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NASA Internal Memo: Immediate Freeze on All Nonessential Publications and Materials

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Thursday, December 9, 2004

December 7, 2004

To: Officials-in-Charge of Headquarters Offices, Directors, NASA Centers

From: Deputy Administrator

Subject: Immediate Freeze on All Nonessential Publications and Materials

  During the last 2 months, you have received a memo from Chief of Staff John Schumacher, dated October 18, 2004, and two memos from Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs Glenn Mahone, dated October 22, 2004, and November 1, 2004, concerning the process for capturing and evaluating our communications efforts throughout the Agency.  The Communications Material Review Team (CMRT) has completed the Communications Material Database (CMD), the electronic system that will be used to manage the Agencyís communications material.  Your cooperation in collecting those materials will enable a quick start when the interactive CMD goes online in a few days.

Concurrently, we have taken a macro look at many of our most frequently distributed communications material.  As a result of this effort, we have identified areas of significant duplication, redundancy, and waste among many of these materials that must also be reviewed from both a consistency in messaging and cost-perspective basis.

Therefore, effective this date, I am ordering an immediate Agencywide freeze on the design and production of all nonessential publications and communications material produced anywhere in the Agency.  This freeze is applicable to all offices at Headquarters, NASA Centers, including JPL, and component facilities.  This order applies to all budget categories and all geographies.  Publications and materials considered essential for the functioning of the Agency such as the communication of technical and safety information, or those required by regulation and law, are exempt from this freeze.

The CMRT, established by Glenn Mahone, Michael O'Brien, and Lee Forsgren, of the Strategic Communications group, currently consists of representatives from the Mission Directorates, Office of Education, and others.  The CMRT is responsible for the following tasks:

1) Establishing a set of guidelines and evaluation criteria for approving new material and requests to use existing material.

2) Reviewing all proposed communications material and requests for expenditures to produce them and to approve or reject the request within 2 weeks of receipt.  This process is scheduled to begin the first week of January 2005.

3) Maintaining the CMD.  The CMD will be the Agencyís tool for accessing and managing communications material, including the review and approval processes.

4) Providing recommendations in the development and maintenance of a consistent and effective Agency communications strategy.

5) Identifying substantial savings and efficiencies while delivering more effective communications.

These tasks are underway, and you will be hearing more from Glenn on the progress of this critical effort over the next several weeks.  The freeze will remain in place until such time as the CMD, communications strategy, and guidelines are in place.

  In the interim, all requests for exemption from the freeze must be taken directly to the CMRT, under Task 2 for approval.  Glenn will distribute a form to you tomorrow that must accompany each request for an exemption.  The CMRT will respond to such requests within 2 weeks of submission.  Ms. Debbie Rivera leads the team and is the point of contact.  Please contact her at drivera@nasa.gov or at (202) 358-1743.

Thank you for your continued cooperation in this very important strategic communications endeavor.

Fred Gregory

GSFC PAO clarification of the above freeze:

1 - the freeze covers all internal and external publications and material. The only things exempt from this freeze are:

- Publications intended for technical audiences.  For example, a scientific / technical  publication submitted to a peer-reviewed journal or a PowerPoint presentation  intended for a technical meeting, is exempt from this requirement.

- safety materials

- Publications and materials required by regulation and law

- also, official Center daily / weekly / monthly house organs may proceed as planned - however, these will also be subject to approval beginning in January

this freeze covers not just your education / outreach pubs and materials, but your internal pubs and materials as well.

some other examples -- what is and is not exempt from this directive

DVDs - no, not exempt

education materials - no, not exempt

videos - no, not exempt

mugs, pins, pens, decals, patches, ballcaps - no, not exempt

web pages - yes, web pages are exempt  (will fall under a separate CIO directive)

certificate of thanks - no, not exempt

2 - the publication / material database which will be used to upload all materials should be on line this week - as soon as we get the instructions and go ahead, you will be instructed to begin uploading your electronic files to this system.

3 - the new review / approval process for HQs approval of all new pubs and materials will begin in January.

4 - HQs is going to provide us an "exemption form" to cover those things which you deem critical before the new review and approval process is in place. if there's something you want an exemption for, it can be filled out and sent to HQs. this will be a one-time only exemption - if you want to update and reprint it after the new process goes into effect in January you will have to submit it for review.

5 - products which are already at the printer can proceed.

6 - any products which have been designed / developed but not yet sent to the printer will be pulled back and  will not be printed without HQs review and approval.

if you have any other questions or items I can clarify, please let me know and I'll try to get you a response as soon as possible, but I think the best rule of thumb is, if in doubt, send it out (for review and approval).

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