National Bureau of Standards--Information and Observations on Its Administration

CED-79-29: Published: Mar 21, 1979. Publicly Released: Mar 21, 1979.

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Information and observations on the more important aspects of National Bureau of Standards (NBS) administrative practices are presented in response to Senate committee concerns about persistent reports of a decline in NBS scientific capabilities and ability to respond adequately to specific congressional assignments.

The Office of Management and Budget has not allowed NBS to use its appropriations to perform work which is the primary responsibility of other Federal agencies, even though specific legislation requires that NBS perform the work or it should be performed under the NBS regulations. Procedures have not been established to monitor the need for new equipment or the use being made of existing equipment. Scientists have been required to perform work formerly done by technicians, resulting in reduced time available for work at a higher level. A major reorganization of NBS in April 1978, combined with functional changes and legislative requirements, may require accounting system revision. Application of complex three-tiered overhead costs could be improved. NBS long-range planning lacked an overall conceptual framework to relate its programs to its major mission or to the needs of national scientific, governmental, and industrial communities.

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