Keith's note: NASA Watch officially turns 20 on Friday, 1 April. It started in 1996 as "NASA RIF Watch". The "RIF" was dropped when the threat of a RIF (Reduction in Force) under NASA Administrator Dan Goldin subsided. This is the news item I posted on the sci.space.policy USENET group on 28 March 1996 that pushed me to create a website (NASA RIF Watch) a few days later:
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......"