NASA OIG Report On ML-2: What A Fine Mess

NASA OIG: NASA's Management Of The Mobile Launcher 2 Contract

"The ML-2's substantial cost increases and schedule delays can be attributed primarily to Bechtel's poor performance on the contract, with more than 70 percent ($421.1 million) of the contract's cost increases and over 1.5 years of delays related to its performance. For example, Bechtel underestimated the ML-2 project's scope and complexity, experienced ML-2 weight management challenges, and experienced staffing turnover and retention issues. Additionally, Bechtel's lack of a certified EVMS since inception of the ML-2 contract--a contractually required tool for measuring and assessing project performance--has limited NASA's insight into the project's cost and schedule issues.

Bechtel's performance notwithstanding, NASA's management practices contributed to the project's cost increases and schedule delays. NASA awarded the ML-2 contract while the Exploration Upper Stage--the primary reason NASA needed a second mobile launcher--lacked final requirements, impacting the ML-2 design. With respect to contract management, while NASA withheld award fees for a 6-month performance period in spring 2021 due to Bechtel's poor performance, the Agency did not continue this practice despite the contractor's continued poor performance in the subsequent award period. Therefore, we question nearly $3 million in award fees NASA awarded to Bechtel for this period."

Keith's note: So ... NASA awarded this contract, did not give Bechtel all the information it actually needed tp do the work, then let work proceed, dinged Bechtel on an award fee payment, but otherwise just let things go ahead without any attempt to halt work, re-bid, etc. NASA Associate Administrator Bob Cabana was Center Director at KSC from 2008 until 2021 throughout much of this contract. NASA Administrator Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL Ret.) fought for this work at KSC while a U.S. Senator. Nelson brought Cabana up to DC where he oversaw much of the agency including work being done on Artemis. This contract was awarded in 2019 when Cabana was running KSC and Kathy Lueders was running HEOMD. While Bechtel is certainly to blame for much of this mess - so is NASA - and the mismanagement of this contract starts at the very top of the agency inside the glass doors on the 9th floor.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on June 9, 2022 12:12 PM.

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