Management Issues at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

T-NSIAD-91-48: Published: Aug 1, 1991. Publicly Released: Aug 1, 1991.

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GAO discussed management issues at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). GAO noted that: (1) in spite of its efforts, NASA still lacks a strategic planning process and has not issued a strategic plan for the entire agency and two of its four major program offices; (2) the decentralized nature of NASA operations emphasize its need for effective headquarters guidance, policies, standards, and oversight for such field center activities as environmental control, facility maintenance, scientific data management, and procurement management; (3) NASA has done a commendable job in managing the continuity and quality of its scientific and engineering work force in a very competitive environment; (4) NASA faces a major management challenge in identifying and mitigating program and project developmental problems that significantly and adversely affect project costs, schedules, and performance; (5) although NASA substantially complied with federal financial reporting requirements, it could improve its methods for accounting for and reporting on intra-agency transactions, capitalization policy, and inventory valuation; (6) current NASA accounting and reporting systems are costly and outdated and do not comply with requirements for a single integrated financial management system; and (7) NASA difficulty in managing the space science data it has already collected demonstrates its need to develop data-handling capabilities for its other major projects.

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