The President's vision for space exploration (Vision) directs the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to retire the space shuttle following completion of the International Space Station, planned for the end of the decade. The retirement process will last several years and impact thousands of critically skilled NASA civil service and contractor employees that support the program. Key to implementing the Vision is NASA's ability to sustain this workforce to support safe space shuttle operations through retirement. Because of the potential workforce issues that could affect the safety and effectiveness of operations through the space shuttle's retirement, GAO was asked to identify (1) the progress of efforts to develop a strategy for sustaining the space shuttle workforce through retirement and (2) factors that may have impeded these efforts.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|National Aeronautics and Space Administration||1. To better position the agency to sustain a critically skilled space shuttle workforce through retirement, the Acting Administrator of NASA should direct the Associate Administrator for the Office of Space Operations to implement an approach, as part of its preliminary planning efforts, for identifying the program's future workforce needs that takes into account various future scenarios the program could face. The program should then use this information to develop strategies for meeting the needs of its potential future scenarios. The information collected and strategies devised during scenario planning will then be readily available to be incorporated into the program's detailed workforce planning efforts once any uncertainties have been resolved.|