NASA Personnel:

Challenges to Achieving Workforce Reductions

NSIAD-96-176: Published: Aug 2, 1996. Publicly Released: Aug 19, 1996.


Louis J. Rodrigues
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Office of Public Affairs
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) efforts to downsize its staff.

GAO found that: (1) NASA has reduced its fiscal year (FY) 2000 full-time equivalent (FTE) goal by more than 3,000 personnel; (2) NASA has provided eligible employees with voluntary separation incentive payments in exchange for their voluntary retirement or resignation; (3) two-thirds of the employees that left NASA in 1994 and 1995 took buyouts; (4) NASA will not be able to reduce its personnel levels by FY 2000 without invoking involuntarily separation measures; (5) NASA is relying on normal attrition, limited hiring, and redeployment to ensure a proper mix of skills throughout the agency; (6) NASA is shifting its program management control from headquarters to field centers and is using a single prime contractor to manage its space shuttle program at Kennedy Space Center; and (7) NASA would like to develop space science institutes to improve the quality of its science programs, but these efforts have been largely abandoned due to concerns regarding the transfer of NASA employees to institute positions.

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

    Matter for Congressional Consideration

    Matter: Congress may wish to consider requiring NASA to submit a workforce restructuring plan for achieving its FY 2000 FTE goal.

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: NASA's FY1997 appropriations act contains this provision.

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