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Internal NASA LaRC Memo: Summary of SLT Retreat

Status Report From: Langley Research Center
Posted: Friday, March 4, 2005

X-Sender: c.m.darden@pop.larc.nasa.gov
To:  (All Civil Service Employees at Langley Research Center)
From: "Christine Darden, LaRC" Christine.M.Darden@nasa.gov
Subject: Summary of SLT Retreat
Date: Fri, 4 Mar 2005 18:12:18 -0500

Senior Leadership Team Retreat Summary

The Langley Senior Leadership Team (SLT) met off-site for three days last month to kick off an effort to strategically invent the future of the Center based on the President's FY06 budget proposal, the recommendations of the Aldridge Commission and the NASA Organizational Models Evaluation Team (NOMET), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) passback, and an analysis of the current situation and future opportunities.

The anticipated Langley budget is declining significantly. Rates are rising due to unfunded work under full-cost accounting. The Aldridge Commission recommends Centers convert to to Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs). The NOMET report encourages development of hybrid organizations consisting of civil service and non-governmental components. The FY06 OMB passback calls for a restructured Vehicle Systems program.  NASA intends to fund work through competition.

We must design a significantly changed Langley to become more relevant to customer and funder needs, reduce over-capacity in work force and facilities and develop greater agility and flexibility in our work force.  If we walk away from our responsibilities to handle this difficult situation, we could damage NASA's prospects for a successful future, with grave consequences for the further development of air and space frontiers.

Time is of the essence. The Strategic Leadership Council (SLC) has launched teams to focus and integrate the strategic technical content of our business plan and Center restructuring.  Restructuring includes a concept for a hybrid Center -- a smaller institution with much greater emphasis on working with non-federal strategic partners, while retaining a critical mass of core competencies within the civil service.

We will focus on reducing the over-capacity work force by the start of FY07.  No involuntary personnel actions are planned in FY05 beyond the small number of positions affected by the A-76 competition as previously announced.  Involuntary personnel actions are likely in FY06, although a Reduction in Force (RIF) will be a last resort.

Emphasis will be on voluntary efforts in FY05 and early FY06, including buyouts, job fairs, voluntary transfers, Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) assistance, and other activities. The total work force reduction could be approximately 1,000 work years in a mix of 700 civil service and 300 contractor positions.  FY06 is particularly challenging because significant procurement dollars must be found to fund over-capacity, and that could cause more disruption in the contractor and out-of-house work force.

Every effort will be made to deal with our over-capacity issues in ways most helpful to our people.  We intend to get the planning done in a few months to minimize uncertainty. As always, Langley will continue to value employees, customers and funders and deliver on commitments.

The Senior Leadership Team believes LaRC has a bright future once this transition is complete.  The work being done today - as well as work to be done on the current suite of Aeronautical Research programs and new barrier-breaking programs, Atmospheric Sciences and the Vision for Space Exploration - is challenging and significant.  Further, the results of competitions and other directed work done in FY05 indicate we are very competitive in our LaRC core competencies, which have been validated and supported by the Agency.

With proper strategic planning to redesign and reduce over-capacity and rates, we predict the new Langley will be a very viable competitor and major contributor to the NASA Mission.

Christine M. Darden, D. Sc.
Director, Office of Communications and Education
NASA Langley Research Center

MS 412                          Christine.M.Darden@nasa.gov 17 Langley Boulevard            Building 1216,  Room 211                        Hampton, VA 23681-0001          Phone:  757-864-5258                                 Cell:   757-218-8750                                 Fax:            757-864-6333

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