1. . Single Line of Authority—All direction, both program/project direction and ancillary functional direction, should come down to performing organizations from higher management levels through a single management chain. Decision making must be consistent with budget allocation, lest conflicts arise.

  1. Quality of Science Output—A fundamental principle of successful science management must be that high-quality science be produced. Factors that contribute to high quality include informed and unbiased selection of the best performers and openness of the program to involvement by the scientific community in program planning and execution. As a corollary to achieving high-quality science, systems to evaluate that quality must be in place and must be used to constructively influence program activities. Evaluation systems include peer review for selection; visiting committees of scientific authorities to evaluate programs, projects, and institutions; performance reviews of individual performers; and such statistics as number of refereed publications.

  2. Cost-effectiveness—Not only must the absolute quality of the science be high, but quality must be high in relation to program cost. High quality is achieved by the factors cited above. Low cost follows from reducing infrastructure costs (both workforce and facilities) to the minimum and eliminating excessive oversight of performers. Careful planning and management on the part of both managers and investigators are crucial to achieving high cost-effectiveness.

  3. Responsibilities of a National Capability in Space Science—Science programs of an agency like NASA do not exist in isolation but must relate to the corresponding national interest in promoting national security, economic health, and societal well-being. NASA 's programs must address maintenance of key national space science competences and capabilities, including those of the universities (research and education) and industry, as well as government. Planning and decision making must therefore address national—and perhaps even international—interests and capabilities along with narrower programmatic factors.


Chapter 2 briefly describes the way that space science is currently organized and managed in NASA. A number of changes have been or are being introduced concurrently with this study. Because of this, the recommendations that follow are stated so as to be broadly applicable and transcend the specific details of the organization.

The major imperatives for the recent and coming changes are the continuing pressure for budget reductions and the Administration initiative to reinvent government. These imperatives have led to a significant downsizing of NASA, now under way. An internal “Zero Base Review, ”1 the subject of briefings to Congress on May 19, 1995, concluded that the budget targets of the Administration can be achieved by reducing infrastructure costs (streamlining operations, reducing overlap, and so forth) without cutting programs or closing any of NASA's 10 major field centers.2 Cuts beyond those in the budget submission are likely to threaten program content.

The NASA civil service workforce has already been reduced through buyouts and attrition. Actions are being taken to further reduce the NASA Headquarters infrastructure, both civil service and support


“Review Team Proposes Sweeping Management, Organizational Changes at NASA,” NASA News Release, May 19, 1995. “NASA Zero Base Review and FY 1997 Budget Process,” briefings to Congress, May 1995.


The House Committee on Appropriations report (104-201, p. 85) subsequently questioned whether it would be possible to continue to fund all of the centers in future years, however.

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