NASA's Black Hole Budgets, OpEd, Alan Stern, NY Times
"As a scientist in charge of space sensors and entire space missions before I was at NASA, I myself was involved in projects that overran. But that's no excuse for remaining silent about this growing problem, or failing to champion reform. And when I articulated this problem as the NASA executive in charge of its science program and consistently curtailed cost increases, I found myself eventually admonished and then neutered by still higher ups, precipitating my resignation earlier this year. Endemic project cost increases at NASA begin when scientists and engineers (and sometimes Congress) burden missions with features beyond what is affordable in the stated budget. The problem continues with managers and contractors who accept or encourage such assignments, expecting to eventually be bailed out."
Alan's stern warning, Nature
"S. Alan Stern used to be a big cheese at NASA. From the looks of things, he'd like to be so again. Stern, former associate administrator at the space agency, has been getting his name out there in a big way. He certainly thinks it's time for change. "A cancer is overtaking our space agency: the routine acquiescence to immense cost increases in projects," Stern writes in a New York Times op-ed piece."