NASA's Response To That White House Downsizing Thing

Interior Secretary Advocates For Cutting Up To 4,000 Jobs At Agency, Huffington Post

"In written testimony submitted Tuesday to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke noted that President Donald Trump's 2018 budget request would slash funding by $1.6 billion - to $11.7 billion - and support just shy of 60,000 full-time staff, a reduction of roughly 4,000."

Comprehensive Plan for Reforming the Federal Government and Reducing the Federal Civilian Workforce, OMB

"This memorandum provides agencies guidance on fulfilling the requirements ofthe Hiring. Freeze PM and the Reorganization EO while aligning those initiatives with the Federal budget and performance planning processes. It requires all agencies to: Begin taking immediate actions to achieve near-term workforce reductions and cost savings, including planning for funding levels in the President's Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Budget Blueprint; Develop a plan to maximize employee performance by June 30, 2017; and Submit an Agency Reform Plan to OMB in September 2017 as part of the agency's FY 2019 Budget submission to OMB that includes long-term workforce reductions. An initial, high-level draft ofthe Agency Reform Plan is due to OMB by June 30, 2017."

Keith's note: NASA was required to draft and submit a plan to OMB by the end of the month. Sources report that it is done and is in the process of being prepared for submission to OMB. If the Secretary of Interior can talk about his agency's plan to reduce their workforce in open congressional hearings, one would think that NASA could - and should - do the same. Given that NASA fared much better than virtually all of the Federal government in terms of its FY 2018 budget proposal, the need to resort to draconian personnel cuts is simply not there. Indeed, if Congress does what it did in response to the FY 2017 budget request, NASA will be funded more or less at current levels.

As such, sources say that NASA's plan is what all these plans are: a bunch of words in response to direction from the White House about things no one really expects to implement. But there has to be a lot of words - and the right words too - so as to make OMB think that NASA actually has a plan. At most NASA will feature buyouts, early outs, and reliance upon attrition. That's all. As long as NASA thanks the President for the opportunity to #MakeNASAGreatAgain the details are not all that important.

But NASA is like all other agencies: they never pass up an opportunity to do one thing in response to being asked to do another thing. So you may see a bunch of phone book revisions and reporting changes within/between field centers and directorates and HQ tossed into the mix since no one is really going to notice - and it lets NASA HQ hide some things it has been wanting to do anyway. Orion, SLS, and ISS workforces may get tweaked as a result - with HQ pointing to these changes as their way of dealing with budget problems and schedule slips. The net result is going to be more of the same - with a flat budget.

Of course, even if Congress is generous to NASA, doing the math and adding up all of the things NASA is on the hook to do - plus all that it wants to do - will show that the money is simply not there. Not to worry. That won't really be an issue until after the new administrator is in place and the actual FY2019 budget is submitted.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on June 22, 2017 2:07 PM.

JSC Center Director Ellen Ochoa Picks Up Yet Another External Job was the previous entry in this blog.

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