Ten Years Online

Editor's note: As best as I can calculate, NASA Watch is 10 years old today. It started as "NASA RIF Watch". The "RIF" was dropped when the threat of a RIF under Dan Goldin subsided. Looking back at how things were in 1996 and flashing forward to current events i.e. Contractor layoffs and RIF threats, program cuts made with no consistent underlying rationale, NASA cost numbers that can't be believed, a financial management system that is still broken, employees afraid to speak out for fear of retribution, vexing space station and shuttle delays, and a Public Affairs Office that stumbles on a daily basis and often can't get out of its own way - Gee, it looks like not much has changed.

This is the news item I posted that pushed me to create a website (NASA RIF Watch) a few days later: "NASA is planning a RIF in Summer 1997", 28 March 1996, posted sci.space.policy:

NASA is planning a RIF in Summer 1997
From: Keith L. Cowing
Date: Thurs, Mar 28 1996 12:00am

From a well-placed source at NASA HQ who participated in this meeting:

Mal Peterson (NASA HQ Comptroller's Office) personally briefed NASA program managers (Centers and HQ) yesterday (27 March) and gave instructions for planning and implementing a RIF by Summer 1997, the reduction to be completed by October 1998, to a total complement level of 17,500, as called for by the President for the year 2000, to be completed by 1998.

Vugraphs were shown concerning "the value of fear in managing corporate-downsizing." (That is a direct quote) They have statistics on the number of personnel supposed to be within retirement range and everyone will be encouraged to retire asap, though these numbers will not prevent a RIF. He strongly indicated that congressional backing would be soon forthcoming.

Contrast this with what NASA says about its people in the Current Strategic Plan:

"Our greatest strength is our workforce. We aggressively build a team of highly qualified individuals that is representative, at all levels, of America's diversity. We foster a culture that is built on trust, respect, teamwork, communication, empowerment, and committment in an environment that is free of discrimination......"

-- http://www.reston.com

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on March 31, 2006 12:01 AM.

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