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NASA's Strategic Direction and the Need for a National Consensus (2012)

Chapter: Appendix A Statement of Task

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A Statement of Task." National Research Council. 2012. NASA's Strategic Direction and the Need for a National Consensus. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18248.
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A

Statement of Task

The National Research Council will appoint an ad hoc committee to assess whether the strategic direction of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, as defined by the 2011 NASA strategic plan, remains viable and whether the agency’s activities and organization efficiently and effectively support that direction in light of the potential for constrained budgets for the foreseeable future. In particular the committee will:

 

1.   Consider the strategic direction of the agency as set forth most recently in 2011 NASA Strategic Plan and other relevant statements of space policy issued by the President of the United States.

2.   Consider the goals for the agency set forth in the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 (as amended) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Acts of 2005, 2008 and 2010.

3.   Consider previous studies and reports relevant to this task.

4.   Assess the relevance of NASA’s strategic direction and goals to achieving national priorities.

5.   Assess the viability of NASA’s strategic direction and goals in the context of current budget expectations and stated programmatic priorities for the agency.

6.   Discuss the appropriateness of the budgetary balance between NASA’s various programs;

7.   Examine NASA’s organizational structure and identify changes that could improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Agency’s mission activities; and

8.   Recommend how NASA could establish and effectively communicate a common, unifying vision for NASA’s strategic direction that encompasses NASA’s varied missions.

 

Any recommendations made by the committee will be predicated on the assumption that NASA’s out-year budget profile will be constrained due to continuing deficit reduction.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix A Statement of Task." National Research Council. 2012. NASA's Strategic Direction and the Need for a National Consensus. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18248.
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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is widely admired for astonishing accomplishments since its formation in 1958. Looking ahead over a comparable period of time, what can the nation and the world expect of NASA? What will be the agency's goals and objectives, and what will be the strategy for achieving them? More fundamentally, how will the goals, objectives, and strategy be established and by whom? How will they be modified to reflect changes in science, technology, national priorities, and available resources?

In late 2011, the United States Congress directed the NASA Office of Inspector General to commission a "comprehensive independent assessment of NASA's strategic direction and agency management." Subsequently, NASA requested that the National Research Council (NRC) conduct this independent assessment. In the spring of 2012, the NRC Committee on NASA's Strategic Direction was formed and began work on its task. The committee determined that, only with a national consensus on the agency's future strategic direction—along the lines described in the full NRC report—can NASA continue to deliver the wonder, the knowledge, the national security and economic benefits, and the technology that have been typified by its earlier history. NASA's Strategic Direction and the Need for a National Consensus summarizes the findings and recommendations of the committee.

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