Space:

Need for NASA To Provide Congress More Complete Cost Information on Its Projects

PSAD-81-7: Published: Nov 26, 1980. Publicly Released: Nov 26, 1980.

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GAO made a study to determine if there were weaknesses in the cost estimating process of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) which, if corrected, would result in more accurate and reliable estimates to provide Congress with more complete cost information in its annual budget justification documents. NASA had underestimated the costs for some of its major projects. As a result NASA had to request supplemental appropriations to continue the development of the space shuttle program and is anticipating a cost overrun on another project.

For the three projects included in the study, GAO found no major problems regarding those costs which NASA included in its project estimates. However, NASA did not include certain major categories of costs in its estimates. Also, the justification that NASA provides Congress in support of its projects still does not identify the total NASA resources which will be required for the projects. Civil service salaries of personnel directly assigned to the projects were not included in the cost estimates for the projects. The budget justifications did not provide or compare a project's planning or development estimate with the current cost estimate. The budget justifications showed only the funding requirements for the budget year and the current and immediately prior year with no data showing funds used in other prior years or estimates of funding requirements through the completion of a project.

Matters for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: The various congressional committees with responsibility for NASA programs should require NASA to include, in its budget justification documents, an expanded format to show the total funds used on a project as well as projected funding requirements through completion of a project.

  2. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: The various congressional committees with responsibility for NASA programs should require NASA to include, in its budget justification documents for those projects for which no project status report is prepared, a project cost history that includes all project related costs and a comparison of each project's planning or development estimate with the current estimate and an explanation of the differences between the two estimates.

  3. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: The various congressional committees with responsibility for NASA programs should require NASA to include in its cost estimates the cost associated with the direct civil service personnel requirements.

 

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