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NASA Strategic Management Council Meeting: NASA Governance

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Monday, February 26, 2007

Source: NASA Strategic Management Council Meeting Minutes 1 November 2006

NASA Governance:

Griffin stressed the extreme importance of understanding and using the Agency's governance structure. He reminded center directors that they do not tell a mission director how to run his/her program or what program to run. He told mission directors that they do not tell center directors how to manage their institutions.

The separation of powers is incredibly important and the foundation for the technical authority. He reminded center directors seeking reimbursable work that it must fit the definitions published earlier in the year by the Associate Administrator; reimbursable work must be co-aligned with NASA's goals and cannot interfere with mission work.

He also reminded center directors of their responsibility to support NASA's work according to NASA's priorities, not individual center priorities. Exploration activities in most but not all cases will out prioritize aeronautics research. Center directors may not switch out key personnel from one project to another without ensuring that the change is acceptable to both missions.

He urged center directors to communicate this to their managers who make the day- to-day decisions prioritizing center resources in accordance with Agency priorities. Addressing a question related to the center director's ability to use institutional resources to develop options, Griffin stated that center directors do not have the authority to initiate something without the Administrator's approval as the Agency's strategy is set from the top.

He reminded center directors that they have access to the Administrator through the Associate Administrator. Griffin stated that there is considerable evidence that middle management does not fully understand how to apply the governance model.

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