June 1996 Archives

Congress of the United States
House of Representatives
Committee on Government Reform and Oversight
2157 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20516-6143

June 28, 1996

Mr. Daniel Goldin
Administrator
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
300 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20546

Dear Mr. Goldin:

As Chairman of the National Security, International Affairs, and Criminal Justice Subcommittee of the Government Reform and Oversight Committee, I will be holding the first of a series of oversight hearings on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration infrastructure "downsizing". I am writing to invite you to testify before the Subcommittee at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 24, 1996, in room 2154 Rayburn House Office Building.

1:17 P.M. - Mr. Roemer asked unanimous consent to offer an amendment out of order. Agreed to without objection. Amendment offered by Mr. Roemer. An amendment, printed as amendment No. 39 in the Congressional Record of June 19, 1996, to reduce the funds appropriated for the space station by $75 million.
1:18 P.M. - DEBATE - Pursuant to a previous unanimous consent agreement, the Committee of the Whole proceeded with 20 minutes of debate on the Roemer amendment.
1:34 P.M. - On agreeing to the Roemer amendment Failed by voice vote.
2:29 P.M. - On agreeing to the Brown (CA) amendment Agreed to by voice vote. Amendment offered by Mr. Gejdenson. An amendment, printed as amendment No. 62 to restore $1.8 million in funding not appropriated in the bill for the Health and Human Services Department's Office of Consumer Affairs and to reduce funding for NASA's Human Space Flight program comensurately.
DEBATE - Pursuant to a previous unanimous consent agreement, the Committee of the Whole proceeded with 20 minutes of debate on the Gejdenson amendment.
2:32 P.M. - By unanimous consent, the Gejdenson amendment was withdrawn.
9:34 P.M. - Amendment offered by Mr. Roemer. An amendment, printed as amendment No. 40 in the Congressional Record of June 19, 1996 to prohibit the use of funds appropriated in the bill for NASA's "Bion 11" and "Bion 12" projects.
9:57 P.M. - Vote postponed

Minutes of Senior Staff and Center Director's Meeting June 24, 1996

The following documents the discussions addressed at the Senior Staff and Center Director's Meeting on June 24, 1996. Mr. Goldin was in attendance. Action assignments have been placed in brackets [ ] for easy identification.

We have completed the review of your submissions to the target Headquarters (HQ) personnel guidelines you received on April 17, 1996. We are proceeding to the next phase and have enclosed a revised target ceiling for your organizations. The recommended level of additional functional migrations is also provided. Current NASA HQ detailees to other agencies are listed separately and are not included in your ceiling.

Consistent with the recommendations of the Functional Management Structure and Process Study led by Roy Estess, it is now appropriate for each functional/staff office to begin negotiations on functional "contracts". It is essential that the Enterprise Associate Administrators actively participate in this activity to clearly understand the support services within their office vis-a-vis those provided by the functional/staff offices. Functional/staff services must be categorized as either functional leadership, staff to the Administrator, or central service provision and for each area the roles and responsibilities, reporting relationships, funding and resource management approaches must be identified. Some specific guidance is provided below. This list may not be all inclusive; it is based on our discussions to date regarding your submissions.

TO: Distribution
FROM: Team Leaders, LP/S Phase 1 Integrated Product Team (IPT)
SUBJECT: LP/S Phase 1 IPT Risk Mitigation and Flight Demonstration Experiments June 19 Board Minutes

The LP/S Phase 1 IPT Board met Wednesday, June 19, 1996, to review a proposed risk mitigation data analysis opportunity.

Mir-I Spacecraft Contamination Sources: Identifying and Reducing ISS Program Risks EM2/S.Koontz summarized the recent analysis of the brackets which supported the Docking Module camera (up on STS-74, returned on STS-76) for five months. Analysis suggests that the sides facing the Mir solar array controlling mechanisms were contaminated by leaks from the hydraulic control system. Outward facing bracket surfaces facing the Russian hardware turned brown. The inward surfaces remained white. The Alpha (absorption) changes from 0.2 to 0.5 (O is white; 1 is black). ISS allocated 30 Angstroms per year to station molecular deposition. Analysis of the camera brackets suggests 16 Angstroms permanent, non-reevaporating, deposition per day. Even larger silicone deposition rates are sugested by QCM data from: 1) DTO-829 QCM data taken during the sensor cooling period before Russian thruster firings (200 Angstroms per day), 2) Euro-Mir QCM sensor data (200 to 400 Angstroms per day, 3) Russian QCM sensor data ( 400 Angstroms per day). The available QCM data is probably worst case, does not include re-evaporation periods.

United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

June 18, 1996

The Honorable Al Gore
Vice President of the United States
Old Executive Office building
Washington, DC 20501

Dear Mr. Vice President:

We applaud your ongoing leadership and commitment to reinventing government. But we are particularly concerned about the recent announcement that NASA will use reductions-in-force to cut its headquarters' staff by about one-half, or about 700 employees, by October 1997. We are concerned that such an action will unduly hurt federal employees, jeopardize efforts to create a government that works better and costs less, and weaken the country's space program.

Our nation's economy is vibrant and strong today because industry has reinvented itself to become focused on customers and quality. The Federal Government is doing the same, working to provide world class quality for each tax dollar. But industry has learned that success in attaining quality goals requires full partnership with its workforce, freeing up employee innovation and initiative. Effective corporate managers forced to downsize their organization do so in such a way that preserves corporate vitality and productivity, respects employees, and protects workforce morale.

JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV
West Virginia
United States Senate
WASHINGTON DC 20510-4802

June 18, 1996

Dear Dan,

I am concerned to learn of plans by NASA to cut up to one-half of its headquarters' staff by October of next year. I wish to learn more of the current staffing situation at NASA, and to work with you to identify any actions that might be taken to ease the impact of reductions on the agency and its employees.

You have worked hard to restructure NASA and to maintain current programs in a difficult budget climate. The proposed deep cuts in NASA's headquarters staff are clearly part of this restructuring. But as we in Congress work on NASA's future budgets I want to make sure that I understand both the causes and the likely effects of these headquarters cuts, as well as cuts elsewhere in the agency, Therefore, this better requests responses to the following questions:

Subject: Minutes of Senior Staff and Date: Thursday, June 20, 1996 1:53PM

Minutes of Senior Staff and Center Director's Meeting June 17, 1996

The following documents the discussions addressed at the Senior Staff and Center Director's Meeting on June 17, 1996. Mr. Goldin was in attendance. Action assignments have been placed in brackets, [ ], for easy identification.

Goldin's appearance at the scheduled meeting was shifted several times during the day. He finally appeared at 4:15pm and stayed nearly an hour.

The dialogue was structured like a speech with almost no interaction from the attendees, including Wes Huntress the AA for Space Science (seated next to Goldin). The room was silent for several minutes after Goldin left, as they appeared to struggle with the breadth of his challenge for the Strategic Plan.

Notes:

NASA's future vision is fuzzy due to the political forces at work, and will remain clouded until a few months following the Elections. The NASA budget baseline, established last year, is under attack by both the Democrats and the Republicans, in the interest of a balanced budget.

The Democrats are proposing a reduction of $3.3B from the baseline through the year 2002, and the Republicans are proposing to cut $4.5B through the same period. Goldin's objective is to hold fast for $13.8 in '97, then look at what can be done to modify the numbers for '98 after the elections. His long term projection does not envision a significant turn around as greater pressure is placed on Civil Discretionary spending by the aging of the baby boomers.

Goldin lashed out at the "Pluto Express Cult" for the cost growth and attempt to create an old fashion entitlement program at the $.5B level.

Republicans Touch the Future, Lift Wallet

In a move towards a complete reinvention of the Federal role in civilian science and technology, the House last week passed H.R. 3322, the Omnibus Civilian Science Authorization Act of 1996. This Republican bill boldly slashed approximately $2 billion from the President's FY 1997 budget request for the Department of Energy, NIST, NOAA, NSF and NASA.

George E. Brown, Jr., ranking Democratic Member of the House Science Committee commented, "I remain appalled at the lack of understanding my Republican colleagues show on the role of science and technology for this Nation's future. However, I do want to give credit where credit is due. By freeing up resources in both public and private sector laboratories across the country, the Republican majority are taking a brave step towards filling high-demand, service-industry jobs in burger and taco stands around the country."

Brown continued, "Priority setting in science and technology policy has become an arbitrary and capricious exercise, grounded not in fact-finding and solid oversight by the Committee of jurisdiction, but upon the accumulated myths, prejudices and whims of the Republican leadership. The only redeeming quality to the floor debate, and this is true for virtually all authorizing Committees in the House, is that it will probably be irrelevant to appropriators."

House Democrats failed, in an almost straight party-line vote, to adopt a Brown substitute which contained the President's request levels for civilian science agencies. The President's request was more generous for all categories of research-basic and applied. Other key amendments included:

Minutes of Senior Staff and Center Director's Meeting June 3, 1996

The following documents the discussions addressed at the Senior Staff and Center Director's Meeting on June 3, 1996. Mr. Goldin was in attendance. Action assignments are bolded.


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