Space Program Safety:

Funding for NASA's Safety Organizations Should Be Centralized

NSIAD-90-187: Published: Aug 16, 1990. Publicly Released: Aug 16, 1990.

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GAO reviewed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) safety-related programs to determine whether NASA complied with recommendations that it establish an independent organization with direct authority for safety programs.

GAO found that: (1) NASA established the Office of Safety, Reliability, Maintainability and Quality Assurance (SRM&QA), under which field center safety organizations reported to center directors and SRM&QA regarding safety-related activities; (2) while the SRM&QA organizational structure appeared adequate, field center safety organizations were not entirely independent, since they obtained 90 percent of their fiscal year 1990 budgets from offices that had projects subject to their oversight; (3) NASA officials expressed concern that the current funding process could compromise independence or result in inadequate funding for SRM&QA; and (4) NASA lacked a single standard process to budget for SRM&QA activities.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: The Administrator, NASA, should modify the processes and procedures for formulating the SRM&QA budget to ensure that SRM&QA activities are funded independently of the programs and activities they are responsible for overseeing.

    Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: NASA believes that centralizing funding within SRM&QA could lead to a lessening of the safety and mission quality responsibilities of program managers; diminish the interaction between center SRM&QA organizations and program offices; and require a significant increase in SRM&QA staff to properly administer the function.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, NASA, should establish the SRM&QA budget within the Office of SRM&QA.

    Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: NASA believes that centralizing funding within SRM&QA could lead to a lessening of the safety and mission quality responsibilities of program managers; diminish the interaction between center SRM&QA organizations and program offices; and require a significant increase in SRM&QA staff to properly administer the function.

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