Editor's note: NASA Watch (then called NASA RIF Watch) went online on 1 April 1996 with this posting as one of its top news items. Mal Peterson continues to try and wiggle out of this to this day (feel free to comment, Mal). A special thanks to the "mother" of NASA Watch, be she ever anonymous!
28 March 1996 Mal Peterson: the value of fear in managing corporate-downsizing
"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."
29 Nov 1996: Changes in Thinking at NASA, PBS Newshour
"TOM BEARDEN: Goldin and his associate administrators want their people to make quick decisions and fix mistakes later, instead of doing what he says NASA used to do, study a problem to death for fear of failing. Keith Cowing follows all of this in cyberspace. He's a former NASA engineer who set up an Internet site that functions as a kind of super water cooler for all of NASA's far-flung employees. He calls it "RIF Watch." It features rumors, editorial comment, jokes, cartoons. It also frequently publishes high-level internal memos that NASA employees send to Cowing. He says there are a lot of unhappy people out there in NASA Land.
KEITH COWING, RIF Watch: Dan Goldin's approach is he'll walk into--metaphorically--into a stockyard with a machine gun and shoot up all the cows. And somebody will come back later and say, now, where's that prize bull, and he'll hand em hamburger and say, here, put it back together; it's all there. Dan constantly changes things, but he never leaves them in place long enough to accomplish anything."