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Status Of Federal Laboratory Reforms

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Table of Contents

I. Introduction
II. Summary of Findings
III. Recommendations
IV. Findings
Department of Defense
Department of Energy
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
V. Summary
A: Fact Sheet on Presidential Decision Directive (PDD/NSTC-5) Guidelines for Federal Laboratory Reform
B: OSTP Questions and DOD Answers: Summer 1996
C: Report of External Members of DOE Laboratory Operations Board: October 1996
D: NASA Implementation Report: August 1996


I. Introduction

In the summer of 1996, the Executive Office of the President undertook a study to assess the progress of the Departments of Defense (DOD) and Energy (DOE) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in implementing reforms directed in Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) NSTC-5, Guidelines for Federal Laboratory Reform (see Appendix A). These agencies already had reform efforts underway, but the PDD specifically called for agency action in four areas. The agencies were directed to streamline management practices, regulations, and oversight that impede laboratory performance; clarify and focus laboratory missions; reduce or eliminate low priority programs; and coordinate laboratory resources and facilities to eliminate unnecessary duplication.

The objective of the reforms mandated by the President is to maintain the scientific excellence that is the hallmark of our national science and technology enterprise while improving scientific productivity. Beyond this important goal, successful reform will also have a significant impact on the broader objective of making government work better for less. The laboratory systems of DOD, DOE, and NASA are by far the largest in the federal government, accounting for at least 20 percent of the entire federal research and development (R&D) budget, and spending over 80 percent of the funds allocated government-wide to federal laboratories. Collectively they play a major role in performing R&D to serve national needs. Moreover, the individual laboratories are rich in human talent and facilities, many of which provide unique, state-of-the-art capabilities used by researchers from universities and industry. The DOE and NASA laboratories are deeply integrated into the fundamental science enterprise, while the overarching mission of the DOD and DOE weapons laboratories is to serve national security requirements. All the laboratories have been vital forces in advancing technology associated with their missions, and most participate in partnerships, collect ively supporting a broad range of industrial sectors.

To conduct this study, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) polled the subject agencies, sampled the laboratories, and examined documents pertaining to agency and laboratory reform as well as reports produced by other government agencies, including those of the General Accounting Office. The Department of Energy invited OSTP to observe its internal meetings as well as those of its Laboratory Operations Board. This participation provided us with a deeper exposure to DOE's progress and challenges than can be obtained via documentation and discussion alone.

This status report provides a snapshot of an ongoing, dynamic reform process in all three agencies and their laboratories. Section II summarizes how the agencies have responded to the Presidential Decision Directive, emphasizing aspects more or less common among the three agencies. In Section III we propose recommendations for how to build on the reforms accomplished to date, and include suggestions for next steps. Section IV details our findings by individual agency, followed by a brief summary in Section V. Appendices provide additional details from each agency on the status of its reforms.

II. Summary of Findings

Considerable effort is being expended by DOD, DOE, NASA, and their laboratories to plan, document, and implement the directives of the PDD as well as the agencies' own independent reform initiatives. Both reforms and downsizing have considerable momentum and are continuing, since much remains to be done. White House and Congressional mandates, along with budgetary pressures, are driving the changes.

1. Mission clarification and priority setting. Each agency is engaged in a major strategic planning process, typically involving employee and stakeholder input, with the plans available to the public through their Internet home pages. None of the agency strategic plans, however, includes a clear and specific vision describing the role and nature of that agency's laboratory system--the 'end-point' of reform--in sufficient detail to guide its evolution. Nonetheless, agency and laboratory missions are being clarified substantially, refined, and communicated. Few, if any, hard priority choices have been made, except when forced by immediate budgetary pressures or specific Congressional action.

2. Regulation, directive, and oversight reform. The agencies are revising directives and orders, and the quantity of such documents has been reduced markedly. In addition, staffing levels have decreased and the number of contract compliance audits has declined. Despite what agencies report to us about the progress they have made in this area, it is too soon to assess reductions in administrative work resulting from the decrease in directives and orders. To date, the substantial effort invested in reviewing and reducing directives and orders tends to have outweighed the savings. This effort is likely to abate as the reforms mature. Beyond that, however, we found that declining numbers of directives and orders do not necessarily translate into decreased requirements (or even the number of pages in the directives and orders). In addition, continuing micromanagement of the laboratories impedes progress, particularly at DOE. The message from agency top management for change is often not implemented a t the working level.

3. Management streamlining. Beyond the effort invested in reducing directives, orders, and oversight, agencies and laboratories have started to reengineer administrative and support functions. This activity is coupled with the directives and oversight reform described above, because inefficient administrative/support systems evolved to meet agency directives and the requirements of procedures manuals. As onerous requirements are eliminated, streamlining becomes possible. Automation of administr ative systems and electronic communication are simplifying administrative processes by reducing the number of steps and the need for redundant information entry and processing by different offices involved in each transaction. Simultaneously, the transaction speed and the ability to check status of administrative processes are increasing.

Management streamlining is proceeding at the agencies and individual laboratories, tailored to each situation. Streamlining options and progress, however, are limited by the requirements of federal personnel rules and other regulations, over which the agencies and laboratories have no control. If these requirements were relaxed or eliminated, the laboratories would have considerably more latitude to reduce support costs and increase scientific productivity and quality.

Staff reduction programs are having an impact on both technical and support personnel. In some cases, these losses have weakened program management capability at agency headquarters, and eroded scientific and technical excellence and leadership at the laboratories. For research laboratories with Civil Service staff, limits on the number of high-GS-level personnel hamper the retention of highly qualified scientists and engineers. Since the entry level for Ph.D. scientists and engineers is GS-11 or 12, these technical personnel find their career advancement slowed or blocked. In essence this policy encourages the best people to seek employment elsewhere after a few years, to find opportunities for promotion. Furthermore, nonvoluntary staff reduction programs tend to reverse recent progress in workforce diversity, as minorities, women, and the disabled typically have less seniority than average.

4. Interagency, interservice, and interlaboratory coordination. Cooperation and collaboration is growing among agencies, laboratories, industry, and academia on R&D topics of mutual interest. This cooperation is broader than the three agencies included in the initial laboratory-reform effort, and can be credited in part to tightening budgets and the Administration's emphasis on pooling resources and forming partnerships, and in part to regular, formal interactions via NSTC Committees. Contacts among agency and laboratory personnel and programs close to the grass-roots level have been important in formulating scientific initiatives and in advancing science and technology. The computerized interagency Major Facilities Inventory (accessible through the Internet at includes over 1700 R&D facilities operated by NASA, DOD, DOE, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Federal Aviation Agency ( FAA).

5. Performance measures and tracking reform progress. It is difficult but important to identify a set of measures (both quantitative and qualitative) that accurately indicates reform progress. However, the primary focus on cost savings and staff reduction as key indicators paints at best an incomplete picture, and at worst can be counter-productive. These metrics have no direct bearing on R&D quality or relevance nor on the organization's contributions to national goals. Agencies are investing considerable effort in developing performance measures and collecting data. While some of this attention and effort is useful, in other cases the cost of the measurement exceeds the value of the information obtained. For quality of science the somewhat subjective assessment of an external peer group remains the most accurate metric. As recommended by the NSTC publication Assessing Fundamental Science, it will be important to utilize the maximum flexibility in the Government Performance and Results Act to implement meaningful measures of R&D output, and to use assessments of scientific productivity and quality in combination with measures of efficiency and cost reduction to characterize reform progress. Each agency and laboratory would be expected to have some customized performance measures appropriate to its missions, but not necessarily applicable or useful to other agencies and laboratories.

6. Comparisons and extrapolations. Meaningful comparisons among the agencies and their laboratory systems are difficult, and extrapolating from the experiences of one to the complex as a whole can be subject to large error. Comparisons with regard to productivity improvement are especially risky, since the laboratories and agencies did not start at the same levels of efficiency nor did they have the same problems. Moreover, readily available data are frequently not comparable from agency to agency, among the laboratories, among services within DOD, or even within a service. For the outcomes of greatest interest--R&D quality, relevance/appropriateness, and productivity--there are no generally accepted metrics, except for qualitative evaluations obtainable via peer review. Data and metrics that are available are only weak indicators of the desired outcomes.

7. Institutional Diversity. The agencies and their laboratories differ substantially, making standardized reform undesirable. Among the differences are civil service vs contractor workforces; operation by the government vs profit contractor vs not-for-profit contractor; and the specific missions and core competencies. This diversity, in combination with the diversity provided by industrial and academic research performers, is a strength of the American R&D system. It should be modified only when doing so would increase simultaneously the efficiency, productivity, mission accomplishment, and innovation capability of the performers. Standardization for its own sake is likely to be counterproductive, although gains may be possible by ensuring that the institutional characteristics of each laboratory are well matched to its mission.

III. Recommendations

The reform process is difficult--involving the disruption or termination of long-established, if inefficient, ways of doing business. Understanding the barriers to reform and developing mechanisms to overcome these barriers will be the keys to success. We offer eight recommendations to accelerate laboratory reform. These recommendations fall into three categories, those aimed at enhancing scientific and technical excellence, those that would streamline management and improve productivity, and those intended to improve the utilization of laboratory capabilities to address national needs. In addition, we propose a ninth recommendation addressing next steps for the NSTC to build on the progress that has already been made, and to extend the reforms to the fed eral laboratories of other agencies.

To enhance scientific and technical excellence

1. Existing laws, regulations, and executive guidance must be reviewed and modified to enable agencies and their laboratories to implement personnel practices that promote scientific competence and renewal in the workforce, especially at the government-op erated laboratories.

2. Performance measures (quantitative, qualitative, and peer review) tailored to the unique character of R&D should be developed and implemented to assess research quality, importance, and laboratory productivity. (Reference: Assessing Fundamental Science and the Government Performance and Results Act.)

3. Incentives should be developed to reward agencies and laboratories for initiatives that preserve or enhance programmatic excellence and productivity while reducing costs. Such incentives might include allowing the laboratories to apply administrative savings to their scientific programs, greater latitude for "Laboratory Directed R&D," and reduced agency micromanagement and oversight.

To streamline management and improve productivity

4. Intensified agency leadership at the highest levels is needed to ensure that the intentions of the reform process are reflected in day-to-day operations and in requirements imposed on the laboratories.

5. Laws and regulations on any subject that impede laboratory reform should be reviewed to identify candidates for repeal or modification.

6. The number and length of agency-specific regulations, directives, and procedures should be reduced to the absolute minimum necessary for safe, effective, and efficient operations. They should describe desired outcomes, and set standards, but not mandate specific approaches. This policy would mean, for example, that DOE should rely on external regulation of its laboratories, except in specialized areas where the operations are unique and hazardous and there are no appropriate external regulators.

7. The Administration and Congress should conduct a pilot project to fund R&D tasks at the laboratories on a multiyear basis, to eliminate inefficiencies built into annual funding.

To improve utilization of laboratory capabilities to address national needs

8. The NSTC should examine further and propose ways to reduce the legal, financial, institutional, and cultural barriers to optimum utilization of laboratory capabilities to promote greater cooperation among all federal agencies and laboratories, and with the industrial and academic sectors.

Next Step

9. The NSTC should establish an interagency working group on federal laboratories to address these recommendations, review barriers to laboratory reform, share lessons learned across government, and develop and implement an action plan to continue the ref orm process.

IV. Findings

Department of Defense

In 1995, the Department of Defense (DOD) spent approximately $36 billion (nearly 14% of its FY 1995 $253 billion budget authority) on research, development, and test & evaluation (RDT&E). The RDT&E organizations employ a workforce of almost 108,000 personnel - approximately 90,000 civilian and 18,000 military. DOD has 120 laboratories and test and evaluation centers. There are 87 laboratory sites: 29 Army, 38 Navy, 19 Air Force, and one defense-wide. In addition, there are also several test and evaluation (T&E) centers, some of which are collocated with the laboratories: 15 Army, 18 Navy, 9 Air Force, and 7 defense-wide. In general, these laboratories are actively managed at the service level, rather than at the level of the Office the Secretary of Defense (OSD), with OSD performing a policy oversight role.

1. Mission Clarification and Priority Setting

  • DOD's Vision 21, published April 30, 1996, describes what DOD's approach will be to developing a detailed plan for consolidating and restructuring DOD laboratories and Test and Evaluation centers into as few installations as possible by 1 October 2005.

  • DOD will identify to the 105th Congress new legislation the Secretary considers necessary to accomplish downsizing and consolidation of the laboratories and test and evaluation centers.

  • DOD will submit a plan for reducing personnel; intra-service and cross-service restructuring; and creating modernized, efficient, and effective laboratories to Congress and the President by 1 July 1998.

  • The Director of Defense Research and Engineering established the Defense S&T Advisory Group (DSTAG) to advise on strategic planning, programming, budgeting, review and assessment of the DOD S&T program.

  • DOD uses three plans to insure coordination between Science and Technology functions.
    • The Basic Research Plan.
    • The Joint Warfighting Science and Technology Plan.
    • The Defense Technology Area Plan.

  • DOD has reviewed the role of its FFRDCs (Federally Funded Research and Development Centers) and chartered an independent review by the Defense Science Board.

2. Reforms in Orders, Regulations, and Oversight

  • Consistent with Executive Order 12861, "Elimination of One Half of Executive Branch Internal Regulations," the Department is reviewing existing DOD regulations, seeking opportunities to eliminate or streamline those that are redundant or unnecessary, including those that affect its RDT&E enterprise. For example, DOD is revising Directive 3201.1, "Management of DOD Research and Development Laboratories" to encompass redundant instructions in Directives 3201.3, "DOD Research and Development Laboratories," and 3202.1, "Use of DOD Research Facilities by Academic Investigators."

  • DOD acquisition regulations can have a chilling effect on research, and progress has been made in reducing their number, which has fallen from 766 to 505 (a 35% reduction). The focus is on canceling obsolete regulations and streamlining others.

  • The total page count for regulations of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology (OUSDAT) was reduced 45 percent from 155,000 to 84,000 pages. This reduced number of pages still seems too large to be understood and followed in an efficient manner.

3. Streamlining and management improvements

  • Project Reliance, the Laboratory Quality Improvement Program (LQIP), and the Base Realignment and Closure Process (BRAC), are the three major thrusts in DOD's efforts to streamline and improve management practices. These ongoing streamlining and management improvement projects are projected to reduce RDT&E personnel (military and civilian) from 121,000 to 86,000 (29%) between FY 1992 and FY 2001.

  • Since 1985, the buying power of RDT&E funding defense-wide has declined $9.7 billion ( in constant 1997 dollars) to $36 billion in FY 1997.

  • DOD and congressional action have reduced FFRDC budgets by 34% since FY 1991.

  • The 1988, 1991, 1993, and 1995 base closures have entered the implementation phase and significant reductions in the Department's laboratory and T&E infrastructure have begun. Fourteen Army, 40 Navy, and 8 Air Force sites are to be closed or realigned by FY 2001. Approximately 20% of BRAC-directed actions have been implemented.

  • Ratios of direct to indirect workers at the laboratories have changed as personnel levels dropped, e.g. the Air Force's Wright Laboratory decreased support staff by 20% (from 500 to 400) but scientists and engineers by only 17% (from 1800 to 1550) bet ween September 1992 and July 1996.

  • Sites designated Reinvention Laboratories under the National Performance Review may carry out personnel demonstration projects and propose waivers to burdensome regulations. The Office of Personnel Management has approved five Army projects, and in March 1997 the Air Force implemented a demonstration, which will affect 2800 scientists and engineers at Wright, Rome, Armstrong, and Phillips Laboratories.

  • The LQIP has enabled DOD to streamline management practices by raising the dollar threshold for expedited handling of construction and small purchases, and by demonstrating an alternative personnel system. The Office of Personnel Management has removed DOD's direct-hire authority for Ph.D. level scientists and engineers, which makes it harder for DOD's Laboratories to compete for these technical staff.

  • Highly qualified DOD laboratory scientists and engineers are leaving the laboratories, because of restrictions on the number of high-grade personnel prescribed by Executive Order 12839. Wright Laboratory, for example, reports losing thirteen of its best early- to mid-career employees, nine of whom were Ph.D.s, because those employees felt there were few prospects for promotion substantially above the GS level at which they entered. The Administration issued this Executive Order to reduce the number of government managers, but it also applies to nonsupervisory Ph.D.s at high GS levels.

4. Interagency, Interservice, and Interlaboratory Coordination

  • Coordinated review of DOD's laboratories will begin in early 1998.

  • DOD opposes consolidating its FFRDCs, because it believes each offers unique expertise.

Department of Energy

The Department of Energy has nine multiprogram laboratories and fourteen program-dedicated laboratories. All but one are operated for the department by various university and corporate contractors. Operating costs for all the laboratories total approximately $8.5 billion per year. From headquarters and through its network of field offices, the Department provides oversight; manages the contracts; ensures laboratory compliance with environmental, safety, and health regulations. National security, energy/environment, and science form the core missions of the multiprogram laboratories while the program-dedicated laboratories operate user facilities or pursue single-purpose science or technology missions.

1. Mission Clarification and Priority Setting

  • DOE published its strategic plan Fueling a Competitive Economy in April 1994. Subsequently each program secretarial office has issued its own strategic plan. Each laboratory prepares an Institutional Plan annually, and these plans now include a major section that constitutes the laboratory's strategic plan.

  • In response to recommendations of the Galvin panel, DOE established the Laboratory Operations Board (LOB), which meets regularly to advise the Secretary on laboratory management issues. The LOB is aware of and is addressing the issues and concerns ide ntified in this report.

  • Information on the structure, funding, and missions of the Department's laboratories is compiled and published in Strategic Laboratory Missions Plan-Phase 1, published in July 1996.

  • The LOB reviewed how DOE selects R&D performers for its work among universities, government laboratories, and the private sector.

  • A future LOB review will examine the Department's small mission-specific laboratories to determine their relevance to DOE missions and if any are candidates for privatization, alternative contracting mechanisms, or closure.

  • The LOB will also examine the institutional and strategic plans of the multiprogram laboratories in evaluating their contribution to the needs of the Department.

  • External LOB members will consider how best to evaluate the scientific and technical merit of the laboratories.

2. Reforms in Orders, Regulations, and Oversight

  • DOE is reformulating and reducing directives and orders, the means by which it establishes formal requirements and guidance for its laboratories.

  • During 1995 DOE halved the number of orders to the laboratories (from 312 to 156) and reformulated the 100 most burdensome orders into "user-friendly" documents. According to the laboratories, fewer orders did not necessarily result in fewer pages of instructions, reductions in requirements, or savings in administrative laboratory personnel. New orders are sometimes accompanied by extensive "guidance" about how to comply, sometimes resulting in longer more prescriptive documents than the original orders.

  • The Department has begun reforming the audit/appraisal process, which includes business practice reviews, technical reviews, and environment, safety, and health reviews conducted by the Department and other review groups.

  • During a pilot period (April 1995 to April 1996 for 16 laboratories), Department business practice reviews fell from 324 to 21; person-years devoted to these reviews were reduced from 14 to 4.7; and associated costs were reduced from $10.2 million to $2.8 million.

  • DOE is piloting Functional Cost Reporting, in which the laboratories would report support costs in 24 categories. This proposal appears to be a step backward, and to add work without commensurate benefit or value.

  • DOE announced its intention to shift over a ten year period from internal regulation of nuclear activities (except for nuclear explosives) to external regulation by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and is preparing for congressional consideration the draft legislation required. Discussions are underway for Department of Labor oversight of DOE's industrial and construction safety and health practices.

  • DOE is moving from compliance-based environment, health, and safety (ES&H) regulations to a system based on site-specific "necessary and sufficient" standards (with some limitations for Defense Nuclear Facilities). Each site has invested considerable effort in identifying and codifying those standards that are "necessary and sufficient" for responsible management of safety, health, and environmental issues. ES&H reforms have not necessarily resulted in savings to the laboratories or in demonstrably improved safety performance. In some cases the reforms seem to have created more requirements. DOE's ES&H management could be characterized as documentation and reporting intensive.

3. Streamlining and Management Improvements

  • Laboratories have ‘reinvented' some management practices, resulting in improved productivity.

  • The laboratories have agreed on a set of three ‘Productivity Metrics,' and report data annually compared with FY 1994 as the baseline. Uniformly the laboratories report increased research to support ratios, increased percent of research effort conducted by technical workers, and reduced average operating cost per research staff member.

  • The Department has started to allow M&O contractors to use some of the best commercial practices for procurement, rather than continue to require them to conform to the Federal and Department of Energy Acquisition Regulations (FARs and DEARs).

  • The number of DOE Federal workers and laboratory employees has declined as a result of agency and laboratory actions and Congressionally mandated cuts.
    • DOE Federal workers (excluding the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) fell from a high of 18,900 employees in FY 1993 to 17,300 in FY 1996, and are projected to reach 15,000 by FY 2000.
    • The greatest number of personnel in the DOE laboratory system are in the nine multiprogram laboratories. Between FY 1993 and FY 1996 the number of laboratory personnel fell from approximately 50,800 to 47,500 (not including subcontractor employees, although these are also reported to have declined.)

4. Interagency, Interservice, and Interlaboratory Coordination

  • The Department has established an R&D Council of the R&D Assistant Secretaries to improve internal coordination and integration of various functions.

  • Laboratory Directors meet quarterly with each other and DOE top management to improve coordination and communication.

  • The Office of Defense Programs is working to make its three laboratories work together as a system.

  • The Office of Energy Research is in the early stages of creating a "Laboratory System" of its laboratories.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

At the end of the third quarter of FY 1996, NASA had a total workforce of 21,555 Civil Servants at its Headquarters and at the 10 Field Installations (Centers) located throughout the country. Each Center is dedicated to defined roles and responsibilities. One of these, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is an FFRDC managed and operated by the California Institute of Technology. Each Center has been assigned unique agency leadership responsibilities in specific areas of technology or knowledge.

1. Mission Clarification and Priority Setting

  • NASA's strategic planning process is described in its Strategic Management Handbook, and is featured in a training program operated by the Office of Personnel Management.

  • NASA updates its Strategic Plan annually. Its latest edition was issued in February 1996, and the 1997 edition is undergoing final review for release in May.

  • NASA has consolidated its Strategic Enterprises from five to four, by transferring Space Technology functions into the other four Enterprises.

  • Each NASA Center now has a specific mission with NASA-wide program management responsibility in that area.

  • The strategic planning process requires each Center to prepare a Center Implementation Plan, describing its mission, Lead Center and support responsibilities, and alignment with agency and enterprise goals and objectives.

2. Reforms in Orders, Regulations, and Oversight

  • Internal regulations were reduced by 63 percent, halving the number of pages.

  • The civil service workforce has been reduced by 13 percent in the last three years.

  • NASA projects an additional 19 percent decrease in the NASA workforce and a 21 percent decrease in its contractor workforce by the year 2000. To date, NASA is on track with its downsizing plans without resorting to an involuntary Reduction In Force ( RIF).

3. Streamlining and Management Improvements

  • NASA formed four cross-cutting process teams to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

  • Full-cost accounting practices and customer-based financial management systems are being developed.

  • According to NASA's 1995 Management Initiatives Report Card, the agency improved 600 management practices between 1992 and 1995. Over 400 additional improvements are being considered for inclusion in the 1996 Report Card.

  • NASA maintains that under the current scenario, it can sustain its major programs, although some lower-priority programs are being eliminated.

  • The "Provide Aerospace Products and Capabilities" Process Team is tasked with developing agency policy directives and process guidelines for technology development, program development, space operations services, and commercialization.

  • The idea of "faster, better, cheaper" has taken hold, and the culture is changing. NASA proposes to reduce the average cost per spaceship by a factor of three (from $590 million to $190 million) and the development time by a factor of two (from 8.3 years to 4.6 years) by 1999, without lowering safety standards for human space flight. Three spacecraft (Pathfinder, Mars Global Surveyor, and the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR)) developed following the new philosophy have already been l aunched.

  • Civil service personnel rules limit NASA's options for streamlining and management improvements at its Centers. Due to these rules, NASA decided not to implement its plan for Science Institutes.

  • The 1996 Agency wide Employee and Customer Satisfaction Survey revealed some dissatisfaction, but it established a baseline that the agency takes seriously. It is considering its response now.

4. Interagency, Interservice, and Interlaboratory Coordination

  • Through NASA's use of Centers of Excellence, agency-wide management of specific programs is focused at specific centers, which coordinate with other Centers whose expertise or services are required for success.

  • NASA and DOD collaborate through the Aeronautics and Astronautics Coordinating Board (AACB).
    • Interagency Integrated Product Teams have recently completed a study of ways to strengthen collaboration between the two agencies to consolidate, improve efficiencies, and save costs.
    • Technology roadmaps have been developed to focus R&D in critical areas serving agency needs.
    • The AACB identified six classes of major test facilities for collaborative action, including wind tunnel and air-breathing propulsion, rocket propulsion, space environmental, hyper velocity ballistic range, and arc-heated facilities.

  • Collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is being strengthened through efforts to collocate operations and to share access to each other's space capabilities.

  • The NASA Inspector General flagged a proposed consolidation of NASA aircraft at the Dryden Flight Research Center as not saving the money estimated. Since 1993, the total fleet size has been reduced from 149 to 106 aircraft, and NASA is considering fu rther consolidation options.

V. Summary

DOD, DOE, NASA, and their laboratories are making progress in meeting the directives of the PDD, which called on the agencies to streamline management and oversight, focus laboratory missions, and coordinate laboratory resources and facilities. In short, the PDD's objectives were improved laboratory productivity and cost-effectiveness, but not at the cost of scientific excellence. These three agencies operate by far the largest laboratory systems in the Federal government, but not the only ones. We recommend extending the reform mandate to the other Federal agencies with significant intramural laboratories or laboratory systems (notably the National Institutes of Health, and the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Interior). As science and technology budgets continue to be squeezed, it becomes increasingly important to meet the President's goal of making government work better and cost less, while preserving or even enhancing scientific capability and performance.

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Status Of Federal Laboratory Reforms

Appendix A

Appendix B

Appendix C

Appendix D