Space agency making small steps toward improved performance

NASA's performance plan for fiscal 2002 shows marked improvement over previous years' plans, but still falls short in many areas, according to a new report by the General Accounting Office. Under the 1993 Government Performance and Results Act, federal agencies are required to craft five-year strategic plans, along with annual performance reports and performance plans. In its latest report, the agency included a clearer picture of how achieving its performance goals would benefit the public than it had previously, GAO found. NASA also provided comprehensive explanations of how it measures NASA's performance data. For its report, "NASA: Status of Plans for Achieving Key Outcomes and Addressing Major Management Issues" (GAO-02-184), GAO reviewed NASA's fiscal 2002 performance plan to assess the agency's planned performance on three goals identified by Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., as important missions for the agency: expanding systems devoted to enhancing scientific knowledge of the Earth, accelerating the commercial development of space, and deploying and operating the International Space Station safely and cost-effectively. Thompson requested the report from GAO as part of a series on agency performance plans. GAO also compared NASA's fiscal 2002 performance plan with its fiscal 2001 plan and identified other major management challenges facing the agency, including effectively implementing former Administrator Daniel Goldin's the "faster, better, cheaper" management strategy and weaknesses in contract management. According to the report, NASA's fiscal 2002 performance report shows a clear effort by the agency to incorporate recommendations and concerns of Congress, the agency's inspector general and GAO. "NASA portrays its planned efforts to verify and validate performance information more comprehensively than in 2001," the report found. The agency's efforts gave GAO greater confidence that its performance measures would be credible because the report includes specific agency databases and describes methods NASA will use to guarantee its performance information. The latest plan also includes more links between goals and expected results, GAO found. However, GAO said NASA's report fell short in some areas. According to GAO, some goals were added and others were deleted with no explanation. GAO also said the report failed to link human capital initiatives to performance goals and did not provide enough details on budget accountability reforms for the Space Station. For the most part, NASA officials agreed with GAO's findings, promising to modify the agency's fiscal 2003 performance plan using recommendations from GAO's report.
Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.