA’s Office of the Inspector General is currently
conducting a review of NASA’s management of undefinitized contract
actions. Data provided by NASA show significant reductions in the use
of these actions. NASA officials attribute recent declines to increased
management controls and emphasis by NASA centers on limiting
undefinitized contract actions.

Moreover, NASA recognizes the urgency of successfully implementing
a fully integrated financial management system. NASA is working on
implementing such a system and expects a new system to be fully
operational in fiscal year 2008. NASA has estimated the life cycle costs
of this system to be $861 million.11 This is NASA’s third attempt toward
implementing a fully integrated financial management system. NASA
abandoned the first two efforts after 12 years and after spending
$180 million. According to NASA, the agency’s current approach focuses
on learning from other organizations’ successes in implementing similar
projects, as opposed to revisiting its own failures. NASA has also
abandoned its prior approach of attempting to acquire and implement the
entire system all at once. Instead, the project is being broken down into
manageable pieces. That is, it is being split into modules that NASA
states it will implement individually, based on the availability of proven
commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) software products. NASA initially
segmented implementation of the integrated financial management project
into 14 modules, but has since reorganized the program into 8 modules.
One of the first modules NASA plans to implement is the core financial
module, which is expected to be fully operational in June 2003. According
to NASA officials, the core financial module will provide NASA’s program
managers with timely, consistent, and reliable information for management
decisions as well as the ability to tie all agency costs to major activities,
including civil service personnel costs.

While NASA has made some progress, much work remains to strengthen
contract oversight. First, NASA has encountered some difficulty in
implementing its new financial management system. As we testified in


11
 Life cycle costs include implementation efforts through fiscal year 2008 and major
upgrades, plus operation and support costs for each module for the first 2 years after the
module goes live.




Page 18                                                        GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
Major Performance and Accountability
Challenges




July 2002, a recent NASA review found that the total cost estimate for
deployment of the core financial module at all NASA centers had grown
considerably beyond the cost initially contemplated. The review also
acknowledged that interoperability and security vulnerabilities exist within
the current information infrastructure, although specific details were not
provided. Furthermore, NASA reported that the agency’s technical project
resources are stretched to the point where the impact of any individual
schedule mishap could have a systemwide effect. To address these
continuing problems, the Administrator appointed an executive to provide
leadership and accountability in the direction and operation of the new
system. He also recently decided that the near-term focus of the program
should be to ensure a successful and rapid deployment of the core financial
module—the backbone of the system—and that the schedule of the
remaining modules should undergo further risks assessments before
moving forward. The keys to success as NASA moves forward in acquiring
and implementing its new financial management system are to employ
proven best practices, including (1) aligning its selection of commercial
components of the system with a NASA-wide blueprint, commonly called
an enterprise architecture; (2) analyzing and understanding the
dependencies among these commercial components before acquiring and
implementing them; (3) following an event-driven system acquisition
strategy; (4) employing effective acquisition management processes, such
as those governing requirements management, risk management, and test
management; (5) ensuring that data existing in legacy systems are
corrected before being loaded into the new system, so that data errors will
not be perpetuated in the new system; and (6) proactively positioning
NASA for the business process changes embedded in the new system by,
for example, providing adequate formal and on-the-job training.

Second, NASA still needs to ensure that it has the right data to oversee
its programs and contractors—specifically data to allow comparisons of
actual costs to estimates, provide an early warning of cost overruns or
other related difficulties, and monitor contract performance and make
program requirement trade-off decisions. As we reported in August 2001
and again in March 2002, despite its past and current efforts, NASA does
not track the actual costs of completed space station components, even
though it often estimates costs at the component level for planning and
budgeting purposes. Several factors contribute to this situation, including
ineffective policies and procedures for updating cost estimates at each
major design phase. NASA is also not yet able to uniformly ensure that
contractors provide cost data at a level that will give managers the
information they need to assess the validity of previous cost estimates,



Page 19                                            GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
                      Major Performance and Accountability
                      Challenges




                      fully monitor the work being performed, and appropriately identify
                      cost drivers. NASA has begun taking actions to improve the type and
                      detail of cost data available for some large programs, but these efforts are
                      not yet complete.

                      Because more work is needed to demonstrate substantial progress in
                      resolving the root causes of NASA’s contract management weaknesses, we
                      are retaining contract management as a major management challenge and a
                      high-risk area. We are continuing to monitor NASA’s progress in addressing
                      contract management weaknesses. In response to a May 24, 2002,
                      bicameral, bipartisan request from the Senate Commerce, Science,
                      and Transportation Committee and the House Science Committee, we
                      are currently assessing the extent to which NASA’s management of the
                      financial management system acquisition is in accordance with
                      effective system acquisition practices and is designed to support NASA’s
                      decision-making needs and external reporting requirements.



Addressing the        NASA’s management challenges reflect a deeper need for broad cultural
                      change within the agency. Particularly important is the need to shift its
Challenges Requires   overall orientation from processes to results; stovepipes to matrixes;
Broader Steps         hierarchical to flatter and more horizontal structures; management control
                      to employee empowerment; and reactive behavior to proactive approaches.
                      Making such a shift will require redefining and communicating priorities
                      and values, and a performance management system that will reinforce
                      agency priorities. It will also require a fundamental reassessment of the
                      organizational layers, levels, units, and locations and possibly realignment
                      to support the agency’s strategic plan and desired transformation.

                      NASA is hardly alone in this respect. Federal agencies generally need to
                      reexamine their policies, programs, and operations in light of a number
                      of trends, including the changing nature of the economy; rapidly evolving
                      science and technology; dramatic shifts in the age and composition of the
                      population; diverse, diffuse, and asymmetrical security threats; and long
                      range fiscal challenges. Leading public and private organizations here in
                      the United States and abroad have found that to successfully transform
                      themselves, they must often change their culture. Leading organizations
                      also understand that their people, processes, technologies, and
                      environments are the key enablers that drive cultural change.




                      Page 20                                             GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
Major Performance and Accountability
Challenges




NASA’s Administrator recognizes the scope of the transformation
needed at NASA. In fact, in early 2002, he stressed that NASA must
avoid getting distracted with challenges that call for simply incremental
or marginal improvements and dedicate itself to overcoming its limits by
finding entirely new ways to achieve its objectives. Moreover, to become
a science-driven organization,12 the Administrator called for a new
commitment to fiscal responsibility and wise use of assets. The
Administrator also underscored the need to eliminate stovepipes within
the agency to build an integrated strategy that links human space flight
and robotic space flight in a stepping stone approach to exploration and
discovery. To make its transformation, NASA is primarily using the
five major initiatives from The President’s Management Agenda
(strategic management of human capital, competitive sourcing, improved
financial performance, expanded electronic government, and budget and
performance integration) as a guide to enact management reforms
within the agency.

The success of NASA’s transformation will hinge on its ability to solve
financial and contract management problems since these problems
threaten the success of virtually every major program. While NASA’s efforts
to design and implement a new financial management system and other
actions taken certainly move NASA forward in this area, other issues
remain. Specifically, NASA is not yet able to uniformly ensure that
contractors provide cost data at a level that will identify cost drivers, give
managers the information they need to make trade-off decisions, and link
back to cost estimates. Also, NASA has not yet shifted management
attention away from yearly budgets to total costs or the need to adhere to
controls that focus on reducing cost, scheduling, and performance risks.
Overall, our reviews as well as NASA’s show that finance is not viewed as
intrinsic to NASA’s program management decision process, nor does it
focus on what “could” and “should” take place from an analytical cost-
planning standpoint.




12
  Specifically, the Administrator would like the science of exploration and discovery to
determine where NASA should go next and also to use technology to enable advances and to
facilitate greater achievements.




Page 21                                                    GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
Major Performance and Accountability
Challenges




To address these issues, NASA must transform its financial management
operations so that it better supports NASA’s core mission. Specifically, as
discussed in our study of leading private sector and state organizations,13
NASA must go beyond obtaining an unqualified audit opinion toward
(1) routinely generating reliable cost and performance information and
analysis, (2) undertaking other value-added activities that support strategic
decision-making and mission performance, and (3) strengthening NASA’s
financial team to better support the agency’s mission and goals. NASA must
also view the implementation of its new financial management system as
an opportunity to fundamentally change the way it does business. As we
found in the same study, to reap the full benefit of a modern, integrated
financial management system, these organizations reengineered their core
business processes. In fact, productivity gains typically result from more
efficient processes, not from simply automating old ones.

Lastly, to successfully implement its human capital plan, financial
management, and other reforms, NASA will need sustained commitment
from senior leaders. Changing an organization like NASA with its
deep-seated culture and tradition is a massive undertaking that will take
considerable effort and time to implement. Given the high stakes involved,
it is critical that NASA’s leadership provide the necessary direction,
oversight, and sustained attention to ensure that reforms stay on track.
In this regard, NASA’s Administrator comes to the position with a strong
management background and expertise in financial management. He has
already made a personal commitment to change the workforce and the
way NASA does business. Moreover, NASA has appointed a chief operating
officer in order to provide sustained management attention to strategic
planning, organizational alignment, human capital strategy, performance
management, and other elements necessary for transformation success.
The challenge ahead for NASA will be to achieve the same level of
commitment from managers at NASA centers so that NASA can effectively
use existing and new authorities to manage its people strategically and
quickly implement the tools needed to strengthen management
and oversight.




13
 U.S. General Accounting Office, Executive Guide: Creating Value Through World-Class
Financial Management, GAO/AIMD-00-134 (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 1, 2000). Our executive
guide was based on practices used by nine leading organizations—Boeing, Chase Manhattan
Bank, General Electric, Pfizer, Hewlett-Packard, Owens Corning, and the states of
Massachusetts, Texas, and Virginia.




Page 22                                                    GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
GAO Contacts




               Subjects covered in this report           Contact persons
               Strengthening strategic human capital     Allen Li, Director
               management                                Acquisition and Sourcing Management
                                                         (202) 512-4841
               Controlling International Space Station   lia@gao.gov
               costs
                                                         Gregory D. Kutz, Director
               Reducing space launch costs               Financial Management and Assurance
                                                         (202) 512-9505
               Correcting weaknesses in contract         kutzg@gao.gov
               management




               Page 23                                                 GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
Related GAO Products



Performance and         Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: A Governmentwide
Accountability Series   Perspective. GAO-01-241. Washington, D.C.: January 2001.

                        Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: National Aeronautics
                        and Space Administration. GAO-01-258. Washington, D.C.: January 2001.

                        High-Risk Series: An Update. GAO-01-263. Washington, D.C.: January 2001.



Human Capital           Human Capital: Effective Use of Flexibilities Can Assist Agencies
                        in Managing Their Workforces. GAO-03-2. Washington, D.C.:
                        December 6, 2002.

                        NASA Management Challenges: Human Capital and Other Critical Areas
                        Need to be Addressed. GAO-02-945T. Washington, D.C.: July 18, 2002.

                        Managing For Results: Using Strategic Human Capital Management
                        to Drive Transformational Change. GAO-02-940T. Washington, D.C.:
                        July 15, 2002.

                        Managing for Results: Building on the Momentum for Strategic Human
                        Capital Reform. GAO-02-528T. Washington, D.C.: March 18, 2002.

                        A Model of Strategic Human Capital Management. GAO-02-373SP.
                        Washington, D.C.: March 15, 2002.

                        Space Shuttle Safety: Update on NASA’s Progress in Revitalizing
                        the Shuttle Workforce and Making Safety Upgrades. GAO-01-1122T.
                        Washington, D.C.: September 6, 2001.

                        Human Capital: A Self-Assessment Checklist for Agency Leaders.
                        GAO/OCG-00-14G. Washington, D.C.: September 2000.

                        Space Shuttle: Human Capital and Safety Upgrade Challenges Require
                        Continued Attention. GAO/NSIAD/GGD-00-186. Washington, D.C.:
                        August 15, 2000.

                        Space Shuttle: Human Capital Challenges Require Management
                        Attention. GAO/T-NSIAD-00-133. Washington, D.C.: March 22, 2000.




                        Page 24                                         GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
                              Related GAO Products




                              Human Capital: A Self-Assessment Checklist for Agency Leaders.
                              GAO/GGD-99-179. Washington, D.C.: September 1999.



International Space Station   Space Station: Actions Under Way to Manage Cost, but Significant
                              Challenges Remain. GAO-02-735. Washington, D.C.: July 17, 2002.

                              NASA: Compliance With Cost Limits Cannot Be Verified. GAO-02-504R.
                              Washington, D.C.: April 10, 2002.

                              NASA: Leadership and Systems Needed to Effect Financial Management
                              Improvements. GAO-02-551T. Washington, D.C.: March 20, 2002.

                              NASA: International Space Station and Shuttle Support Cost Limits.
                              GAO-01-100R. Washington D.C.: August 31, 2001.

                              Space Station: Inadequate Planning and Design Led to Propulsion
                              Module Project Failure. GAO-01-633. Washington, D.C.: June 20, 2001.

                              Space Station: Prime Contract Changes. GAO/NSIAD-00-103R.
                              Washington, D.C.: May 11, 2000.

                              Space Station: Russian-Built Zarya and Service Module Compliance
                              With Safety Requirements. GAO/NSIAD-00-96R. Washington, D.C.:
                              April 28, 2000.

                              Space Station: Russian Compliance with Safety Requirements.
                              GAO/T-NSIAD-00-128. Washington, D.C.: March 16, 2000.

                              Space Station: Russian Commitment and Cost Control Problems.
                              GAO/NSIAD-99-175. Washington, D.C.: August 17, 1999.

                              Space Station: Cost to Operate After Assembly Is Uncertain.
                              GAO/NSIAD-99-177. Washington, D.C.: August 6, 1999.

                              Space Station: Status of Russian Involvement and Cost Control Efforts.
                              GAO/T-NSIAD-99-117. Washington, D.C.: April 29, 1999.

                              Space Station: U.S. Life-Cycle Funding Requirements.
                              GAO/T-NSIAD-98-212. Washington, D.C: June 24, 1998.




                              Page 25                                          GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
               Related GAO Products




               International Space Station: U.S. Life-Cycle Funding Requirements.
               GAO/NSIAD-98-147. Washington, D.C.: May 22, 1998.

               Space Station: Cost Control Problems. GAO/T-NSIAD-98-54.
               Washington, D.C.: November 5, 1997.

               Space Station: Deteriorating Cost and Schedule Performance Under
               the Prime Contract. GAO/T-NSIAD-97-262. Washington, D.C.:
               September 18, 1997.

               Space Station: Cost Control Problems Are Worsening. GAO/NSIAD-97-213.
               Washington, D.C.: September 16, 1997.

               NASA: Major Management Challenges. GAO/T-NSIAD-97-178.
               Washington, D.C.: July 24, 1997.

               Space Station: Cost Control Problems Continue to Worsen.
               GAO/T-NSIAD-97-177. Washington, D.C.: June 18, 1997.

               Space Station: Cost Control Difficulties Continue. GAO/T-NSIAD-96-210.
               Washington, D.C.: July 24, 1996.

               Space Station: Cost Control Difficulties Continue. GAO/NSIAD-96-135.
               Washington, D.C.: July 17, 1996.



Launch Costs   Space Transportation: Challenges Facing NASA’s Space Launch
               Initiative. GAO-02-1020. Washington, D.C.: September 17, 2002.

               Space Transportation: Critical Areas NASA Needs to Address in
               Managing Its Reusable Launch Vehicle Program. GAO-01-826T.
               Washington, D.C.: June 20, 2001.

               Space Transportation: Progress of the X-33 Reusable Launch Vehicle
               Program. GAO/T-NSIAD-99-243. Washington, D.C.: September 29, 1999.

               Space Transportation: Status of the X-33 Reusable Launch Vehicle
               Program. GAO/NSIAD-99-176. Washington, D.C.: August 11, 1999.




               Page 26                                         GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
                      Related GAO Products




Contract Management   Space Station: Actions Under Way to Manage Cost, but Significant
                      Challenges Remain. GAO-02-735. Washington, D.C.: July 17, 2002.

                      NASA: Compliance With Cost Limits Cannot Be Verified. GAO-02-504R.
                      Washington, D.C.: April 10, 2002.

                      NASA: Leadership and Systems Needed to Effect Financial Management
                      Improvements. GAO-02-551T. Washington, D.C.: March 20, 2002.

                      NASA: International Space Station and Shuttle Support Cost Limits.
                      GAO-01-1000R. Washington, D.C.: August 31, 2001.

                      Space Station: Inadequate Planning and Design Led to Propulsion
                      Module Project Failure. GAO-01-633. Washington, D.C.: June 20, 2001.

                      Space Station: Prime Contract Changes. GAO/NSIAD-00-103R.
                      Washington, D.C.: May 11, 2000.

                      Executive Guide: Creating Value Through World-class Financial
                      Management. GAO/AIMD-00-134. Washington, D.C.: April 1, 2000.

                      NASA Procurement: Status of Efforts to Improve Oversight.
                      GAO/NSIAD-98-198R. Washington, D.C.: July 13, 1998.

                      NASA: Major Management Challenges. GAO/T-NSIAD-97-178.
                      Washington, D.C.: July 24, 1997.

                      High-Risk Program: Information on Selected High-Risk Areas.
                      GAO/HR-97-30. Washington, D.C.: May 16, 1997.

                      NASA Procurement: Contract Management Oversight.
                      GAO/NSIAD-97-114R. Washington, D.C.: March 18, 1997.

                      NASA: Procurement Assessments. GAO/NSIAD-97-80R. Washington, D.C.:
                      February 4, 1997.

                      NASA: Contract Management. GAO/NSIAD-96-95R. Washington, D.C.:
                      February 16, 1996.




                      Page 27                                          GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
Performance and Accountability and
High-Risk Series

              Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: A Governmentwide
              Perspective. GAO-03-95.

              Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of
              Agriculture. GAO-03-96.

              Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of
              Commerce. GAO-03-97.

              Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of
              Defense. GAO-03-98.

              Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of
              Education. GAO-03-99.

              Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of
              Energy. GAO-03-100.

              Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of Health
              and Human Services. GAO-03-101.

              Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of
              Homeland Security. GAO-03-102.

              Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of
              Housing and Urban Development. GAO-03-103.

              Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of the
              Interior. GAO-03-104.

              Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of
              Justice. GAO-03-105.

              Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of Labor.
              GAO-03-106.

              Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of State.
              GAO-03-107.

              Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of
              Transportation. GAO-03-108.




              Page 28                                      GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
Performance and Accountability and
High-Risk Series




Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of the
Treasury. GAO-03-109.

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of
Veterans Affairs. GAO-03-110.

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: U.S. Agency for
International Development. GAO-03-111.

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Environmental
Protection Agency. GAO-03-112.

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Federal Emergency
Management Agency. GAO-03-113.

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: National Aeronautics
and Space Administration. GAO-03-114.

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Office of Personnel
Management. GAO-03-115.

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Small Business
Administration. GAO-03-116.

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Social Security
Administration. GAO-03-117.

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: U.S. Postal Service.
GAO-03-118.

High-Risk Series: An Update. GAO-03-119.

High-Risk Series: Strategic Human Capital Management. GAO-03-120.

High-Risk Series: Protecting Information Systems Supporting the
Federal Government and the Nation’s Critical Infrastructures.
GAO-03-121.

High-Risk Series: Federal Real Property. GAO-03-122.




Page 29                                         GAO-03-114 NASA Challenges
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