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Message from the NASA Administrator: Preparing Our Workforce for the Future

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Friday, April 26, 2013

image At NASA, we are dedicated to innovation, bold ideas, and excellence. These values are just as important in day-to-day operations as they are in launching rockets and building spacecraft. We have achieved so much in the past few years, and that would not have been possible without your hard work, creativity and expertise. You are essential to NASA, and I am proud of all that you do.

Instead of resting on past achievements, NASA has always been about reaching for the future. As I look ahead, I see a NASA that is a model organization operating even more effectively than today - a seamless organization that applies resources and talents across our agency as needed. I see an agency that is not constrained by stovepipes or traditional boundaries. Agility and versatility are encouraged, and being good stewards of taxpayer dollars while using the best tools to accomplish our bold mission is a part of everything we do.

We must work together to make this vision a reality - no subset of us can do this alone. All agency leaders, program and project managers, center line managers, and employees have a role in building upon our existing strengths and removing barriers. We have been moving in this direction for some time now, and while budget realities may push us to find more creative solutions faster, a more flexible, engaged workplace has always been my goal.

I have asked my senior management team and several others in the agency to identify barriers to innovation and collaboration, and come up with specific action plans to remove those barriers as much as possible. One of the items that constantly appears on everyone's list is allowing for more workforce flexibility to better prepare our teams for their future missions. One way to do this is for programs and centers to operate flexibly in the year of execution by assigning work in ways that align with and develop new skills and capabilities of our employees.

To this end, I want line management and project management to share in developing and preparing our workforce for the future. Line managers will look for development opportunities for their teams, and project managers will allow the flexibility within their existing charge codes for these opportunities, as long as mission work is successfully being accomplished. Consistent with this approach, project managers will support and fund innovative efforts related directly to projects or to the overall mission and future programs.

I believe providing this greater workforce flexibility will make the workforce stronger and more prepared for the future missions while still accomplishing the great work we do today. I encourage each of you to be open to non-traditional assignments as a way to expand on your skill sets. Managers should be versatile and open to innovative and different ways of doing business, even if it challenges your own norms. We don't do change for the sake of change. We do what makes us stronger and smarter and accomplishes the mission.

You are the best workforce in the government, and the work you do is important. With a stronger commitment to innovation and greater workforce flexibility, I am confident our best days lie ahead.

Together, we can master this challenge in our workplaces. Thank you for doing your part in whatever role you play.

Charlie B.

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