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NASA Glenn Research Center Internal Memo: Center Director Update

Status Report From: Glenn Research Center
Posted: Monday, August 29, 2005

NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, Ohio

August 29, 2005

TO: Glenn Employees, Onsite Contractors, NASA Exchange, and Resident Personnel

FROM: A/Director

SUBJECT: Center Director Update

I recently attended a Strategic Management Council meeting with the Administrator and Agency senior managers to discuss NASA budget issues. I thought that this would be a good time to bring you up to date on the efforts at GRC to assist in accomplishing the mission of the Agency. In addition, I plan to address the Center staff in an all hands meeting in September.

I know this is a difficult time-a time with a shifting uncertain future. I can assure you that we are working hard to establish a firm base for the Center's future. We have support from the Administrator, Mike Griffin, who has stated that he needs and wants all 10 Centers to be healthy.

The Agency's number one mission is the Vision for Space Exploration, and within that, the top priorities are Return to Flight, development of a Shuttle replacement as soon as possible, and completion of the International Space Station.

We are engaged in the Agency's top priority initiatives in many ways, including the following:

  • Glenn Research Center has been actively involved in Agency teams that are performing short-term studies (60-day studies) of architectures for the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) and for nuclear lunar surface power and has performed systems analysis studies of various configurations for the lunar surface power study team.
  • Glenn Research Center anticipates receiving directed work assignments in support of the Crew Exploration Vehicle development. We will share details on our role with you as soon as decisions are finalized.
  • Glenn Research Center has supplied expertise to the team sent to the Michoud Assembly Facility to study the most recent Shuttle External Tank foam-shedding incident. The value of GRC and all of the Agency's Centers in contributing technical expertise and facilities capability to return to flight has been publicly acknowledged loudly and often.
  • A great deal of our legacy here at GRC is in contributions to aeronautics. The Government's role in aeronautics research is an issue that has been actively debated for the past several years. One of the reasons for this debate has been lack of a clear national policy on aeronautics, much as the Nation lacked a clear Vision for Space Exploration before President Bush articulated it on January 14, 2004. A national policy for aeronautics is being actively worked now, and we expect that GRC will play a major role in implementing that policy once formed.
  • In addition, the budget process is underway for fiscal years 2006 and 2007. Let me take a minute to retrace the process for determining the FY06 and FY07 budgets:
  • For FY06, Congress is in the process of determining NASA's appropriation. The House has passed their version of the bill. Once the Senate completes their bill, there will likely be a conference committee established to work out any differences between the House and Senate versions before a final bill can go to the President for enactment.
  • For FY07, the Agency is nearing the end of the process of determining what the request will be. The request is due to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in mid-September. The OMB will provide comments back to the Agency sometime around Thanksgiving. After final decisions are made, the President will submit the request to the Congress.

There are many steps to be taken and many decisions still to be made concerning how the two fiscal year resources will affect the Center. At this time not all the answers are clear and available. While the Agency is taking all steps necessary to avoid a Reduction in Force (RIF), we cannot rule out that possibility. Although there will not be a RIF in FY06, we are in the process of preparing for a RIF should this become necessary in FY07.

I know this message does not provide all of the answers you would like. Please ask your managers and senior staff any questions you may have. They may not always know the answers, but they will share what they know and will put all available information into context to the extent they can in this ever-changing situation.

A lot of people are working very hard to resolve many difficult issues, and I will continue to trust all of you to work together to achieve a future at Glenn that is significant and meaningful. Please be assured that, as soon as I can, I will share any and all results that affect our future. Our best defense against uncertainty and fear is to communicate openly and to the fullest extent possible, without reservation. This is my commitment to you.

/s/

Julian M. Earls

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