IT Reform at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

 Note from Linda Cureton:

 I appreciate the opportunity to contribute to the goals of President Obama’s administration as it relates to improving how IT is managed in the Federal Government.  We support the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 25 Point Plan with many activities from NASA’s stellar IT program.   I also volunteered to Co-Chair the Architecture and Infrastructure Committee with Michael Carleton, the CIO from the Department of Health and Human Services focusing government-wide activities by supporting the creation of practical architectures. 

 Along with all of our CIOs, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center CIO, Adrian Gardner is also answering the call. 

 Today’s NASA CIO Blog is written by guest blogger John Hopkins, Chief of Staff in the NASA’s Office of the Chief Information Officer

I remember in high School one of the coaches used to tell us that when the going got tough, the tough got going. The CIO Council has certainly got going early and with vigor to undertake a reshaping of the Federal IT environment which is indeed tough going. The undertaking is sometimes daunting. I can almost hear Calvin and Hobbs cartoonist Bill Watterson saying his favorite quote, “God put me on this earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now I am so far behind that I will never die.”

The truth is that the “To-Be” vision of the Federal IT environment in our minds-eye is actually similar from one agency to another. No matter how hard the going gets, it is critical that we have a plan to get there. OMB’s 25-Point Plan and the TechStat reviews make participation a ‘no-brainer’. The activities in the plan and the TechStat reviews help propel us toward our goal of a more efficient and effective IT enterprise.  

NASA was an early adopter of a key element in the plan, the “cloud-first” approach. NASA became one of the first federal agencies to have a Cloud implementation. Tuesday, September 15, 2009, Vivek Kundra, the Federal Chief Information Officer, toured the NASA Nebula Container and the Security Operations Center (SOC) at NASA Ames Research Center in California.  He commented on the NASA Nebula Cloud project as he announced the launch of the platform, an online storefront for Federal agencies to browse and purchase cloud-based information technology (IT) services at a significantly lower cost to the Government. Nebula now serves dozens of customers with centralized services. In addition, NASA has expanded cloud availability with a second instance at Goddard Space Center in Maryland, and is actively adding new customers.  This “Cloud-First” philosophy is central to our department’s strategic plan.    

NASA held their first Tech Stat session on March 24, 2011 for the Integrated Collaborative Environment (ICE), a program that provides a common repository for authoritative data from the Exploration System Mission Directorate (ESMD). ICE is a web-centric environment designed for use by industry, academia and government for sharing, collaborating, integrating, NASA conducting a tech stat reviewaccessing and controlling management information and product data definitions for all ESMD products.

The key outcomes included requirements to develop performance metrics, consolidate applications.  It also included a discussion of investment opportunities, lifecycle costs, and customer usability. The next TechStat will review the Enterprise Service Desk (ESD), a major component of NASA’s IT Infrastructure Integration Program (I3P) which is designed to transform NASA’s IT Infrastructure services from a Center-based model to an enterprise-based management and provisioning model.  The scope of I3P is broad, entailing consolidation and central management of IT Services.

In addition, NASA’s participation and performance under the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI) has resulted in the closing of 13 data centers since February 2010 with plans to close one more by the end of calendar year 2011. The remaining 54 NASA data centers will be reduced to 25 by 2015, which actually exceeds the OMB requirement under FDCCI. NASA plans to continually assess data center requirements as these consolidations evolve and after current and future data center requirements become better understood.

We intend to not only meet, but to exceed our tasking to, “…drive business process improvement, investment management, and technical decisions.”  

John Hopkins, Chief of Staff, Office of the NASA Chief Information Officer