From: NASA HQ
Posted: Tuesday, July 31, 2001
A diverse team of world-renowned experts, including two Nobel laureates and the world's most famous heart surgeon, make up an independent task force created by NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin to take a focused look at the budget and management challenges facing the International Space Station program.
"In the last year, we have successfully carried out all of the 14 scheduled assembly missions to the International Space Station. We did so with unbelievable precision and execution, completing the second phase of space station construction," said Administrator Goldin. "It's an incredible management and engineering achievement, but we must ensure it is carried out in a more efficient and effective manner."
The ISS Management and Cost Evaluation Task Force (IMCE) will help NASA address the recent cost growth on the program by assessing the quality of the ISS cost estimates as well as program assumptions and requirements, and identifying high- risk budget areas and potential risk mitigation strategies.
"Since April, we've been working to select a team of outstanding innovators in the fields of science, engineering, finance and business to advise NASA and the Administration how to maximize the scientific returns on the station, while living within the guidelines of the President's budget," added Administrator Goldin. "The financial management of the International Space Station needs an overhaul, but we're going to do it in a way that doesn't sacrifice safety."
Two Nobel Prize winners are among the members of the IMCE Task Force. Dr. Richard Roberts shared the1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology of Medicine for the discovery of "split genes." He is currently the head of the Department of Bioinformatics and Research at New England Biolabs, Beverly, MA.
Another panel member, Dr. Robert Richardson, is Vice-Provost for Research at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, and shared the 1996 Nobel Prize for the discovery of superfluidity in the isotope helium-3 (3He).
Another prominent task force member is world-renowned medical pioneer, Dr. Michael DeBakey, Chancellor Emeritus of Baylor College of Medicine in Texas and an active staff member at The Methodist Hospital of Houston. Dr. DeBakey is internationally recognized for his innovations in open-heart surgery and his recent pioneering work in the field of telemedicine.
Administrator Goldin appointed Thomas Young chair of the IMCE Task Force. Young, a former president at Martin Marietta Corp., managed numerous complex and technically challenging programs in government as well as private industry. He recently led the Mars Program Independent Assessment Team which reviewed NASA's approach to robotic exploration.
The chair and the other members of the IMCE Task Force will report to the NASA Advisory Council (NAC).
"This panel has been empowered to leave no stone unturned. We have experts in all fields that have the capacity to dig deep to help us restructure the business and financial approach of this program, added Administrator Goldin. The task force will identify opportunities for maximizing capability to meet priority research program needs within the planned ISS budget and International Partner contributions. In addition, it will assess and refine cost estimates for potential U.S.-funded enhancements.
A Financial Management Team (FMT) and a Cost Analysis Support Team (CAST) will support the IMCE Task Force. The FMT will assist the IMCE Task Force in reviewing the financial management tools used in the development and operation of the International Space Station, and making Agency-wide recommendations for improvements. The CAST will assess the quality of the space station estimates in an effort to establish cost credibility.
In empowering the external team, Administrator Goldin stated that, in addition to technical excellence, it is essential that NASA maintain strict financial and management accountability. The task force will review management reforms in the ISS Program Management Action Plan and may make recommendations for additional reforms.
The panel will report its findings to the NAC by Nov. 1, 2001. The NAC will consider and formally present its recommendations to the NASA Administrator for an official Agency response.
Business, Finance Group
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