NASA: Status of Achieving Key Outcomes and Addressing Major Management Challenges

GAO-01-868 Published: Jul 31, 2001. Publicly Released: Jul 31, 2001.
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GAO reviewed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) fiscal year 2000 performance report to assess the agency's progress in achieving selected key outcomes important to NASA's mission. The selected key outcomes are to (1) expand scientific knowledge of the Earth system, (2) expand the commercial development of space, and (3) deploy and operate the International Space Station safely and cost effectively. NASA reported mixed progress in achieving these key outcomes. In general, NASA's strategies for achieving unmet performance targets for theses outcomes are clear and reasonable. NASA achieved most targets related to expanding knowledge of the Earth system. However, its progress in other areas was more limited. NASA has made improvements in its fiscal year 2000 performance report in comparison to its fiscal year 1999 performance report. Specifically, NASA describes its verification and validation efforts and discloses its data sources for each performance target. NASA's report partially addressed the governmentwide high-risk area of strategic human capital management but not the area of information security. GAO has previously found that NASA lacks an effective agencywide security program. NASA's report only addressed two of the three critical management challenges: (1) correcting weaknesses in contract management and (2) effectively implementing the faster, better, cheaper approach to space exploration projects. It did not address the challenge of controlling space station costs.

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