The Bigger Problem - Yes, Its NASA Culture

Editor's update: I have gotten some email from people - much of which makes wild, and vindictive personal accusations against Mr. Cobb - the sort of things that spurred this investigation in the first place. However, this one note, which takes NASA Watch and its editor to task (rightly so) while not painting a pleasant picture of the IG''s office, does touch on some important points. These problems transcend Mr. Cobb's tenure and have have plagued NASA since Dan Goldin's reign - and even earlier. This is all made worse when Congress seeks to go after someone for alleged bad behavior they do not like - and exhibit similar unprofessional behavior on their own part in so doing.

Reader note: "I have some comments about your coverage of the NASA IG investigation shown on your web page 4/2/07. The significant issues about the IG are lost if we try to make it appear that the problems being pursued by Congress are based in the use of profanity or if various involvedindividuals played golf together or not. These are not the issues related to this casethat significantly impact our nation's space program. The issues are that when NASA scientists and engineers disagree or challenge bad decisions made by NASA managers, these managers employ prohibited practices to counter and suppress the concerns expressed by NASA's technical workforce."

"Collusion between the Office of Inspector General ( not only Mr. Cobb ) and NASA managers involved in waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement have left NASA scientists and engineers without an avenue to combat thedestructive practicesemployed by NASA managers. This is the point to be made and derived from the investigation, not what language was used or who socialized with who. The fact that OIG investigations were derailed, suppressed, and shut down by OIG management in order to support the desires of NASA managersis the significance of the concerns Congress has about the OIG.

The NASA Watch web page claims: It's YOUR space agency. Get involved. Take it back. Make it work...If NASAemployees have no way tofight the destructive practices of the ever increasing numbers of managerswithin our space program through avenues like the OIG, it is unrealistic to believe that our nation's space programcanbe successful. If no negative consequences can be imposed on managers who operate outside NASA and federal policies, these methods will continue to be used. Ask yourself this question, do you really want a space program that is limited by the skill level and the lack of vision of middle management bureaucracy?

If not, yourweb page needs to support any and all efforts totry and reverse the trend that day by day removes more and more technical authorityfrom the ever dwindling numbers of capable scientists and engineers employed by NASAputting that technical authority into the handsof less than capableadministrative managers.

I have personally been involved in OIG investigationsrelated to mission critical concerns and prohibited practices employed by NASA managers to silence those concerns.The concerns I had and others had have been verified through in-flight failures of mission critical components and verified safety issues with flight systems. The personnel involved in identifying these concerns have been ostracized and stripped of their positions while the personnel causing these problems have been promoted into ever increasing positions of authority. There are honest investigators located in the OIG, but theissues provided by myself and many other reputible NASA employees were not addressed due to corruption within the OIG.The OIG is not performing its intended function, and change is required. It also should also be noted that the other many supposed avenues for voicing concerns such as these are ineffective and controlled by the exact same managers who are responsible for creating the problems our space program currently faces.

Change is needed if we want to succeed."

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on April 4, 2007 9:45 AM.

A New Way to Solve Orion's Weight Problem was the previous entry in this blog.

Orbital Express Is Doing Better is the next entry in this blog.

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