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Setting priorities among its different research activities is a major management challenge for NASA, as is controlling the costs of its supporting capabilities, such as the Space Shuttle and Space Station. NASA is a government-wide leader in the human capital and budget and performance integration initiatives, and is making substantial progress in competitive sourcing.

Initiative Status Progress

Human Capital — NASA’s status has improved to yellow because it is implementing a strategic human capital plan. A key element of this plan is a human capital tracking system, which allows NASA to identify workforce deficiencies across the agency and undertake corrective actions.

Competitive Sourcing — In competitive sourcing, NASA has achieved the government-wide goal by contracting out 15 percent of its commercial positions but still has not conducted a competition or finalized a plan to achieve the long-term 50 percent goal.

Financial Performance — NASA’s received a disclaimer of opinion on its 2001 audit. However, NASA has addressed the issues from the audit, and it could improve from a red to a yellow rating if it earns an unqualified opinion on its 2002 audit. NASA also has begun implementing a common, agencywide financial management system.

Enhanced E-Government — NASA’s progress rating is green due to recent actions to improve its information technology (IT) architecture and its reporting on IT security and project justifications. NASA’s status rating could improve if its new processes yield improved architectures, IT security, and project justifications.

Budget/Performance Integration — NASA’s status improved to yellow because the agency budgets for the full cost of its programs, including workforce, facilities, and overhead, and has integrated its budget and performance reports.

arrows indicate change in status since baseline evaluation on September 30, 2001.

Program Assessments

NASA’s three program assessments demonstrate a wide range of performance, from the Mars Exploration Program, which was rated effective for its planning and execution since the loss of two Mars missions in the late 1990s, to the Space Station program, which was rated adequate because it is still recovering from recent cost overruns. All NASA programs must improve performance measures so that the annual and long-term results of multi-year investments in NASA research are made clearer.
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