NASA Presidental Transition Action Item Log


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Editor's note: The following is an amalgam of several different versions of a document titled "Presidential Transition Action Item Log" provided by NASA sources this week. More than 80 specific requests to NASA by the Obama Transition Team are listed. This document is maintained by the PA&E (Program Analysis and Evaluation) Office at NASA HQ.

The purpose of this document is to track the status of requests made by the Obama Transition Team to NASA headquarters to assist them in understanding the current status of the agency as well as things that the incoming Obama team will have to deal with once they take over after the inauguration. As you can see this is a rather routine set of questions - questions that are regularly asked - and expected - when a new Administration takes over.

I have omitted the names of the Transition Team requesters of the information as well as the name(s) of the NASA employees assigned to respond to these requests. Most of the responses are due on/around 1 December 2008.

As you can see from this 24 September SMC (Senior Management Council) presentation:" NASA Presidential Transition Status, NASA PA&E Presentation given at the 24 September 2008 SMC", the NASA PA&E folks already had a good idea of what they needed to be prepared to provide before the election.

That said, PA&E did need a little assistance in focusing this effort agency-wide: in that same meeting (according to official notes) Griffin "reminded members that the Agency will have only one transition book, and does not want mission directorates and centers to be working on individual transition documents. He requested that members manage this proactively, and stop independent efforts. He committed to share the transition book with members and to seek their contributions. He requested that everyone remain a NASA team in the next 6 months, and that PA&E provide a status on their activities next month."

Presidential Transition Action Item Log

1. Provide more data on the GSFC agreement with the DoD regarding launch capabilities, standards, and spacecraft bus capabilities.

2. Provide more information regarding international partnerships, particularly with the Asia-Pacific region countries. No new data, just pull existing information.

3. Provide a list of cross-agency activity, i.e. a list of activities with which NASA is interacting with other federal agencies.

4. Provide estimates for Shuttle T&R costs for FY10-FY12.

5. Provide results of PA&E Commercial Crew/Cargo study.

6. Provide parametric cost estimates that were used as the basis for the Commercial Crew/Cargo upmass budget.

7. Provide paper and briefing on ISS National Laboratory.

8a. Regulatory and Litigation Issues - List all important regulatory and litigation issues requiring attention from the agency's senior leadership.

8b. Regulatory and Litigation Issues - List all important regulatory and litigation issues requiring attention from the agency's senior leadership.

9. Budget - provide the total FY2009 budget.

10. Budget - provide total full-time employees (FTEs) who are "on board" an the personnel budget

11. Budget - The budget by program within each component unit (distinguishing discretionary spending from non-discretionary spending)

12. Budget - The budget and categories of expenditures for non-personnel spending by program

13. Budget - The same information for each fiscal year from FY01 to FY08 (preferably presented graphically) and the Agency's FY10 submission to OMB

14. Management Issues Summary - Prepare a summary of the agency's most recent Annual Performance Report and/or Performance Assessment Rating Tool (PART), prepared pursuant to the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA). This summary should explain which component units and programs of the agency are performing consistent with the expectations expressed in the Multi-Year Strategic Plan and the Annual Performance Plan, as well as whether additional resources may be required by any component units to perform consistent with expectations. Note: MD&A section of PAR does summarize, but should be tailored to this request.

15. Succession - Describe the agency's succession plan and the succession plan within each of the agency's component units. Specify whether the succession plan is the subject of a secretarial or administrator order, or other formal declaration of policy. If so, provide a copy a copy of that order/declaration as an appendix. If not, then specify how succession decisions are made and name the official(s) who will make them. Note: generic 1000.3 approach may suffice

16. Agency's Total Workforce - List the total number of full-time employees ("FTEs") authorized to be employed by the agency in each fiscal year from FY 2001 to FY 2009. Also, list the total number of FTEs actually "on board" in each year from October 1, 2001 through October 31, 2008.

17. Component Units' Workforces - For each component unit of the agency, list the total number of FTEs which the component unit was authorized to employ in each fiscal year from FY 2001 through FY 2009. Also, list the total number of FTEs actually "on board" in that unit (and in each division, bureau or other sub-unit of that unit) in each year from October 1, 2001 through October 31, 2008. Note: define component units as Centers

18. Current Vacancies - For each component unit of the agency, list all existing vacancies which the agency is currently authorized to fill. For each position, include the job title, position description, level, type of appointment (e.g., term, career or non-career, SES or GS), the closing date for applications, and other pertinent information. Note: all existing as of today. Define as openings on street. Will require more than just NASASTARS.

19. Identify any newly created non-career positions in the agency. Note: Defining 'newly created' as CY08.

20. Federal Advisory Committees - List any committees organized by the agency under the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). Include a brief description of the committees' purpose and membership.

21. Recent Decisions Affecting Salaries or Other Compensation, Travel, or Other Benefits to Any Category of Employees or Individual Employees - Apart from congressionally mandated decisions, automatic increases, or increases tied to performance reviews, list all decisions implemented since January 21, 2005 that were made within the agency affecting the compensation, travel reimbursement, travel permissions, or other benefits provided to a category of employees (e.g., ES, SES, Schedule A, Schedule C, GS), a group within a category of employees (e.g., political SES, managers within one agency component unit) or an individual employee. Note: Use 80/20 rule - capture 80% quickly with subsequent followup.

22. Presidential Appointee Positions - For all term appointments, specify whether the incumbent intends to voluntarily resign from his/her position before the expiration of his/her term and, if so, the date on which he/she would like to have the resignation become effective. Note - may not be internal meaning of "term" as in perm vs term. Question on resignation will probably come from WH personnel office.

23. Schedule C Employee Positions - Determine whether the agency has any other non-career appointing authorities and, if so, how long they have been in effect and when they expire.

24. Conversions from Political to Career - List all employees currently employed in career positions of any type who were employed after January 21, 2001 as non-career employees in your agency or another agency of the federal government. Also, list all positions in the agency that have been converted from political status to career or some other status. Note - will require data call to Centers.

25. Pending or Expected Career Employee Hiring - Organized by component unit, list the name, grade, job title, date of hiring, and place of employment of all individuals hired or expected to be hired (include the projected hiring date) between November 5, 2008 and January 21, 2009. Note - will require data call.

26a. Retirements and Resignations - For each component unit, list the total number of retirements and resignations or other separations from the agency during each of the preceding four fiscal years. Note: define component unit as Centers.

26b. Acquire a list of the career GS 15's and SES's who are retirement-eligible and a branch-by-branch succession plan within the Agency Note: Use generic succession plan as in 1000.3 or center equivalents.

27. Advisory Committees - For each component unit ( or specify if they are agency-wide), list all advisory committees to the agency, each advisory committee's membership, the members' terms of appointments, and any appointment that has been made, is pending, or is expected to be made before January 21, 2009.

28. Outplacements/Inplacements: IPAs and White House Fellows - List all currently effective appointments or anticipated appointments under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act, the White House Fellows Program, or other similar programs. Also, list any agency employee detailed to a foreign government by executive agreement or otherwise. Note: Will require data call.

29. Outplacements/Inplacements: Details - Determine what appointive positions are currently on intra-agency detail outside of their "home" branch. List all employees detailed from your agency to or from the White House, another Executive Branch entity, or any office in or related to the U.S. Congress since January 21, 2001. Include the current status of each detailee, as well as the job title, level, and component unit within the agency from which the employee was detailed. Specify the office in which the detailee works or worked and for what period.

30. Contractors: Experts and Consultants - List all individuals currently engaged by the agency or who are parties to letters of intent with the agency, as well as those individuals expected to be engaged, as experts or consultants between November 5, 2008 and January 21, 2009. Indicate the nature of the work to be performed, the duration of the relationship, and the agency employee assigned to supervise the expert or consultant. Note - not necessarily limited to SRBs. Data call likely required. Planned window causes this to be tagged non-public.

31. Contractors - List all corporations, firms, associations, and other groups or organizations with which the agency has a current contract for consulting services, or which are parties to letters of intent for such services or expected to be contracted with between November 5, 2008 and January 21, 2009. Indicate the nature of the work to be performed, the terms and duration of the agreements, and the agency employee assigned to supervise the corporation, firm, association, group or organization.

32. Program Information: Programmatic Authority - Organized by component unit, list all programs over which the agency has been given jurisdiction by legislation, executive order, or other legal authority. For each program, provide a citation to the source of the authority for the agency's jurisdiction and identify the agency officials who oversee the program and to whom they report.

33. Program Information: Programs Expiring - Organized by component unit, list all programs or other activities over which the agency has jurisdiction which will expire or otherwise terminate by operation of law or other preexisting requirement between November 5, 2008 and July 21, 2010. For each program, provide a citation to the authority for the program's expiration or termination, identify the agency officials who oversee the program and to whom they report, and the date on which the program will expire or terminate.

34. Program Information: Pending Proposed Program Changes - For each program listed in #1, describe any proposed changes to the program proposed by the agency for possible implementation before July 20, 2010, expected to be proposed by the agency before July 20, 2010 for future implementation, or otherwise under development within the agency, or recommended to the agency by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), or the agency's congressional authorizing committee (or its sub-committees) or appropriations sub-committee.

35. Program Information: Appropriations Riders and Earmarks Affecting Existing Programs - Organized by component unit, list all riders and earmarks in the agency's FY 2009 appropriations bill that limit, prohibit, direct, or require any action by the agency. Specify when the rider or earmark first became effective and its stated duration.

36. Program Information: Other Legislative Changes - By program, describe any already-enacted legislation that will affect the programs or operations of the agency beginning after November 5, 2008 through July 20, 2010. Include all legislation, including that which does not directly or explicitly regulate the agency's behavior.

37. GAO Reports - List all GAO Reports issued since January 21, 2001 discussing and assessing the agency's programs. Identify reports worth special attention from the agency's incoming senior leadership. Attach the "special attention" GAO reports as appendices.

38. OIG Reports - List all Inspector General Reports issued since January 21, 2001 discussing and assessing the agency's programs. Identify reports worth special attention from the agency's incoming senior leadership. Attach the "special attention" OIG reports as appendices.

39. Pending or Expected Legislation - List all legislation pending in Congress that was proposed by the agency or identified with the agency. Include the agency's legislative calendar, if any.

40. Pending or Expected Regulations - Organized by component unit, list all regulatory actions, including notices of proposed rulemaking, advance notices of proposed rulemaking, requests for public comment, notices of availability for public examination or review, final rules, or interpretive rules, that will be initiated, continued, or completed or are expected to be initiated, continued, or completed, between November 5, 2008 and July 20, 2010. Include the most recent Semi-Annual Unified Regulatory Agenda and any information not included in the Unified Agenda. Also, identify all regulations on which work was begun before January 21, 2001, halted after January 21, 2001 without being published in final form, and the work still exists in the agency.

41. OIRA Relations - Identify which agency employees manage the agency's relationship with the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) with respect to regulatory matters. Describe the relations between these agency employees and the OIRA career staff. List the agency's principal contacts on OIRA's career staff.

42. Existing Agency Regulatory Practice - Describe the existing practice within the agency for the review of regulatory actions proposed by a component unit before the regulation is sent to OIRA for consideration. Also, identify the agency employees responsible for managing the regulatory process and assembling the agency's section of the Unified Agenda.

43. Agency's Congressional Relations - Identify the agency's authorizing committee, sub-committees of that authorizing committee that address issues within the agency's jurisdiction, other committees and sub-committees that address issues within the agency's jurisdiction, and the agency's appropriations sub-committee. List the membership of the committees and principal majority and minority staff. Describe how the agency has managed its congressional relations and with whom it has worked most closely on its authorizing and appropriations committees. Identify which agency employees manage the agency's relationship with the relevant appropriations sub-committee.

44. In-Process Reports by Agency, including In-Process OIG Reports - Organized by component unit, list all reports, assessments, or other analytical documents to be provided to the U.S. Congress or other federal government body which the agency expects or is required to issue in draft or final form between November 5, 2008 and July 20, 2010. Note: May need to coordinate with other offices for non-OIG reports (e.g., OLIA for congressionally-mandated)

45. Executive Orders and Other Orders affecting Agency's Programs - List all executive orders, secretarial orders, bureau directives, intra-Executive Branch memoranda of understanding, or similar actions relating to the agency's jurisdiction which might be or are expected to be issued between November 5, 2008 and July 20, 2010.

46. Enforcement Issues - For each component unit with any form of law enforcement authority, list each major enforcement strategy or important tactic commenced by the agency after January 21, 2001 or expected to be commenced between November 5, 2008 and July 20, 2010.

47. Pending Lawsuits - List all significant pending lawsuits (i.e., ongoing at the time of your report) commenced by or against the agency. Provide copies of the initial litigation reports and a summary of the current status of each lawsuit. Include any lawsuit in which the agency is participating as amicus curiae (i.e., "friend of the court") as well as those in which the agency is a party.

48. Expected Lawsuits - List all lawsuits expected to be commenced by or against the agency between November 5, 2008 and July 20, 2010 and the expected date on which the lawsuit will commence.

49. Resolved Lawsuits Affecting Agency Operations or Decisionmaking - List all lawsuits resolved after January 21, 2001 which significantly affect the agency's operations or a component unit's operations, including regulatory, enforcement, or other programmatic activities.

50. FY 2009 Budget - For each authorized program, specify (a) the program's authorized level of funding; (b) the amount appropriated by Congress in FY 2009 or otherwise available for the program and whether annual or "no year" funds; (c) unobligated balances at the end of FY 2008; (d) the amount appropriated by Congress in FY 2008 and whether annual or "no year" funds; and (e) any other funds available for use by the program.

51. Budget Justification - provide a complete copy of the agency's FY 2009 justification books supplied to the Appropriations Committee or its sub-committees.

52. Supporting Materials -- Provide a complete copy of any Comparative Statement of Budget Authority or "All Purpose" tables provided by the agency to the Appropriations Committee or similar tables currently used by the budget office.

53. Unobligated Balances - By line item, list current unobligated balances and describe the intended use of these funds in as much detail as possible.

54. Changes in Current Services Estimates - By line item, list all major changes (more than $200 million or 10% in budget authority or outlays for any account) in the current services estimates for FY 2008 and FY 2009 when compared with the OMB Mid- Session estimates for those fiscal years.

55. Provide complete copies of all issue and background papers prepared for OMB staff in preparation for the FY 2009 budget and for the transition process.

56. Proposed Management and Administrative Savings - By line item, describe major savings (i.e., more than $200 million or more than 10% of appropriated funds) incorporated in the current services baseline that are based on management reforms or administrative actions that have not yet been fully implemented. Explain whether these actions are on schedule and consistent with the savings estimates.

57. Regulatory Impact - List all regulatory actions that will have an impact on the agency's budget and personnel. Describe the impact on the current services estimates, programs, operations, or other budgetary aspects of the agency.

58. Impact of Executive and Other Orders - List all executive orders, secretarial orders, bureau directives, intra-Executive Branch memoranda of understanding, or similar actions relating to the agency's areas of jurisdiction that will have an impact on the agency's budget and personnel. Describe the impact on current services estimates, programs, operations, or other budgetary aspects of the agency.

59. Strategic Plans - Provide a copy of the agency's most recent Multi-Year Strategic Plan prepared pursuant to GPRA and any interim adjustments to the strategic plan. Also, provide a copy of any prior Multi-Year Strategic Plans and interim adjustments prepared by the agency pursuant to GPRA and the agency's schedule for the completion of the next Multi-Year Strategic Plan.

60. Annual Performance Plans (a/k/a "Performance Budgets") - Provide a copy of the agency's most recent Annual Performance Plan, its plans for the preceding four fiscal years, and any interim adjustments to those strategic plans. If the FY 2008 or FY 2009 performance plan has not been completed, provide any draft materials to be used in the preparation of the next set of plans.

61. Annual Performance Reports - Provide copies of all PART assessments of the agency and its component units, if any. Also, provide copies of the agency's and the component units' Annual Performance Reports prepared pursuant to GPRA for FY 2009 and each of the four preceding fiscal years. Also, provide any draft materials to be used in the preparation of the Annual Performance Report for FY 2010.

62. Congressional and OMB Responses - Provide copies of any congressional correspondence or other formal responses to the agency's or component units' current Multi-Year Strategic Plan, most recent Annual Performance Plan, and most recent Annual Performance Plan. Also, provide copies of any formal correspondence from the responding to the agency's or component units' current Multi-Year Strategic Plan, most recent Annual Performance Plan, and most recent Annual Performance Plan.

63. President's Management Agenda Scorecards and Supporting Materials - Provide copies of the agency's PMA scorecards since the inception of the President's Management Agenda and all materials prepared by the agency, whether or not submitted to the Office of Management and Budget, relating to the subjects addressed in the scorecards. In particular, provide a copy of any completed or ongoing feasibility studies associated with the President's Management Agenda and all competitive sourcing competitions that have been completed or are planned or ongoing. Note: Use 80/20 rule. Recommend providing all scorecards and future plans, and last quarter of supporting materials; notate that full documentation is very large quantity (many file cabs) of material.

64. PMA Plans - Identify all plans within the agency relating to the President's Management Agenda that would be implemented between November 5, 2008 and July 20, 2010.

65. OMB/Budget and Management -- Identify the agency employees who manage the relationship with the OMB career staff.

66. OIG - Describe the role played by the agency's Office of the Inspector General with respect to budget issues.

67. Pending Procurement Decisions - List any major procurement decisions that will bind the agency in any way and will be made or are expected to be made between November 5, 2008 and July 20, 2010. Also, identify any major procurement decisions made after September 1, 2008.

68. List of Contracts with Experts, Consultants, and Contractors - Using the list of experts, consultants, and contractors identified earlier, and any other vendors or service providers to the agency, list which contracts are currently in force; which contracts are expect to be awarded or renewed during FY 2009 or FY 2010; and which contracts have been or are likely to be awarded on a sole source basis.

69. Information Transparency - List the agency's major information dissemination activities (in reports, on web sites, etc.). Describe how the agency decides what information to publish on the Internet and on paper. Identify the agency officials who manage these decisions and to whom they report. Note: OCIO and OP may have inputs

70. Key Data - Provide the following information about the agency's collection and dissemination of information:
(1) Identify information that has been collected in the agency, but is not currently available to the public via the web (e.g. ethics disclosure forms are not online).
(2) Identify information that is not yet collected, but could be collected, and disseminated to the public to improve programs or operations.
(3) Identify agency data that are published in open, structured, machine-readable formats.
(4) Identify key agency data that the CTO or CIO believe ought to be made more transparent and accessible.

71. Open Government - Identify any ways in which the agency conducts its business in the open (e.g., televised or webcast meetings, posting of travel and meeting schedules online).

72. Cyber-Security and Privacy - Identify the agency officials who have primary responsibility for 1) cyber security policies and practices and 2) privacy policies and practices. Identify to whom these officials report.

73. Public Participation Practices - Identify forms of consultation the agency uses, other than notice-and-comment rulemaking, for consulting scientists or other experts and consulting the public (e.g. Federal Advisory Committees, Science Advisory Boards, Negotiated Rulemaking). Identify existing ways in which a citizen can contribute to agency work via the Internet.

74. Transacting with the Public - Identify ways in which the agency transacts business with the public online (e.g., submission of benefits applications, account management, applications for licenses, online tax and regulatory filings).

75. IT Infrastructure -- Describe major IT infrastructure owned by the agency and major IT infrastructure leased or outsourced by the agency. Provide the age of the major IT infrastructure and indicate how much (if any) ancillary infrastructure is not included in the above.

76. Planning - Describe the IT capital planning process. Describe any major IT infrastructure or application projects that have been completed in the past two years. Also, describe any major projects that are currently under construction and their status.

77. Procurement - Does the IT procurement process produce results that achieve the agency's technology goals and how might it be improved.

78. Identify ways in which the agency could save money in its technology budget without interfering with the agency carrying out its programs and functions. Identify the three most expensive processes performed by the agency.

79. Innovations - Identify the agency's three most significant technology innovations in the past 2 years and any near-term opportunities to use technology in innovative ways to better perform the agency's mission. Note: in coordination with IPP; and note mission focus.

80. What are the management processes that have improved the most in the past three years?

81. What significant management and human capital initiatives are currently underway? Briefly describe their goals. When are they expected to be operational? What significant changes have been made in the last two years? Note: limit to HC part to start.

82. Describe the duties of the White House Liaison as currently constituted.

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