NASA Internal Memo: Enterprise Council (EC) ViTS 19 April 2005 (Agency's Weekly Meeting with NASA Senior Managers)

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Friday, April 22, 2005

19 April 2005

Enterprise Council (EC) ViTS (Agency's Weekly Meeting with NASA Senior Managers)

NASA Administrator Mike Griffin announced a number of changes, including the following:

- There will no longer be a 9 a.m. staff meeting at HQ and an 11:00 a.m. ViTS. The meetings will be combined into one senior level meeting on Mondays at 11:00 a.m., with the Center Directors attending via ViTS. The attendees will include the Mission Directors, Center Directors, and representatives from the Legislative Affairs and Public Affairs Offices respectively.

- Dr. Griffin introduced the following employees and identified their roles at NASA:

  • Paul Morrell from DoE is the Senior Advisor to Dr. Griffin and will be working mission-oriented issues.
  • Carol Mays is Dr. Griffin's secretary.
  • Patty Hutchinson is his Executive Assistant.
  • J. T. Jezierski will remain as the White House Liaison with increased responsibility.
  • Joe Davis is the new AA for Strategic Communications.
  • Chris Shank, Former House Science Committee staffer, will work directly for Dr. Griffin.
  • Liam Sarsfield is serving as the Special Consultant for Transition Issues.
  • Courtney Stadd will serve as a special consultant (more below).
  • Patrick Ladner will assist with helping to figure out how to retire the Shuttle by 2010.

- Dr. Griffin is reorganizing the reporting structure so that the Center Directors report directly to Code A, a model similar to the aerospace matrix model that he is used to.

- He is establishing an "Associate Administrator" position that will be responsible for day-to-day activities of the Agency. He and Fred Gregory (who will remain the Deputy Administrator) will focus their efforts on the external needs of the Agency, and the new position will focus on the internal needs. The position will be competed, and he does not have anyone in mind for this role. Courtney Stadd will act in that role until a permanent incumbent is named.

- Previously NASA had one NASA Advisory Committee, and Mr. O'Keefe split the committee in two. Dr. Griffin is recombining the committee back into one committee, and he will select people that he respects as members. Also the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, which is mandated, will be staffed by people he admires and respects. He will be elevating their role and status.

- Dr. Griffin will move the Office of Education under the new Office of Strategic Communications.

- During his confirmation hearing, Dr. Griffin heard that NASA often meets itself in the marketplace. He explained that sometimes NASA people go to Congress with different stories. He stressed the need to communicate one story to avoid confusion. In the future, when someone goes to the Hill on a request from Congress, make sure that Code A, the Office of Legislative Affairs, and the Office of Public Affairs know so there is coordination of one NASA message.

- If earmarks from the Hill are legislated, we will release the money as soon as possible. He hates earmarks. We need to avoid earmarks in the first place or influence the earmark to benefit NASA work, but when we get them we need to fund them promptly. The bottom line is to honor earmarks when they are directed.

- Dr. Griffin is creating an office that does not currently exist and has not yet been named, but it will be something similar to the "Program Analysis and Evaluation Office" at the Department of Defense. It will be an Associate Administrator level office, and Scott Pace will head the new office. A Deputy position will be created, and the position will be com-peted. The office will have four divisions: 1) Advanced Planning and Integration, currently headed by Mary Kicza, and the position will be competed; 2) Strategic Planning and Budgeting; 3) Cost Analysis, to be headed by Joe Hamaker currently of Code B; and 4) Independent Program Office (IPO). Rex Geveden will continue as the Chief Engineer, but the IPO function will be placed under Scott Pace and will be headed by Michael Benik, currently at Langley. In addition, Dr. Griffin will establish a team under this office to establish a culture feedback loop. Currently, NASA's culture lacks a method of finding out what the people in the field think. The team will travel to all Centers to talk with employees to gain information and report back.

- Fred Gregory will testify at the budget hearing on Wednesday. Dr. Griffin talked with Representative Wolf from Virginia, who heads the committee, and he agreed with Mr. Gregory taking the hearing.

- Dr. Griffin discussed his priorities. Near-term priorities are to safely return the shuttle to flight and to visit the Centers soon. Longer-term priorities are to 1) figure out the smartest path to retire the Shuttle by 2010 and no later, and Pat Ladner will focus on this; 2) honor our obligation to our international partners to complete the International Space Station, but this may involve reorienting the manifests; 3) minimize the gap between the end of Shuttle flights (2010) and the availability of the Crew Exploration Vehicle (2014); Chris Shank is putting together a systems engineering and architecture team that will include the Centers, to figure out how to make this happen; 4) get our financial house in order—we can not know where $7-8B is within the Agency. He met with CFO Gwen Sykes, and she indicated that she does not have the dollars, resources, etc. to make this happen. Dr. Griffin is disturbed that we are red on the audit requirement, and he assured the Chief Financial Officer, Gwen Sykes, that she would have the resources she needs to meet the requirement. Liam Sarsfield will help Chief Information Officer Pat Dunnington in this effort because of his Integrated Financial Management Program background; and 5) the Safety and Mission Assurance function and the Independent Technical Authority effort will be improved. Brian O'Connor will redesign the safety program to meet external scrutiny, but we will not adopt a "salute and say yes sir" mode to outside panels. Safety is crucially important, and he recognized the importance of mission assurance and human life. Scott Pace's office will define what to do, and Brian O'Connor's office will decide how to do it safely.

- Dr. Griffin then asked if the Centers had any questions.

- ARC asked the new administrator what his thoughts were with regard to the Aldredge Commission Report. Dr. Griffin said the most controversial aspect of the report was converting Centers to Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs). NASA talked about converting Centers to FFRDCs when he was last at NASA, and he does not support the concept. There is a place for Government research facilities.

- SSC asked about competition. Dr. Griffin responded that he is an unabashed supporter of competition, however, there are limits, and we don't compete the U.S. Navy. Some things will not be competed. JSC will remain the Space Center responsible for human space flight. SSC will remain the rocket engine testing Center. MSFC will remain the launch vehicle Center. Every Center will be involved in some competition. However, NASA should only do cutting-edge research.

Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) ViTS:

  • Dr. Jaiwon Shin reviewed the message from the Administrator (above).
  • Dr. Lebacqz's calendar for the week includes a trip to GRC on Tuesday to meet with General Martin of AFRL, then deliver a speech at the ATC symposium in Atlantic City, and be back in DC for a 3 p.m. meeting with staff from Senator Voinovich's office. On Wednesday, Fred Gregory will brief House Appropriations Committee members on the NASA budget, and Dr. Lebacqz will assist him, and on Thursday, he will talk about the transformation of Aviation to the National Chamber Foundation in the morning and will attend a Strategic Planning Council meeting in the afternoon.
  • The due date for nominations for the Space Flight Awareness awards is April 22, and Dr. Lebacqz wants good representation from Aeronautics—especially for our return to flight efforts.
  • John Schultz from the Aeronautics Budget Office reported the need for the Centers to obligate money for previous earmarks and reported that the two high-dollar-value earmarks for hypersonics and Propulsion 21 are on their way to being obligated.
  • Langley reported that a NASA story on Personal Air Vehicles was broadcast on "60 Minutes." Bruce Holmes was interviewed and did a nice job.

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