"A bunch of tech wonks and nerds issued a report last week that provided a shockingly accurate conclusion about NASA's Strategic Plan: it's vague, generic, and there's no national consensus for taxpayer support. Now it's time for the agency to look beyond its comfy fishbowl of geeks and contractors to fix its problem."
Report: NASA is broken and it's up to us to fix it, Ars Technica
"Again, the lack of a consistent vision has been a problem. The manned program is specifically called out as a paragon of confusion. "Other than the long-range goal of sending humans to Mars," notes the report, "there is no strong, compelling national vision for the human spaceflight program, which is arguably the centerpiece of NASA's spectrum of mission areas."
Duelling visions stall NASA, Nature
"There is no broad acceptance of the asteroid as the next principal destination for space flight, despite the fact that the president has indeed said so several times," says Albert Carnesale, chairman of the committee behind the report and a former chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles. For its part, NASA -- whether through inertia or out of practicality -- seems unwilling to shift the focus of its human space-flight efforts away from the Moon.
"The report recommends that Congress, the White House, and NASA pursue one or more of a number of options to set things straight. Options include restructuring the space agency's programs so as to reduce infrastructure and personnel costs; finding ways to partner with other agencies, the private sector, and international partners; and increasing NASA's budget or shedding programs that don't fit NASA's current budget profile."
Direction for Space Needed, Paul Spudis, spudislunarresources.com
"Interestingly, the report does not state the obvious conclusion - that if the first option has any validity, the last two options are not only pointless but actually undesirable from the standpoint of wise governing practice. Why should we spend more money on something perceived to be of marginal value? On the other hand, if the agency could be "restructured" to accomplish its mission with the current budgetary profile, why wouldn't it be?"