Telecommunications Network:

NASA Could Better Manage Its Planned Consolidation

AIMD-96-33: Published: Apr 9, 1996. Publicly Released: Apr 9, 1996.

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Jack L. Brock, Jr
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) plan to consolidate the management and operations of its wide area telecommunications networks.

GAO found that: (1) NASA has 5 existing or planned wide area networks that provide a variety of communications services; (2) prompted by improvements in communications technology and the need to control costs, NASA intends to consolidate the networks; (3) in August 1995, NASA implemented a plan expected to save $236 million over the next 6 years that will consolidate all of its telecommunications services at the Marshall Space Flight Center; and (4) the adopted plan does not seek near term cost savings as aggressively as other existing proposals.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: NASA concurred with the recommendation and signed an agreement with the National Communications System to establish an independent objective review of NASA's telecommunications wide area network to determine the most cost-effective and technically feasible approach to meet NASA's needs. The review was conducted by Booz-Allen & Hamilton, Inc., which issued a final report on October 24, 1996. The report discusses NASA's telecommunications needs, examines alternatives for addressing them, and recommends an approach determined to be the most appropriate.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, should direct a team of agency officials, which includes team members not affiliated with any of the competing centers, to conduct an objective review of NASA's telecommunications needs and how best to satisfy them. This review should examine a broad range of alternatives, including but not limited to the existing proposals from the different centers and review team studies. Following this review, the most cost-effective approach should be implemented.

    Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration


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