[FPSPACE] Aldridge commission recommendations leaked
zirconic1 at earthlink.net
Fri Jun 11 10:20:09 EDT 2004
Moon-to-Mars Commission Recommends Major Changes at NASA
By Brian Berger
Space News Staff Writer
posted: 09:40 pm ET
10 June 2004
WASHINGTON -- A presidential commission will recommend next week streamlining the NASA bureaucracy and turning at least some of the U.S. space agencies 10 field centers into federally funded research and development centers like the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is operated for NASA by the California Institute of Technology.
The President's Commission on Implementation of U.S. Space Exploration Policy is scheduled to release its final report June 16. A summary of the report obtained by Space News outlines the organizational changes the commission says NASA needs to make if it is to achieve the space exploration goals laid out by President George W. Bush in January. Those goals include returning humans to the moon by 2020 in preparation for eventual human expeditions to Mars.
The forthcoming report, "A Journey to Inspire, Innovate, and Discover", will also recommend the establishment of a so-called Space Exploration Steering Council reporting to the president. The last time that such a body reported to such a high level was the White House National Space Council during the first Bush administration, which was headed by Vice President Dan Quayle.
"The commission unanimously endorses this ambitious yet thoroughly achievable goal of space exploration," the report summary reads. "This will require a steady commitment from current and future Administrations, Congresses, and the American people
Our journey will require the government to embrace fundamental changes in its management and organization."
According to the summary, the report will say NASA needs to transform its organizational structure, business culture and management processes "all largely inherited from the Apollo era" if it is to accomplish the multi-decade exploration agenda laid out by the president.
Specifically, the commission will recommend that:
* NASA centers be spun off as Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC). The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., commonly misidentified as a NASA field center, is actually an FFRDC managed by the California Institute of Technology.
* NASA allow the private industry "to assume the primary role of providing services to NASA, and most immediately in accessing low-Earth orbit."
* NASA and Congress work together to create three new organizations within the space agency: a technical advisory board, a independent cost estimating organization, and a research and technology organization that sponsors high risk technology development efforts.
When Bush chartered the commission in January, he asked its chairman, former U.S. Air Force Secretary Edward (Pete) Aldridge, to report back within 100 days with recommendations for implementing the space exploration vision.
The commission gathered public testimony during hearings held in Washington, New York, Atlanta, San Francisco and Dayton, Ohio. The last hearing was held May 3.
The commission had been scheduled to release its report here June 11, but that event was postponed due to activities here honoring former U.S. President Ronald Reagan who died June 5.
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