Priority Open Recommendations: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

GAO-19-424SP Published: Apr 12, 2019. Publicly Released: Apr 19, 2019.
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Fast Facts

Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help improve the federal government. We alert department heads to the recommendations where they can save the most money, address issues on our High Risk List, or significantly improve government operations.

This report outlines our 9 priority open recommendations for NASA as of April 2019.

For example, in 2016, we recommended NASA update an analysis to inform the likelihood of the Orion program meeting its cost and schedule goals. The Orion program is developing a crew capsule for space flight.

Since our previous letter in March 2018, NASA implemented 10 of our priority recommendations.


Graphic showing that this report discusses GAO's 2019 priority recommendations for NASA

Graphic showing that this report discusses GAO's 2019 priority recommendations for NASA

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What GAO Found

In March 2018, GAO identified 18 priority recommendations for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Since then, NASA has implemented 10 of those recommendations by, among other things, taking actions to better align its strategic sourcing practices with those used by leading commercial companies and improving controls over some of its information systems.

In April 2019, GAO identified one additional priority recommendation for NASA, bringing the total number to nine. These recommendations involve the following areas:

  • monitoring program costs and execution. 
  • improving efficiency and effectiveness.

NASA's continued attention to these issues could lead to significant improvements in government operations.

Why GAO Did This Study

Priority open recommendations are the GAO recommendations that warrant priority attention from heads of key departments or agencies because their implementation could save large amounts of money; improve congressional and/or executive branch decision making on major issues; eliminate mismanagement, fraud, and abuse; or ensure that programs comply with laws and funds are legally spent, among other benefits. Since 2015 GAO has sent letters to selected agencies to highlight the importance of implementing such recommendations.

For more information, contact Michele Mackin at (202) 512-4841 or

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