Knowledge Management

Knowledge Management

I’ve mentioned the weekly mission support implementation meeting previously. This meeting presents an opportunity for those involved in the enduring, foundational issues of the agency to come together and discuss strategic issues (attendees include: Chief of Staff; Associate Deputy Administrator; Chief of Strategic Communications; Chief Financial Officer, Chief Information Officer (CIO); Chief Engineer; Executive Director of NASA Shared Services Center; Associate/Assistant Administrators (AAs) for Institutions & Management, Human Capital Management, Infrastructure & Administration, Procurement, and Security; and the Director of the Office of Program and Institutional Integration, among others).

On Tuesday the CIO’s shop brought forward a discussion about “knowledge management.” This is an issue that other federal agencies, the corporate world, and non-profits are dealing with — how does an organization effectively manage not just the information flow but the knowledge that people gain from working in specific areas. Knowledge management is defined as, “Getting the right information to the right people at the right time, and helping people create knowledge and share and act upon information in ways that will measurably improve the performance of an organization and its partners.”

Knowledge management is extremely complex. This is a challenge that affects the entire agency, not just information technology. There are no easy solutions. The CIO and Office of the Chief Engineer (OCE) have commissioned a knowledge management team to coordinate knowledge management efforts across NASA. This team has representation from across the agency — from each Center, Mission Directorate, and from many mission support offices. The team has developed a roadmap to accomplish the goals delineated above. My hat is off to the CIO and OCE shops for leading the effort as they tackle the various components of this challenging issue.

Future Forum

I currently am in Seattle to kick off the first Future Forum. Here’s the concept behind the Future Forum — we plan to go to different locations around the nation that are not usually associated with aerospace and discuss with academic leaders; local, state, and federal officials; and business leaders what NASA means to their region of the world and to the nation more broadly.

I gave the keynote speech and it is posted on NASA’s website. After my talk, the program included a presentation from Astronaut Janet Kavandi, Deputy Chief of the Astronaut Office at Johnson Space Center, followed by a presentation on the next phase in space exploration by NASA Constellation Program Manager Jeff Hanley. The day then unfolded into three panels on innovation, discovery and inspiration. Innovation focused on the past and future impacts of NASA and space exploration on economic competitiveness and technology development. Discovery focused on how NASA science and research has led to greater knowledge and understanding of the universe and has provided critical information about our own planet and how to manage and protect it. Inspiration is geared towards education with a focus on STEM education and the NASA’s unique ability to inspire students to pursue studies in science, engineering and math. The panels included NASA officials and leaders from the Seattle business, academic and educational communities.

I met with the Governor of Washington Thursday night. On Friday I sat in on the Future Forum. I also did quite a bit of media outreach as a part of this Future Forum. Press opportunities include a meeting with the Seattle Times editorial board as well as print, radio and television interviews. There was also a press conference with Dr. Bonnie Dunbar, Museum of Flight President and CEO; Jeff Hanley; and Janet Kavandi. Bonnie Dunbar is a former NASA astronaut who flew on five Space Shuttle missions and logged 1,208 hours — over 50 days — in space. In addition to hosting the event, Bonnie opened the Future Forum and chaired the inspiration panel. I want to thank Bonnie and her team at Museum of Flight for hosting the event. We could not have done this without their invaluable support.

The ultimate goal is to get the discussion rolling in areas beyond our traditional aerospace presence and re-connecting with the American public and with business and academic leaders and state and local officials. The next Future Forum is scheduled to occur in Columbus, Ohio in February.

Cool Transportation Technologies

I received a comment clarifying that the article, “Cool Transportation Technologies,” should include the great work that Glenn Research Center is doing in de-icing research. This article has been revised and you can find it at:

More on Budget

More on Budget

I know that many are interested in reading more details about the budget and how it all works. We are working on three budget years right now, all in different stages. Since we now have an appropriation from Congress, signed by the President, for fiscal year (FY) 2008, we are now moving to the next step to compile a plan for how the funding will be allocated at the program level.  For FY 2009, we are working toward release of the President’s budget in February. Finally, we are compiling the Strategic Planning Guidance for FY 2010 to start that budget process.

FY 2008

The FY 2008 Omnibus Appropriations Act (P.L. 110-161) bill was signed into law by the President on December 26, 2007. The “omnibus” wrapped appropriations (funding) for many departments and agencies into one bill as opposed to individual bills. NASA is funded under the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, which is reflected as Division B in the FY 2008 Omnibus Appropriations Act. In this Omnibus Appropriations Act, NASA is funded at $17.31B, equivalent to the President’s request level. NASA is also required to rescind a total of $193M in prior year appropriations. A “rescission” is the cancellation of budget authority previously provided by Congress.  NASA will accomplish the rescission primarily by reducing FY 2007 activities and some construction activities that involve funds that are not limited to two-year availability. 

The FY 2008 Omnibus Appropriations Act fully funds the Crew Exploration Vehicle, the Crew Launch Vehicle, Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. The measure increases Science by $61M, increases Aeronautics by $71M, increases Education by $26M, and provides $83M for Congressionally-directed items. To fund overall Congressional increases for NASA, the bill makes reductions totaling $428M, made up of reductions in program and corporate funds. Some of these reductions are general or unspecified. This means that, while Congress funded NASA at our request level of $17.3B, there are some differences in how Congress wants us to spend the money.  Thus, there are puts and takes with direction on particular areas that should be increased and then specific and unspecified reductions (unspecified cuts mean that NASA will determine how to take the cuts and report this to Congressional Committees via the “operating plan” that is mentioned in the next paragraph).

The Explanatory Statement accompanying the Omnibus Appropriations Act calls upon departments and agencies in the bill to submit plans for rescissions within 30 days of enactment (by January 26, 2008) and to submit Operating Plans for FY 2008 within 60 days of enactment (by February 26, 2008). The report on rescissions will identify specific amounts, by program, to reach the $193M total. The initial Operating Plan will identify the manner in which NASA is implementing Congressional direction, including specified programmatic augmentations and reductions, and the manner in which NASA is allocating, by program, unspecified and general reductions. NASA also will identify any discretionary changes that the Agency proposes, with specific augmentations and reductions, by program, to accomplish those changes. Under law, the Committees on Appropriations have 15 days to consider the proposed rescissions as well as changes, or “reprogrammings,” reflected in the Operating Plan before they are implemented by NASA. 

NASA is in the process of compiling the plan to accommodate rescissions in prior-year unobligated appropriations along with the FY 2008 Operating Plan. NASA consults with the Executive Office of the President (EOP; the EOP is a broader term for the White House that includes other offices such as the Office of Science and Technology Policy) to compile these plans. NASA will endeavor to submit both the plan for rescissions and the FY 2008 Operating Plan within 30 days of enactment.

FY 2009

NASA has settled with OMB on the FY 2009 budget. This is the end result of numerous discussions between NASA and OMB. This iterative budget discussion with back-and-forth between federal agencies and OMB, with input from other EOP offices such as the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Security Council, is a key part of the process. The FY 2009 President’s budget is now being prepared and will be delivered to the Congress on February 4, 2008.

FY 2010

The FY 2010 Strategic Planning Guidance (SPG) provides high-level, strategic budget development guidance. This FY 2010 Strategic Planning Guidance (SPG) is the official, Strategic Management Council (SMC)-controlled guidance for use in developing the Agency’s FY 2010 President’s budget and represents the Agency’s continued efforts in implementing the Agency’s Mission and Vision as described in the 2006 NASA Strategic Plan. 

The Office of Program Analysis and Evaluation (PA&E), Strategic Investments Division, develops and publishes the SPG. The SPG includes both programmatic and institutional guidance, and publication of the SPG officially kicks off the FY 2010 Programming Phase of NASA’s Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution (PPBE) process.  Control Account Managers (or CAMs, the single points of contact who are responsible for specific agency accounts — there is one CAM per agency account) will publish detailed guidance, including relative priorities for resolving issues within their accounts, in a Program and Resources Guidance (PRG) document.  The official release of these PRGs will be posted to the Knowledge Information Center (KIC). 

The proposed SPG was discussed at the SMC on January 9 to request approval to proceed. The guidance will be posted to the NASA KIC by January 11 but will not contain the Budget controls until after the President’s FY 2009 budget has been released on February 4.

Thanks to PA&E and the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO)

The Strategic Investments Division of PA&E and members of the OCFO (particularly the Comptroller’s Office within the OCFO shop) worked long, hard hours over the holidays in December. Juggling external actions for three fiscal years at the same time is hard and painstaking and the crew did fantastic work. They are a dedicated group and they’re looking a little tired these days — so thank them when you see one of them.