Additional Cost Transparency and Design Criteria Needed for National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Projects

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "GAO published its third annual assessment of selected large-scale NASA projects. During this assessment we identified several issues that merit NASA's management attention. The federal government faces real fiscal limitations and will have to make difficult choices about upcoming priorities. This reality makes it more important than ever that NASA manage its programs and projects as efficiently and effectively as possible and within a budget that over recent years has remained relatively constant. It will also require that NASA make tough decisions about which projects to fund among ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. March 3, 2011.

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "GAO published its third annual assessment of selected large-scale NASA projects. During this assessment we identified several issues that merit NASA's management attention. The federal government faces real fiscal limitations and will have to make difficult choices about upcoming priorities. This reality makes it more important than ever that NASA manage its programs and projects as efficiently and effectively as possible and within a budget that over recent years has remained relatively constant. It will also require that NASA make tough decisions about which projects to fund among core missions in science, aeronautics, and human space flight and exploration. Our work over the past three years has shown that NASA's major projects are frequently approved without evidence of a sound business case--ensuring a match between requirements and resources--and, therefore, cost more and take longer to develop than planned. Our March 2011 assessment found that 13 NASA projects that established baselines prior to fiscal year 2009 had experienced an average cost growth of almost 55 percent, with a combined increase in development costs of almost $2.5 billion from their baselines established at their Confirmation Review. While NASA has taken steps over recent years to help improve its acquisition management through several initiatives aimed at improving cost estimating and management oversight, the overall outcomes of these efforts will take time to become apparent. Based on the findings of our past three assessments, we are recommending that NASA (1) provide increased transparency into project costs to the Congress to conduct oversight and ensure earlier accountability and (2) develop a common set of measurable and proven criteria to assess the design stability of projects before proceeding into later phases of development."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • March 3, 2011

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Additional Cost Transparency and Design Criteria Needed for National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Projects, text, March 3, 2011; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc300073/: accessed September 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.