Education: September 2013 Archives

Space Forensics Website, NASA GSFC

"This announcement constitutes the only solicitation, which is issued as a Request for Quotation (RFQ); quotes are being requested and a written solicitation will not be issued ... Questions regarding this acquisition must be submitted in writing via e-mail ino later than September 26, 2013]."

Keith's 23 Sep note: NASA GSFC posts this solicitation on 20 September late in the day - the day before a weekend. That leaves 23, 24, 25, 26 September for any software firm that did not have a healthy heads from NASA up to create input for a credible proposal or quote - from scratch. In reality, this is clearly a sole source procurement masquerading as an open solicitation. Too bad GSFC can't be honest enough to admit that. As for the intent of the solicitation - sounds interesting. Too bad NASA GSFC is not willing or able to allow sufficient time for the best possible input to be developed from a wide range of potential bidders. At the speed they are doing this GSFC might be able to pick a vendor before the end of the fiscal year. I'll be that a simple FOIA request would reveal that they already know who they want to award this contract to.

Keith's 24 Sep update: NASA has posted an Amendment to the solicitation: "The due date for responses has been extended to October 9, 2013. Questions will be due no later than October 7, 2013." What a coincidence.

Keith's note: Have a look at the Twitter account @ExperienceNASA. It describes itself as "Welcome to your one-stop shop for opportunities to participate in/contribute to NASA goals/missions! Need help? Ask me! Washington, DC". This site is openly operated by NASA civil servant Erika Vick from her desk during the work day as part of her job as executive secretary of the NASA Advisory Council Education and Public Outreach Subcommittee. NASA has confirmed this to me more than once.

Yet when you ask Erika whether this site expresses her opinions or official NASA opinions, she tweeted "@ExperienceNASA isn't official" and also tweeted "@ExperienceNASA points to http://nasa.govĀ  ...any account can do that...had hopes it would be but alas". Yet Erika's personnal Twitter account says "@ExperienceNASA by day". Erika can't have it both ways. If she is going to sit at her desk and use a Twitter account to overtly do her day job and configure the Twitter page so as to give a clear impression that NASA is behind it then she needs to operate it in a fashion commensurate with official NASA social media accounts. Otherwise she needs to make sure it is clear that this is a personal effort she does during coffee breaks. She can't have it both ways.

Is it good to try and enhance NASA EPO? Yes. Is it bad to mislead people in so doing? Yes. Once again it is clear that NASA has no standard policy for use of social media.



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