Letter from Sen. Rockefeller To Dan Goldin About Layoffs

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:

Are the projected NASA staffing levels overall and at headquarters specifically, a result of management decisions arising from the realignment process or are they driven by budget numbers? In other words are management imperatives driving the changes or the budget? If you had higher budgets would you maintain more of the existing headquarters staff?

Is it true that you are working under the following planning assumptions and constraints: (1) no field center will be closed; (2) no enterprise will be eliminated; and (3) no program's level of effort will be reduced? At what point in time must something give, in the sense that you will need either increased budgets or a relaxation of the planning constraints?

How were the new proposed headquarters levels established, and what led to the acceleration of staffing reductions?

Under your proposed plan, what will the new NASA headquarters look like after 1997? How small will it be, and what functions will it perform?

How will you reduce headquarters personnel to the planned level, and specifically how much of the reductions will occur through attrition, through buyouts, through transfers to NASA field centers, and through reductions in force (RIFs)?

What are the proposed future staffing levels for the field centers, and will RIFs be needed to achieve those numbers?

What authority and resources does NASA need in order to reduce the negative impact of staffing reductions on employees, such as authority for buyouts? Is NASA pursuing such authority and when would it be most useful?

What will be the impact of planned agency-wide staff reductions on (1) the mix and availability of necessary technical skills, (2) the ability to maintain safety related capabilities; and (3) workforce diversity?

How is NASA employee morale at the present time, and what is being done to help employees through this period of change?

NASA employees play a key role in meeting critical national science and technology goals. I look forward to your response to these questions and to working with you to protect NASA employees as much as possible.

My best to you,


John D. Rockefeller

Daniel S. Goldin
National Aeronautics and
Space Administration
300 E Street SW
Washington, D.C. 20546-0001

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on June 18, 1996 12:47 PM.

NASA Staff Meeting Minutes 17 June 1996 was the previous entry in this blog.

Congress Complains To Gore About NASA Downsizing is the next entry in this blog.

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