REVIEW TEAM PROPOSES SWEEPING MANAGEMENT, ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGES AT NASA
An internal NASA review team has produced proposals to enable the agency to meet the tough funding targets set by the Administration in the 1996 budget, Administrator Daniel S. Goldin said today. The proposals include sweeping management and organizational changes to cut spending an additional $5 billion by the end of the decade.
"I'm pleased with what I've seen so far," Goldin said. "We've found ways to streamline operations, reduce overlap, and significantly cut costs without cutting our world-class space and aeronautics programs. We have much hard work before us, but I believe a stronger and more efficient NASA will emerge."
The internal review does not propose closing any of the agency's ten major field centers, or shutting down any major programs. Goldin said he is determined to cut infrastructure at the Agency by reducing jobs, facilities, and administrative overhead, rather than terminating core science, aeronautics, and exploration programs. However, Goldin warned that further deep budget cuts now under consideration in Congress would threaten the survival of some NASA centers and major Agency programs.
"Reaching the levels in the Administration budget was an incredibly difficult task," Goldin said. "The deeper cuts Congress is contemplating simply go too far, and I am committed to fighting them."
"NASA was already in the process of taking a $35 billion (31%) cut over five years when the President asked us to cut an additional $5 billion. This is an agency designed to operate with a $22 billion budget annually, and we'll be at $13 billion by the end of the decade under the Administration budget," Goldin said.
"The American public wants a leaner, more efficient NASA, and we're prepared to meet that challenge. But they also want and deserve a NASA that maintains our nation's leadership in space exploration, aeronautics, science, and technology," he said.
The internal review, known as the "Zero-Base Review," proposes streamlining functions at the NASA centers, so each installation becomes a "center of excellence," concentrating on specific aspects of NASA's mission. At the same time, the proposed changes would reduce overlap and consolidate administrative and program functions across the Agency.
Under the review team's findings, NASA's total civil service employment levels would be cut to approximately 17,500 by the year 2000. This is the lowest level of civil servants at NASA since 1961. In addition, the budget reductions would cut an estimated 25,000 contractor personnel. The actual number and distribution of contractor job losses Agencywide would be determined by future business decisions made by the contractors.
The review team proposals will be assessed through the summer months and then become part of the Agency's Fiscal Year 1997 budget, due to be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget later this year. Goldin began the review last September following guidelines issued by the National Performance Review, a Government-wide effort headed by Vice President Gore to streamline executive agencies. The NASA study intensified in January to meet the President's budget reduction targets.