Budget: March 2013 Archives

American Astronomical Society Decries Impact of Federal Travel Restrictions on Science

"The American Astronomical Society (AAS) today expressed deep concern about the U.S. government's new restrictions on travel and conference attendance for federally funded scientists. Enacted in response to the budget sequestration that went into effect on March 1st, the policies severely limit the ability of many researchers to meet with collaborators and to present their latest results at professional meetings. The leadership of the AAS is especially worried about the restrictions' deleterious effects on scientific productivity and on scientists' and students' careers."

Keith's tnote: If you ask NASA how much they spend on travel in a given year they can't tell you. If you ask them how much these new travel restrictions to save they can't tell you that either. They are just making this up as they go.

The Eighth International Conference on Mars Postponed Until 2014

"The impacts of sequestration on the Federal budget have led to new travel policies that severely constrain the participation of NASA center employees, including JPL, and other government employees (e.g., the U.S. Geological Survey) in scientific conferences, including the planned 8th International Mars Conference set for July 15-19 on the Caltech campus. The current fiscal environment is sufficiently restrictive that we, the organizers of the conference, have decided to delay the meeting for one year, holding it instead in June/July of 2014."

Keith's note: Last week NASA Education AA Leland Melvin sent a memo out to the Education Coordinating Committee regarding funding issues. In that memo he more or less exempted all of the activities that his directorate funds from cuts associated with sequester-related budget activities. I have asked NASA PAO for a copy of that letter and will post it if/when NASA provides me with a copy.

Keith's 11:00 am update: NASA PAO has decline to provde a copy of this letter and has said that I need to file a FOIA request in order to get it. I have filed the FOIA request. This usually takes weeks although they could expedite this. With all of these memos circulating around - with contradictory and confusing statements in them - you would think that NASA Headquarters would want to clarify things for people and just issue the memo along with an overall statement of policy regarding the topics raised in these other memos.

Keith's 11:45 am update: Here's the memo - from sources other than NASA. Letter from NASA AA for Education Leland Melvin to the Education Coordinating Council on Waivers for Education and Public Outreach Activities

Repeal the sequester's cuts on NASA's spending in public outreach and its STEM programs

"Repeal the sequester's cuts on NASA's spending in public outreach and its STEM programs The Sequester's recent cuts on NASA's spending in public outreach and its STEM programs must not be allowed. These cuts would end the many programs NASA has for educating the children of our society, as well as many other forms of public outreach held by NASA. In an internal memo issued on the evening of Friday, March 22, the Administration notes that "effective immediately, all education and public outreach activities should be suspended, pending further review. In terms of scope, this includes all public engagement and outreach events, programs, activities, and products developed and implemented by Headquarters, Mission Directorates, and Centers across the Agency, including all education and public outreach efforts conducted by programs and projects."

NASA Suspends All Education and Public Outreach (Update), Earlier post

NASA Internal Memo: Guidance for Education and Public Outreach Activities Under Sequestration

"Effective immediately, all education and public outreach activities should be suspended, pending further review. In terms of scope, this includes all public engagement and outreach events, programs, activities, and products developed and implemented by Headquarters, Mission Directorates, and Centers across the Agency, including all education and public outreach efforts conducted by programs and projects.

The scope comprises activities intended to communicate, connect with, and engage a wide and diverse set of audiences to raise awareness and involvement in NASA, its goals, missions and programs, and to develop an appreciation for, exposure to, and involvement in STEM. Audiences include employees, partners, educators, students, and members of the general public. The scope encompasses, but is not limited to:

- Programs, events, and workshops.
- Permanent and traveling exhibits, signage, and other materials.
- Speeches, presentations, and appearances, with the exception of technical presentations by researchers at scientific and technical symposia.
- Video and multimedia products in development (and renewal of existing products).
- Web and social media sites in development (excludes operational sites).
- External and internal publications, with the exception of Scientific and Technical Information as defined by NPD 2200.1B.
- Any other activity whose goal is to reach out to external and internal stakeholders and the public concerning NASA, its programs, and activities."


Keith's note: This is just insane. How much money will this actually save? NASA's response to the sequestration is to go out of its way to not communicate with the outside world? Is any other agency doing this?

Then again this might have a silver lining by forcing everything to a serious life and death review - there are some pointless money holes - all done as EPO - that NASA loves to just pour cash into. I have talked to knowledgeable folks at NASA HQ - and they say that this is not an indication that NASA does not think that EPO is important. Rather, that its time for everyone to justify the actual need for projects on a case-by-case basis.

While NASA is looking at all EPO activities they need to look at other things as well. For example, JPL runs two MSL websites that overlap/duplicate one another [1, 2] but don't cross link - and JPL has an extra copy [3] of one of these sites for good measure. Yet none of these JPL sites interact with the site at NASA HQ [4] - and yet they all cater to the same audience. What does it cost NASA to support 3(4) official websites for one mission?

Keith's update: This memo was issued inside NASA this afternoon - after the memo above.

Memo: NASA AA for Communications David Weaver to Communications Coordinating Council: EPO Activities Under Sequestration

"I am providing additional information and instructions regarding the review of public outreach activities under sequestration as outlined in the memorandum from the NASA Chief Financial Officer and Chief of Staff dated March 22, 2013."

Sequestration forces NASA to hold up educational and outreach efforts, CosmicLog/NBC

"It's important to point out that it's a suspension, not a cancellation," [NASA spokesman Bob] Jacobs wrote. "The agency's budget for the fiscal year is more that $1 billion below the original request. We are taking prudent steps to ensure the resources expended on outreach activities are done so wisely."

Letter from NASA AA for Education Leland Melvin to the Education Coordinating Council on Waivers for Education and Public Outreach Activities

Bolden Keynote At AAS Wednesday Morning Will Be Livestreamed, Space Policy Online

"NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden will keynote the American Astronautical Society's Goddard Memorial Symposium tomorrow morning, Wednesday, March 20, and AAS will stream the event live."

NASA Limits Travel; No Layoff Plans - yet (update), earlier post

"v. Examples - For example, the following conferences do NOT meet the new criteria and NASA funded participation will not be allowed:

1. National Space Symposium
2. The American Astronautical Society's Robert H. Goddard Memorial Symposium and Goddard Memorial Dinner"

Keith's note: This is just baffling. Charlie Bolden tells all of NASA that specific meetings are not going to be supported by NASA funds - and then he turns around and goes to one of the meetings specifically cited in his official agency policy that do "NOT meet the new criteria and NASA funded participation will not be allowed" to speak in an official capacity. I wonder if Bolden is using NASA-provided transportation (that limo) to go to this unsupported meeting - and if he will have NASA staff with him - also traveling from NASA HQ to Maryland for this event - at NASA expense.

Bolden Cuts Travel; Buys Toy Telescope Models, earlier post

Keith's update: According to this tweet: @Jeff_Foust: Bolden, on travel bans for this event and Nat'l Space Symposium, notes he came here since it's local, "doesn't cost the gov't a dime." Charlie Bolden thinks he's not breaking any rules. Unless Mr. Bolden drove himself to and from this event - with no staff - in his own car - and took time without pay - then it most certainly did cost the government something. The fact that Bolden is oblivious to this fact speaks volumes. His travel prohibitions will save a vanishingly small amount of money and amount, at most, to a stunt.

Keith's update: According to NASA PAO Bolden was accompanied by one NASA civil servant who drove to/from the event in their own car. NASA will not discuss Bolden's travel arrangements due to security concerns. As such it is safe to assume that he was using government transportation and security - and that costs money. Bolden's presence supported the meeting using NASA funds in violation of his own policy. Was this a large expense? No. That's the point - these arcane travel restrictions will have negligible impact on NASA's expenses.

NASA SMD Memo: LPSC Travel Confusion Under The Sequester

"Recent guidance has come from the Administration that needs interpretation relative to supporting travel for all NASA activities. These rules will go into effect on March 19, 2013. We are in the process of executing all elements of the guidance and will notify those that are affected. For instance, we have worked with all the NASA Centers and JPL employees and have completed an approved list of attendees."

Keith's note: Charlie Bolden is curtailing NASA travel to scientific and technical meetings to save a vanishingly small amount of money in the grander scheme of things - yet he still allows this solicitation to be put out: NASA Solicitation: Scale Models of the James Webb Space Telescope. So ... toy telescope models trump participation in science meetings? That's how Charlie Bolden sees it.

NASA Limits Travel; No Layoff Plans - yet (update), earlier post

Message From The NASA Administrator: New Policies in Response to Sequestration

"This guidance is to be applied to NASA employees and to all contract employees, including JPL employees, to extent permissible. Program managers, project managers, and contracting officers should apply this guidance to all NASA direct-funded contractor travel. You should know that Deputy Administrator Lori Garver and I have already begun to adjust our activities in line with these guidelines. We have both canceled travel and participation in the April National Space Symposium in Colorado and I have also canceled a planned overseas trip. ... At this time, there is no change to the Agency's current hiring policy. Centers may continue to transact hires as planned in their submitted phased hiring plans up to their FY2013 FTE ceilings. This includes hiring in all categories, including new intern hires, intern conversions, and all other early career hires."

Sequestration Claims its First Victim at NASA, Planetary Society

"Of special note is that this letter defines "foreign" travel as anything outside of the continental United States. Sorry Hawaii and Alaska!"

NASA clamps down on travel spending, FCW

"Event planners hoping to book NASA speakers: You have a problem."

@elakdawalla: "As others have pointed out to me, sequester doesn't just limit NASA travel; also USGS, DOE, any federally funded organization or lab."

Enact Legislation to Restrict the NASA Budget to No Less than 1.00% of Federal Funding, as of FY2014, We The People Petition

"In 1961, at the height of the space race, the NASA budget was 4.41% of federal outlays. In 2005, despite the federal government spending only ~$15 billion on NASA, $180 billion of economic activity was created by this outlay . The 2013 budget expects ~$19 billion of funding for NASA (Guardian link above), or half of a percent of spending; truly this is a pittance, but one that yields vast economic and scientific rewards. NASA advances our nation when well-funded; by guaranteeing that no less than 1% of federal spending will be on NASA, we promote job creation, encourage creativity in the economy, and gain insight on our universe."

Senate funding measure gives NASA $2.1B for SLS for rest of 2013 (updated), Huntsvile Times

"A bipartisan Senate Appropriations Committee budget for the rest of fiscal year 2013 continues strong funding for NASA's Space Launch System and calls on the agency to speed up its construction. The measure released by committee leadership Monday night gives the overall SLS program $2.1 billion for the rest of the fiscal year, including $260 million for ground-related launch support construction, and also provides $515 million for NASA's commercial crew program."

Explanatory Statement for the Senate Substitute Continuing Resolution (NASA Excerpts)

"This Act includes $17,862,000,000 for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). A table of specific funding allocations for NASA is delineated below, and additional detail may be found under the relevant account headings."

Keith's note: According to comments made by PAO AA David Weaver, speaking at the the NASA Advisory Council Committee on Education and Public Outreach meeting on Tuesday, NASA expects that its budget will be released on 18 March - but that date may slip. Weaver, Charlie Bolden, and others were at the White House on Monday. Stay tuned

Sequestration Message from the Office of the Chief Acquisition Officer

"At this time, NASA is taking every step to mitigate the effects of these cuts, but based on our initial analysis, it is possible that your contract, grant, cooperative agreement, or Space Act agreement may be affected. In addition, planned actions for new and existing work may be re-scoped, delayed, or canceled depending on the nature of the work and the degree to which it directly supports the Agency's mission goals. To the extent that your contract, grant, cooperative agreement, or Space Act agreement is affected due to these budget cuts, you will be contacted by your Contracting, Agreement or Grant Officer with additional details."

Update: 2013 IEEE Aerospace Conference Presentations by NASA and JPL Personnel

"We have learned that NASA has severely restricted travel of NASA and JPL employees to the 2013 IEEE Aerospace conference. This is impacting many of the authors at this year's conference. I, on behalf of the conference board and the conference committee, want to extend our condolences to those who are affected by the restrictions, and provide the following guidance with regards to paper presentations."

Reader note: "Of course sunk costs like registration ($1000), lodging, and many flights are long past the opportunity to be refunded, so we're not actually saving much money and causing a lot of trouble for employees, some of whom have personal expenses that will not be reimbursed."


Loading

 



Monthly Archives

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Budget category from March 2013.

Budget: February 2013 is the previous archive.

Budget: April 2013 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.