NASA OIG: NASA's Real Property Master Planning Efforts

Status Report From: NASA Office of Inspector General
Posted: Friday, December 30, 2011

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NASA's development of the Agency's first integrated master plan is a positive step toward better managing its diverse real property assets. However, we found deficiencies within the individual Center master plans the Agency is using to develop the integrated Agency plan that may limit the Plan's usefulness for making strategic real property decisions. Specifically, we found that NASA is developing its initial master plan based on Center master plans that (1) were developed using funding assumptions for the recapitalization program that are no longer realistic and (2) are missing essential information needed to make objective Agency-wide real property decisions. In addition, 5 of the 10 Centers did not develop master plans to reduce their real property footprint in accordance with Agency goals because of uncertain mission requirements.

Moreover, the restrictive criteria and competitive nature of the prioritization process the Agency used for institutional CoF projects - an integral part of implementing the Center master plans - discouraged some Centers from submitting their top priorities for funding. During the audit, NASA Headquarters and the Centers revised the CoF prioritization process in ways we believe will enable the Centers to better prioritize their CoF projects based on a wider range of information. However, these revisions are not yet reflected in NASA policy.

We acknowledge that developing an integrated Agency master plan in a fluctuating budget environment is a significant challenge for NASA. However, we believe that with improved guidance for developing the Center master plans and implementing an institutional CoF prioritization process, NASA will be in a better position to produce a more comprehensive Agency master plan, which in turn will enable the Agency to make better strategic decisions regarding its real property assets, especially decisions that involve trade-offs between the Centers.

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