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NASA Has No Plan To Spend The Infrastructure Money. But Who Cares.

By Keith Cowing
NASA Watch
September 8, 2021
Filed under
NASA Has No Plan To Spend The Infrastructure Money. But Who Cares.

NASA OIG: NASA’s Construction Of Facilities
“… The process also does not effectively utilize business cases for Agency-level prioritization, despite their value towards providing the required business need and justification for initiating projects in terms of a cost-benefit analysis. Moreover, assumptions such as the scope of the projects used in the Agency’s business cases did not consistently match the actual scope of the approved projects. For energy savings projects costing less than $10 million, Centers do not submit a business case to request funds. Instead NASA only considers a projected total cost savings per year with not all expenses, such as operations and maintenance, factored in as part of the life-cycle cost analysis.
… In addition, NASA policy does not distinguish between the use of institutional and programmatic CoF funds. As a result, Centers often use funds that traditionally support institutional capabilities such as office buildings and utility systems to fund highly technical projects that Mission Directorates were unwilling to fund for various reasons including the difficulty in determining cost sharing arrangements for facilities with multiple users. Using institutional CoF funds to build specialized facilities for testing and development dilutes the funds available for making critical repairs and supporting other more traditional institutional requirements.
… Of the 20 CoF projects we reviewed, 6 incurred significant cost overruns ranging from $2.2 million to $36.6 million and 16 of the projects are 3 months to more than 3 years behind their initial schedules. Costs increased primarily because requirements were not fully developed by the Agency before construction began, requirements were not fully understood by contractors, and contract prices were higher than originally estimated. Delays occurred because projects faced postponed start times and changing requirements, among other reasons. Finally, NASA did not provide effective oversight to determine whether the Agency’s portfolio of CoF projects met cost, schedule, and performance goals.”

Keith’s note: And so on. Its a mess. NASA has no cohesive, consistent plan to identify what facilities need to be demolished, repaired, upgraded, or replaced. They have never had such a plan – nor will they. Just imagine the spending spree that is about to unfold as every NASA center director grabs their bucket of infrastructure money – with their congressional delegation shoveling the money in without looking.

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.

2 responses to “NASA Has No Plan To Spend The Infrastructure Money. But Who Cares.”

  1. Bill Housley says:

    …if an infrastructure bill actually passes. A small “if” at this point, but still an “if”.

  2. mfwright says:

    Seems to me trying to get a comprehensive that covers all situations is hopelessly bureaucratic. NASA has wide range of infrastructure from the VAB to misc office buildings. Some places simply need a new HVAC system, a new roof, or new windows to replace 70 year old windows. Job size that shouldn’t require extensive studies like replacing ISS items. But tough to manage like getting everyone on a HOA to agree to regular maintenance when a few but highly vocal and well organized people want specific things of their personal favor.