From: NASA Office of Inspector General
Posted: Monday, May 18, 2015
NASA's ability to sustain its ambitious exploration, science, and aeronautics programs will be driven in large measure by whether the Agency is able to adequately fund such high-profile initiatives as its commercial cargo and crew
programs, the Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule, the International Space Station, the James Webb Space Telescope, the Mars 2020 Rover, and the personnel and infrastructure associated with these and other missions.
Over the past year, the Office of Inspector General has raised concerns about the sustainability of NASA's varied missions given that the Agency's "top-line" funding level is likely to remain relatively flat for at least the next several years. Accordingly, we believe the principal challenge facing NASA leaders is to effectively manage the Agency's varied programs in an uncertain budget environment.
In addition to this overarching challenge, NASA managers must address a myriad of project- and facility-specific issues. During this reporting period, we issued our annual report identifying seven top management and performance challenges facing NASA:
- Managing NASA's Human Space Exploration Programs: the International Space Station, Commercial Crew Transportation, and the Space Launch System
- Managing NASA's Science Portfolio
- Ensuring Continued Efficacy of the Space Communications Networks
- Overhauling NASA's Information Technology Governance Structure
- Ensuring the Security of NASA's Information Technology Systems
- Managing NASA's Infrastructure and Facilities
- Ensuring the Integrity of the Contracting and Grants Processes and the Proper Use of Space Act Agreements
Moving forward, we intend to examine NASA's continuing efforts to meet these and related challenges through our audit and investigative work. For example, our Office of Audits recently issued a report identifying shortcomings in NASA's Deep Space Network, which provides vital communications with robotic explorers in deep space. We also issued a report on the status of launch support and infrastructure modernization efforts at the Kennedy Space Center critical for launch of the Space Launch System and Orion, and a companion review examining NASA's efforts to transition the Center from a Government-only launch site to a multiuser spaceport hosting commercial launches.
At the same time, our Office of Investigations actively pursued allegations involving misuse of NASA funds and misconduct by NASA employees, contractors, and grant recipients. During the past 6 months, we investigated matters involving bribery, contract and grant fraud, false statements, ethical violations, falsification of inspection records, and export control regulations.
Finally, we note with deep appreciation the significant contributions of Kevin Winters, former Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, who retired in February after directing our Office of Investigations for 9 years. We thank him for his legacy of integrity, leadership, and effectiveness.
This semiannual report summarizes the NASA Office of Inspector General's activities and accomplishments between October 1, 2014, and March 31, 2015. We hope you find it informative.
Paul K. Martin
Inspector General April 30, 2015
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