NASA Strategic Management Council Meeting: Workforce ceilings


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NASA Strategic Management Council Meeting Minutes and Actions 21 February 2007:

- Workforce ceilings: Members raised issues related to declining workforce ceilings in the out years: Missions have not allocated all future workforce funding to centers; centers continue to have problems with the mix of skills in the current civil service workforce; flight centers seem reluctant to place development work at research centers; targets may need to be readjusted. Director of the Office of Program and Institutional Integration (OPII) Rick Keegan observed that even if the work was fully assigned to centers, there is not enough work to cover NASA's current civil servant workforce in the out years.

Despite ongoing efforts to match mission needs to available workforce, he does not see the two converging. Associate Administrator Rex Geveden stated that the 3-to-1 hiring policy is guidance intended to help centers manage needed attrition while still enabling them to hire critical skills. He urged centers to manage the ratio over a longer timescale as necessary and use term appointments for work that is limited in duration. He reminded members of the new acquisition strategy meeting to review Agency make-buy decisions, and agreed to consider holding meetings on an as needed basis, decisions to be made at lower program levels, and participation by centers.

Griffin stated that the mission directors should show the impact of maintaining the current civil servant workforce ceilings through the budget horizon. Mission directors have important work to do and should find civil servants to do that work. The goal is not to replace civil servants with local support contractors. Flight centers will not grow. Research centers will not shrink. He warned members that NASA will not repeat mistakes make by others in contracting out too much critical work and putting their organizations into capability "death spirals."

Griffin wants mission directors to commit to funding NASA at a level to maintain the institution, but he won't make programs pay for people they cannot use. He stated his intent to assign work to the Goddard Space Flight Center and Jet Propulsion Laboratory to maintain critical capabilities. He directed missions in the development of the FY2009 budget to identify breakage caused by holding to flat civil servant workforce ceilings.

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