The position of NASA chief information office has limited visibility and control over the agency's information technology investments, resulting in ineffective governance over its 550 IT systems and more than $1.5 billion annual IT spending, finds the Office of Inspector General.
S everal federal information technology executives say tighter budgets are actually an impetus for innovative problem solving. "In my mind, crowdsourcing is one of the most untapped opportunities," said Sasi Pillay, NASA's chief technology officer.
Commerce Department auditors say a waterfall systems development approach contributed to risk that a ground system will not be ready in time for the planned October 2015 launch of the first of four geostationary weather satellite meant to replace an aging existing constellation.
That request total is nominally an increase from the $140.9 billion agencies spent in fiscal 2012. But when adjusted for White House-projected inflation, the 2014 request represents a 2.76 percent drop from 2012.
A group of technology company associations say a provision in the continuing resolution funding the government through the rest of the fiscal year that requires some federal agencies to certify a national interest before purchasing any technology made by a company with any direct ties to the Chinese government is counterproductive.
Federal employees are feeling less empowered by agency leadership in 2012 than they were in 2011, according to a Partnership for Public Service report (.pdf). Perception that agencies have effective leadership dropped 2.1 points to 52.8 percent, employee feelings of empowerment dropped 2.7 points to 45.8 percent and belief in agency fairness dropped 1.3 points to 53 percent.
At the present budget levels, not taking into account sequestration, it would be 2030 before NASA identified and characterized 90 percent of the 140-meter or larger NEOs, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a March 19 House Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing .
NASA has no effective process for tracking information technology security tool requirements or purchases, according to a March 18 NASA office of inspector general report (.pdf). As a result, redundant technologies are costing the agency. In June 2012, the agency had 242 security assessment and monitoring technologies across nine different control areas--costing a total of $25.7 million.
Government scientists have gained more whistleblower protection and freedom to express personal opinions under the Obama administration, but most agencies still do not give scientists access to drafts and final revisions in which their work played a part, a study by the Union of Concerned Scientists found .
The Senate Appropriations Committee has unveiled a $984 billion plan to fund the government for the rest of fiscal 2013 and avert a shutdown after March 27. The Senate proposal would amend the House CR by adding three full appropriations measures in the form of an Agriculture Department bill, Homeland Security Department bill and a bill with funding for Commerce, Justice, NASA and NSF.