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Zero Base Review Team Report

By Keith Cowing
May 19, 1995
Filed under ,

REVIEW TEAM PROPOSES SWEEPING MANAGEMENT, ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGES AT NASA
An internal NASA review team has produced proposals to enable the agency to meet the tough funding targets set by the Administration in the 1996 budget, Administrator Daniel S. Goldin said today. The proposals include sweeping management and organizational changes to cut spending an additional $5 billion by the end of the decade.
“I’m pleased with what I’ve seen so far,” Goldin said. “We’ve found ways to streamline operations, reduce overlap, and significantly cut costs without cutting our world-class space and aeronautics programs. We have much hard work before us, but I believe a stronger and more efficient NASA will emerge.”
The internal review does not propose closing any of the agency’s ten major field centers, or shutting down any major programs. Goldin said he is determined to cut infrastructure at the Agency by reducing jobs, facilities, and administrative overhead, rather than terminating core science, aeronautics, and exploration programs. However, Goldin warned that further deep budget cuts now under consideration in Congress would threaten the survival of some NASA centers and major Agency programs.
“Reaching the levels in the Administration budget was an incredibly difficult task,” Goldin said. “The deeper cuts Congress is contemplating simply go too far, and I am committed to fighting them.”
“NASA was already in the process of taking a $35 billion (31%) cut over five years when the President asked us to cut an additional $5 billion. This is an agency designed to operate with a $22 billion budget annually, and we’ll be at $13 billion by the end of the decade under the Administration budget,” Goldin said.
“The American public wants a leaner, more efficient NASA, and we’re prepared to meet that challenge. But they also want and deserve a NASA that maintains our nation’s leadership in space exploration, aeronautics, science, and technology,” he said.
The internal review, known as the “Zero-Base Review,” proposes streamlining functions at the NASA centers, so each installation becomes a “center of excellence,” concentrating on specific aspects of NASA’s mission. At the same time, the proposed changes would reduce overlap and consolidate administrative and program functions across the Agency.
Under the review team’s findings, NASA’s total civil service employment levels would be cut to approximately 17,500 by the year 2000. This is the lowest level of civil servants at NASA since 1961. In addition, the budget reductions would cut an estimated 25,000 contractor personnel. The actual number and distribution of contractor job losses Agencywide would be determined by future business decisions made by the contractors.
The review team proposals will be assessed through the summer months and then become part of the Agency’s Fiscal Year 1997 budget, due to be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget later this year. Goldin began the review last September following guidelines issued by the National Performance Review, a Government-wide effort headed by Vice President Gore to streamline executive agencies. The NASA study intensified in January to meet the President’s budget reduction targets.

Zero-Base Review Operating Guidelines
In performing the study, the Zero-Base Review Team adopted the following operating guidelines.
* Each field center will have a primary mission to reflect its role in a strategic enterprise. NASA’s strategic plan has established a framework for managing the Agency by concentrating key activities into “strategic enterprises.” The five strategic enterprises are Mission to Planet Earth, Aeronautics, Human Exploration and Development of Space, Space Science, and Space Technology.
* Full program costs, including overhead as well as direct costs, will be identified and managed more effectively.
* Only Civil Servants, Jet Propulsion Laboratory employees, and employees of the new institutes will perform in-house science, research and engineering.
* Aerospace operations, including the Space Shuttle, will be performed by NASA contractors.
* Outsourcing and commercial services will be maximized.
* Agency activities and operations will be standardized to the maximum extent possible and commercially available products will be used as appropriate.
Actions Taken/Decisions Made
As part of its reinvention process, NASA has already made a number of decisions to reduce costs and achieve maximum efficiency. Among them:
* NASA has discontinued construction of a Space Shuttle solid rocket motor nozzle fabrication and refurbishment facility at Yellow Creek, MS. The move will save between $450 and $500 million through the year 2012.
* NASA will consolidate the Earth Observing System Data and Operations System function for the first EOS spacecraft at White Sands, NM. This move will save up to $30 million through the year 2000.
* NASA will consolidate software independent verification and validation functions at Fairmont, WV.
* Through a series of management actions, including two employee buyouts, NASA has substantially reduced total personnel. The two buyouts resulted in a reduction of Civil Service staffing by more than 2,600. Other factors, including attrition, have brought total Civil Service full-time staffing levels at NASA from 24,030 in January 1993 to 21,060 in April 1995.
* In line with the Administration’s goals of reducing Washington headquarters staffing, the NASA Headquarters workforce has been reduced by 400 employees from January 1993 to April 1995, a 20 percent reduction. Headquarters is on track for an overall 50 percent reduction in personnel.
* Support service contract costs at NASA Headquarters have been reduced significantly. Staffing has been reduced by approximately 25 percent and total costs for support contracts are down approximately 33 percent for an annual savings in excess of $50 million. Similar reviews of support service contracts are underway at each of the NASA centers.
* NASA has canceled approximately $60 million in spending on custom software for a financial management system in favor of using less expensive, off-the-shelf technology.
* Each field center will be assigned a clearly defined mission, structured along a series of strategic enterprises and functional responsibilities. See the attached “Center Roles and Responsibilities,” for additional details.
* Each NASA center, in self-assessments done for the Zero- Base Review, has identified a series of cuts and cost- saving measures. Those cuts will be included in the formulation of NASA’s FY 1997 budget submittal.
Further Actions Under Consideration
A number of additional measures proposed by the Zero-Base Review Team are being provided as guidelines for the1997 budget. These include:
* Reassigning and consolidating functional management responsibilities (such as personnel management, payroll and other administrative functions) to designated lead centers, a move that would reduce overlap. This approach would allow the Agency to take advantage of advancedtechnologies to deliver the same services for less money.
* Consolidating wide area networks at a single location and contracting for information and communications services. Currently, each NASA center has significant resources devoted to information systems infrastructure.
* Eliminating some administrative aircraft, and consolidating research aircraft operations at a single location.
* Transitioning the management of some science programs to institutes located on or near NASA sites. These institutes would be operated by a university, private industry, or a teaming arrangement.
* Restructuring the Space Shuttle program and preparing it for contractor consolidation and privatization.
Attachment
NASA press releases and other information are available automatically by sending an Internet electronic mail message to domo@hq.nasa.gov. In the body of the message (not the subject line) users should type the words “subscribe press- release” (no quotes). The system will reply with a confirmation via E-mail of each subscription. A second automatic message will include additional information on the service. Questions should be directed to (202) 358-4043.
Center Roles and Responsibilities
One of the most important management changes being made by NASA is the identification and implementation of carefully defined roles for each field installation. NASA’s senior management already has agreed to a specific mission and area of excellence for each Center. One lead Center will manage everything within its area of excellence. Also shown below are proposed realignments that will be reflected in the Agency’s FY 1997 budget guidance. Detailed analysis will occur throughout the summer as part of that process.
Under the review team’s findings, NASA’s total civil service workforce would be cut to approximately 17,500 by FY 2000. The actual number and distribution of contractor job losses Agencywide would be determined by future business decisions made by the contractors. The job estimates below are accurate within 15 percent.

Ames Research Center
Mountain View, CA
Mission:                  Airspace Operations Systems
                          and Astrobiology
Center of Excellence:     Information Technology
Proposed Realignments:    Establish a science institute for
                          astrobiology; retain core in-
                          house aeronautics research
                          capability; consolidate management of
                          aeronautical facilities with Langley
                          Research Center facilities; transfer
                          Moffett airfield; transfer aircraft
                          to Dryden Flight Research Center.
Job Changes by         Estimated Civil Service Losses: -300
FY 2000:               Estimated Contractor Losses:    -1,140
                       Percentage of FY 1996 Baseline:    -35%
Dryden Flight Research Center
Edwards, CA
Mission:               Flight Research
Center of Excellence:  Atmospheric Flight Operations
Proposed Realignments:   Assume flight operations management
                         of all aircraft  except those in
                         support of the Space Shuttle.
Job Changes by           Estimated Civil Service Gains: +200
FY 2000:                 Estimated Contractor Gains:   +100
                         Percentage of FY 1996 Baseline:   +32%
Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD
Mission:                 Earth Science/Physics and Astronomy
Center of Excellence:    Scientific Research
Proposed Realignments:   Transfer Goddard Institute for Space
                         Studies to a university/consortium;
                         consolidate management of the
                         Suborbital program at Goddard; reduce
                         cost of Wallops Flight Facility
                         operations and investigate additional
                         cost-sharing opportunities; increase
                         partnerships with NOAA; consolidate
                         management of communications
                         infrastructure at Johnson Space
                         Center; privatize space science data
                         archiving and distribution; reduce
                         in-house spacecraft development;
                         transfer aircraft to Dryden Flight
                         Research Center.
Job Changes by            Estimated Civil Service Losses:  -550
FY 2000:                  Estimated Contractor Losses:  -2,650
                          Percentage of FY 1996 Baseline:  -28%
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, CA
Mission:                  Planetary Science and Exploration
Center of Excellence:     Deep Space Systems
Proposed Realignments:    Further study of proposal to
                          commercialize ground tracking of
                          low-Earth orbit spacecraft;
                          reduce in-house spacecraft
                          development.
Job Changes by            Estimated Civil Service
                          Losses:  N/A
FY 2000:                  Estimated Contractor Losses:  -1,250
                          Percentage of FY 1996 Baseline:  -22%
Johnson Space Center
Houston, TX
Mission:                  Human Exploration and Astro Materials
Center of Excellence:     Human Operations in Space
Proposed Realignments:    Transfer management of White Sands
                          Test Facility to Stennis Space
                          Center; assume management of
                          communications infrastructure;
                          establish institutes for
                          biomedical and planetary science;
                          streamline engineering and
                          facilities (no personnel
                          transfers).
Job Changes by            Estimated Civil Service Losses:  -500
FY 2000:                  Estimated Contractor Losses:  -2,750
                          Percentage of FY 1996 Baseline:  -21%
Kennedy Space Center
Kennedy Space Center, FL
Mission/Center of
Excellence:               Space Launch
Proposed Realignments:    Shuttle contractor consolidations;
                          assume management of Atlas-class
                          expendable launch vehicles from
                          Lewis Research Center.
Job Changes by            Estimated Civil Service Losses:-1,150
FY 2000:                  Estimated Contractor Losses:  -2,000
                          Percentage of FY 1996 Baseline:  -24%
Langley Research Center
Hampton, VA
Mission:                  Airframe Systems,Aerodynamics, and
                          Atmospheric Science
Center of Excellence:     Structures and Materials
Proposed Realignments:    Provide program analysis and
                          evaluation function for Agency;
                          transition atmospheric science to an
                          institute; transfer aircraft to
                          Dryden Flight Research Center.
Job Changes by            Estimated Civil Service Losses:  -200
FY 2000:                  Estimated Contractor Losses:  -800
                          Percentage of FY 1996 Baseline:  -21%
Lewis Research Center
Cleveland, OH
Mission:                  Aeropropulsion
Center of Excellence:     Turbomachinery
Proposed Realignments:    Transfer Atlas-Class expendable
                          launch vehicle management to
                          Kennedy Space Center; retain
                          Plumbrook on a fully-reimbursable
                          basis; establish an institute for
                          microgravity and space power; close
                          the rocket engine test facility;
                          transfer aircraft to Dryden Flight
                          Research Center.
Job Changes by            Estimated Civil Service Losses:  -400
FY 2000:                  Estimated Contractor Losses:  -1,100
                          Percentage of FY 1996 Baseline:  -33%
Marshall Space Flight Center
Huntsville, AL
Mission:                  Transportation Systems Development
                          and Microgravity
Center of Excellence:     Space Propulsion
Proposed Realignments:    Further study of proposed transfer of
                          payload operations to Johnson Space
                          Center; further study of establishing
                          an institute for science, including
                          hydrolog mothball the Technology
                          Test Bed; provide technical
                          excellence in large optical
                          systems/mirrors.
Job Changes by            Estimated Civil Service Losses:  -650
FY 2000:                  Estimated Contractor Losses:  -1,350
                          Percentage of FY 1996 Baseline:  -30%
Stennis Space Center
Stennis Space Center, MS
Mission/Center of
Excellence:               Propulsion Test
Proposed Realignments:    Assume management of White Sands Test
                          Facility from Johnson Space Center;
                          manage all future rocket propulsion
                          testing; pursue National Propulsion
                          Test Alliance.
Job Changes by            Estimated Civil Service Losses:  0
FY 2000:                  Estimated Contractor Losses:  -100
                          Percentage of FY 1996 Baseline:  -9%
NASA Headquarters
Washington, DC
Mission/Center of
Excellence:               Corporate office
Proposed Realignments:    Reduce FY 1993 staffing level by 50
                          percent in accordance with National
                          Performance Review guidelines; align
                          selected program and functional
                          responsibilities to field centers.
Job Changes by            Civil Service Losses:  -450
FY 2000:                  Estimated Contractor Losses:  -500
                          Percentage of FY 1996 Baseline: -30%

Additionally, two areas not represented in the Center listings above will also provide significant workforce reductions. The Zero-Base Review anticipates that by consolidating information and communications systems across NASA, 1,800 contractor jobs will be eliminated Agencywide by FY 2000. Further, it is anticipated that by moving to a single prime contractor on the Space Shuttle program, another 5,000-10,000 contractor jobs will be eliminated Agencywide by FY 2000.

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