Major Management Challenges

T-NSIAD-97-178: Published: Jul 24, 1997. Publicly Released: Jul 24, 1997.

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GAO discussed the major management challenges currently facing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), focusing on: (1) the NASA programs and activities GAO sees as priorities for possible congressional action and oversight; and (2) how the Government Performance and Results Act could help in addressing the major management challenges that NASA faces.

GAO noted that: (1) NASA has identified the major overall challenge it faces, to manage a world-class research and development agency for aeronautics and space science and technology in an environment of diminishing resources; (2) NASA has reduced its program plans substantially over the past several years to align them better with likely budgets; (3) however, recent plans for balancing the federal budget may require NASA to absorb additional reductions; (4) to help adjust its programs to likely budgets, NASA began a number of years ago to develop and refine a strategic plan and strategic planning process; (5) key laws, such as the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 and the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990, are intended to provide a framework for congressional oversight of agency strategic planning and management to accomplish goals; (6) NASA's strategic planning provides an appropriate starting point for discussing many of the management challenges the agency faces; (7) overall, GAO sees 11 challenges for NASA management; (8) these challenges fall into two categories, three that require immediate attention and eight that warrant "watchful waiting," or more routine, periodic oversight; (9) a primary distinction between the two categories is that the management challenges in GAO's first category may require congressional action to help resolve; and (10) at the Committee's request, GAO provided information several months ago on all 11 challenges.

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