November 1996 Archives

Service Module IPT Update

Someone@NASA.gov's note: I attended the Service Module IPT yesterday (11/21/96). The following is a summary of some of the discussion.

A team of "senior NASA management" has been in Moscow to "discuss options" regarding the slip in the SM schedule. Randy Brinkley, Kieth Reilly, and Charlie Lundquist were present. They are due to come back today, and will be briefing Dan Goldin on Monday.

Five options were discussed. The Russians wanted to reopen the possibility of using the currently on-orbit MIR as the core of the ISS. Mr. Brinkley dismissed that option out of hand for several good technical and political reasons.

The Russians want to immediately and officially announce an eight month SM slip. Our management wants to delay any announcement until after Goldin's trip to Moscow in early December; and possibly wait until after Vice President Gore goes to Moscow in January.

Revised Buyout Plans

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Office of the Administrator
Washington, DC 20546-0001
November 8, 1996

TO: C/Associate Administrator for Headquarters Operations
Directors, NASA Field Installations
FROM: AD/Acting Deputy Administrator
SUBJECT: Revised Buyout Plans

Several weeks ago, Sam Armstrong requested that each of you develop plans to take advantage of the buyout in FY l997. After reviewing the individual Center's recommendations, then overlaying the numerous programmatic challenges facing the Agency, the Administrator has accepted the recommendation to expand use of the buyout at this time. This tool affords NASA the opportunity to continue aggressively downsizing the workforce through voluntary means.

Over the last several years, the Agency has embarked on an ambitious plan to change how it conducts business in order to reduce costs, refocus efforts into research and technology development, and improve relevance to the Nation. By restructuring the size and composition of the civil service workforce, the Agency becomes better able to respond to this rapidly changing environment. By the end of FY 2000, the plan is for NASA to have fewer than 18,000 civil servants. This represents a 30-percent reduction from the authorized FY 1992 levels. Through FY l996, the reduction totaled over 4,500. In spite of the success thus far, the remaining 3,000 reductions represent a formidable objective, particularly since the Agency committed to its employees and the Congress to exhaust whatever voluntary measures are available prior to using involuntary measures.

Revised NASA Buyout Plans

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Office of the Administrator
Washington, DC 20546-0001
November 8, 1996
TO:C/Associate Administrator for Headquarters Operations Directors, NASA Field Installations
FROM:AD/Acting Deputy Administrator
SUBJECT:Revised Buyout Plans

Several weeks ago, Sam Armstrong requested that each of you develop plans to take advantage of the buyout in FY l997. After reviewing the individual Center's recommendations, then overlaying the numerous programmatic challenges facing the Agency, the Administrator has accepted the recommendation to expand use of the buyout at this time. This tool affords NASA the opportunity to continue aggressively downsizing the workforce through voluntary means.

Over the last several years, the Agency has embarked on an ambitious plan to change how it conducts business in order to reduce costs, refocus efforts into research and technology development, and improve relevance to the Nation. By restructuring the size and composition of the civil service workforce, the Agency becomes better able to respond to this rapidly changing environment. By the end of FY 2000, the plan is for NASA to have fewer than 18,000 civil servants. This represents a 30-percent reduction from the authorized FY 1992 levels. Through FY l996, the reduction totaled over 4,500. In spite of the success thus far, the remaining 3,000 reductions represent a formidable objective, particularly since the Agency committed to its employees and the Congress to exhaust whatever voluntary measures are available prior to using involuntary measures.

Dear Mr. Goldin

I am writing to offer some thoughts on your upcoming address to the 6th International Congress on Cell Biology in San Francisco next month. We anticipate a large audience of established investigators, both domestic and international, as well as thousands of graduate and postdoctoral trainees in cell and molecular biology.

It may be helpful if I begin with some credentials so you can put my comments in perspective. I am a molecular/cell biologist and Professor at Washington University, immediate past-president of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), member of the steering committee of FOSS [or whatever they wound up calling it) at the NRC, and chair of the NASA subcommittee of FASEB (Federation of American Societies in Experimental Biology) Consensus Conference, which makes funding recommendations to Congress. My research on the evolution of sex is supported by the NIH and NSF.

Diane has faxed me the text of the speech that you presented at the NAS on April 30. I admire its sweep and energy, and imagine it would generate a certain amount of resonance in an ASCB audience. There seem to be a sufficient number of references to possible life on Mars that a few allusions to the putative evidence in the meteorite could be readily added without breaking the flow.

If, however, the goal of your ASCB address is to interest talented young biomedical researchers in the pursuit of NASA-related careers (which I understood to be the case form talking to Bruce Alberts), then it is not clear to me that the NAS text hits the mark. What I would imagine you wish to convey is NASA's determination to develop comprehensive and long-term research programs in areas of deep interest [to] young investigators in cell and molecular biology. A description of such programs would be far more relevant to this group than anything else.


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