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NASA Staff Meeting Minutes 30 January 1995

By Keith Cowing
NASA Watch
January 30, 1995
Filed under

Subject: Staff Meeting Minutes 1/30/95
Date: Tuesday, January 31, 1995 1:34PM
The following documents the discussions addressed at the Senior Staff and Center Directors’ Meeting on January 30, 1995. Action assignments are bolded. Mr. Goldin was in attendance.

1. AA Reports
Y/Kennel: Dr. Kennel expressed his thanks to Dr. Munechika and his staff for the excellent visit at ARC last week to discuss Mission To Planet Earth Airborne Sciences.
H/Lee: Congratulations to Code S, the NASA Management Office at JPL, and JPL– an extremely positive GAO report has been received. The visit to MSFC was very positive–the Shuttle Projects Office, along with its prime contractors, have recently set a goal that by June 30, 1995, there will be no pen contract changes over 180 days old. Ms. Lee provided all Procurement Officers with a synopsis of the Acquisition Streamlining Act status–14 proposed and 4 interim rules have been issued. Two specific areas of interest to NASA include Task and Delivery Order Contracts (level of effort of contracts may need to be readdressed) and the simplification of micropurchases. There is additional legislation pending on further procurement reforms, and when that information is available, it will be disseminated immediately.
B/Holz: Mr. Holz is meeting with the Center Comptrollers and Finanacial Management Officers on January 31 and February 1 to discuss Finance/Budget Crosscutting Review and the direction of future financial management systems.
Z/Ladwig: Updates have been received on Technology and Science Accomplishments of the Clinton administration. NASA was not asked to submit inputs to either document. The Technology accomplishment brochure does have a “Reinvented the Space Program” category that highlights the redesigned Space Station and Presidential Decision Directives regarding a national space transportation policy, Landsat, orbiting weather satellites, and commercial remote sensing. The Science accomplishment brochure addresses new Hubble discoveries and the Comet Shoemaker-Levy campaign. Copies of these brochures will be available for distribution in the next few weeks.
U/Holloway: Dr. Holloway thanked Dr. Munechika and the ARC team for his successful visit last week. Dr. Holloway is reviewing the results of the President’s Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments with the Centers. The review is nearing completion. He also participated in a joint meeting between NASA and the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America at ARC. The cool-suit technology will be a major theme of the workshop that is being held January 29 through 31 at ARC.
I/Schumacher: Viktor Grigorenko, a representative of the Russian Space Agency’s International Affairs Directorate, died last week during his visit to Washington. He was participating in negotiaitons in support of the international Space Station. Mr. Goldin is sending condolences on behalf of NASA to Yuri Koptev, General Director, Russian Space Agency. General Thomas P. Stafford, in his capacity as the head of the NASA Advisory Council Task Force on the Shuttle-Mir Rendezvous and Docking Missions, will be meeting with Academician Vladimir F. Utkin at KSC on February 1. Mr. Goldin is meeting with General Tokhtar Aubakirov, Chair, Supreme Soviet Committee on National Security and Defense, and Mr. Aysultan Kalybaev, Director General of the National Space Agency of Kazakhstan today (January 30). On February 1, Mr. Goldin is meeting with Dr. Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation. Dr. Kasturirangan will also travel to GSFC for meetings with Dr. Klineberg. Mr. Chkhekivishili, Russian Embassy, will be traveling to KSC to attend the STS-63 launch. Dr. Arnold Nicogossian will also be accompanying members of the Russian Academy of Sciences to the launch–Alec Galeev, Director, Space Research Institute; Dr. Neon Armand, Director, Institute of Radioengineering and Electronics; and, Academician Alexander Boyarchuk, Director, Institute of Astronomy.
L/Lawrence: Mr. Lawrence provided the Congressional Hearing Calendar dated January 30, 1995 (Enclosure). The FY 1996 Posture Hearings are scheduled as follows: February 13, the House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, Chairman Sensenbrenner, Committee on Science, and February 14, Senate Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space, Chairman Burns, Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation. The NASA Administrator is the key witness. Additional Associate Administrators who will be attending these hearings will be identified this week. Congressional visits are beginning this week.
Q/Gregory: Guy Gardner, Chair, NASA X-31 Investigative Board, will be completing his investigation late this week or early next week. P/Boeder: A Public Affairs team is in Russia this week finalizing the public affairs protocol. NASA TV events are exceeding expectations–El Nino has received excellent coverage in major TV markets; taped feeds are also doing well both in regional and nontraditional markets. During the STS-63 mission, live coverage will be conducted during the EVA and rendezvous portions of the mission. Ms. Boeder will be contacting the various Center Directors to discuss specific problems with TV operations–each Center apparently operates its TV operations differently. Kathy Sawyer did an excellent piece on Russian cooperation–appeared in the Washington Post on January 29. This article was a direct result of the JSC Public Affairs series informing the media on the upcoming Russian/United States cooperative efforts. She congratulated JSC for their excellent work.
K/Thomas: Mr. Thomas thanked Jay Honeycutt and KSC staff members for their assistance in the successful conduct of the Training and Development of Small Disadvantaged Businesses in Advanced Technologies (TADSBAT) January 24 through 26–many telephone calls received stating that the training was excellent.
AS/Cordova: The first in a series of seminars to aid the Agency in defining a unified theme for America’s next era in space was held on January 23. It was a lively presentation, and tapes are available if anyone missed the rebroadcast on January 26. The second seminar, Living Places in Other Solar Systems, will be held on February 10 in the NASA Auditorium from 3 to 5 p.m. Two foremost scientists, Dr. Christopher P. McKay, ARC, and Dr. Anneila Sargent, California Institute of Technology, will explore the questions of habitable planets outside the solar system and the effects of discovery of life on another cosmic body. Because of the STS-63 mission, the seminar will be taped for rebroadcast on NASA Select at a later date.
J/Cooper: In December 1994, we requested a deviation from GSA to increase our Information Resources Management delegations from $2.5 million to $30 million. GSA approved the waiver, and we have currently delegated $15 million to the Centers. After we have developed some performance criteria, it is our intent to delegate the full $30 million. Last week, our Security Management Office presented the final of two informational briefings to the House Appropriations Committee Surveys and Investigation staff members. The first briefing, held January 13, responded to general questions about NASA’s Automated Information Security program and our experience with Internet hackers. The final briefing held on January 26 responded to their request for additional details on specific break-ins to NASA systems and for more information on the NASA Automated Systems Incident Response Capability. They informed us that we have one of the most productive proactive programs in the Federal sector. We plan to also provide a similar briefing to NASA senior management in the near future. Audit activity includes the following:
1) Entrance conference on January 20, on the Office of Inspector General (OIG) audit of the relocation of the Nozzle Production Facility from Utah to Yellow Creek (Mississippi);
2) Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, Committee on Governmental Affairs, will review how all Federal agencies award and manage concession contracts;
3) GAO plans to obtain information on the extent of concession contracts, policies, and procedures for awarding and managing the contracts, who handles the contracts, revenues generated and fees paid to the Government, and the concession contracts awarded during FY 1994. This is pertinent to the Field Centers;
4) GAO review of NASA’s implementation of the Chief Financial Officers Act. The initial phase of the review will include an assessment of NASA’s financial management structure and responsibilities, responses to audit recommendations, Governmentwide performance improvement initiatives, and resolution of financial operations areas determined to be materially weak or high risk; and
5) the OIG has initiated a survey to evaluate how agreements and contracts are negotiated, approved, and coordinated to determine if applicable standards and requirements are followed for establishing, administering, and reporting the agreements and contracts and if the terms and conditions established are appropriate and adequately protect NASA’s rights and interest.
B/Peterson: The budget justifications went to the printer last week. After they return from the printer, they will be circulated–probably next week. They will also be included on NASA’s Home Page for perusal. The Budget Press Conference will be held on February 6. The Center Directors will receive a request, through the Institutional Program Offices, for data requested by the Federal Laboratory Task Force–duplication of facilities and correlating costs. This is a short turnaround– Centers will need to provide their input by February 3.
2. AD/Dailey
The Red Team has assembled a white paper on realignment of Center roles and missions for consideration. Team representatives met with Program Associate Administrators and Codes E and F to discuss the ideas presented. Revisions have been made to the white paper. A second paper was also developed that outlines what will not be done at each Center, if the realignment is implemented. Both papers will be reviewed with OSTP and OMB today (January 30). We will also deliver or fax to the Associate Administrators and Center Directors this afternoon (January 30). Note: We will not have White House input yet but want you to have the information in the event word starts getting out. Plans are also to discuss with the Hill this week. After the data have been submitted to OSTP, OMB, and the Hill, it will be provided to the Zero-Base Review for consideration. Some improvement has been noted in the overdue correspondence; however, some codes still need to do some cleanup.
3. Center Director Reports
ARC/Munechika: Dr. Munechika thanked Dr.’s Kennel and Holloway for their kind remarks regarding their visits to ARC last week. This is a first-time event in which the three Multiple Sclerosis Association groups have banded together collectively. The workshop being held at ARC began on January 29 and is scheduled through January 31. The cool-suit technology, as applied to multiple sclerosis patients, is the main topic of the workshop.
DFRC/Dana: The senior staff is attending a retreat at Lancaster. Vance Brand is conducting the Perseus Mishap Investigation.
GSFC/Huber: The Flight Readiness Review for the Pegasus Return to Flight was held last week. Orbital Sciences Corporation is on the right track. There are a couple of technical problems–nothing major. The EOS-AM Critical Design Review will be held January 31 at Martin Marietta Astrospace. The XTE has completed environmental testing and will go into thermal vacuum next month. The launch is scheduled for August 31, 1995.
KSC/Honeycutt: The STS-63 is proceeding satisfactorily–loading hypergols. There has been good feedback from the Administrator’s Center Visit on January 26 and 27. SSC/Roth: Four astronauts observed the successful 520-second testing of the SSME new Block I engine, which will be flown on STS-71. The engine will be shipped to KSC on February 20. 3.
A/Goldin Mr. Goldin stated that he had a very enjoyable and productive visit to KSC–staff was very professional. One general observation from all the Center visits to date is that the employees do not have a clear understanding of the seriousness of the situation. It appears that they are focusing on their jobs, which is a natural. However, we must look beyond that to the space program role from a broader perspective– enhancements that we are going to have to make to this Agency, if we are to survive. The Center Directors are going to have to assume a stronger leadership role in this area to bring the broader message home. Also, there appears to be significant inefficiency and waste–success continues to be measured by dollars controlled and that is a “smoke stack” management philosophy. We have to move away from that mentality. Communication, and/or lack of it continues to be a persistent theme. I randomly ask Center employees about items such as knowing about the Administrator Series Seminars, State of the Agency address, congressional hearings and the comments are not positive–they are not seeing the various broadcasts. It appears that they have a single-Center focus. Again, it is inherent upon the Center Directors through their leadership to communicate an integrated Agency message–not just a Center message. This is going to be a very tough year and we must use every means to communicate with our employees and ensure that they are receiving the Agency message. After my comments at Monday’s staff meeting regarding China and learning to do things differently and with less, Benita Cooper relayed an example of people reassessing need. A request had come in for an increase to a computer buy. After reevaluating the need, based upon my earlier plea and asking if we really need to do some of these things, the request was withdrawn. The message is that we cannot do business as usual. It is a tough message, but it needs to be conveyed to all the employees by management.

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