full screen background image
+ NASA Home
+ Contact NASA

Outsourcing and Insourcing

Program/Project Management Resource List #62

Revised Aug. 2009

Provided by the NASA Headquarters Library

Ever since Congress was granted the right to license privateers in Article I, sec. 8 of the Constitution, the issue of private individuals and firms conducting public affairs has been a part of American life. Although the age of "iron men in wooden ships" is long past us, that issue is not. Since 1966, the Office of Management and Budget has encouraged federal agencies and departments to contract out, or outsource, services that are not "inherently governmental", based on the idea that services that are commonly performed by the private sector are performed more efficiently by the private sector than if they were to be performed by civil servants. Since then, NASA has placed many of its day-to-day operations in the hands of private sector employees. NASA uses contractors to build most, if not all, of its spacecraft-indeed, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which many people think of as a NASA center, is really operated by one of NASA's oldest contractors, the California Institute of Technology. Other research and development agencies, such as the Dept. of Energy, also rely on contractors.

Recently, however, several interrelated questions have been asked:

  • Does the line between services that are and aren't "inherently governmental" need to be redrawn? Would this result in significant "insourcing"?
  • Are contracts being awarded fairly?
  • Are federal agencies seeing the efficiencies that they expected to see after outsourcing?
This resource list provides policies, reports, and other materials that can shed light on the answers to these questions. You may also find helpful materials in the library's websites on Earned Value Management, Project Budgeting and Cost Control, Program Management, or Measuring Return on Investment for Government Programs and Agencies.

All items are available at the Headquarters Library, except as noted. NASA Headquarters employees and contractors: call (358-0172) or email Library@hq.nasa.gov for information on borrowing or in-library use of any of these items. Members of the public, contact your Local Library for the availability of these items. NASA Headquarters employees can request additional materials or research on this topic. The Library welcomes your comments or suggestions about this webpage.

Contents: Policies Books E-books Articles and Reports Internet Resources

NASA Policies

The following policies and procedural requirements can be accessed by anyone through the NASA Online Directives Information System:
NASA Policy Directive 1050.1I: Authority To Enter Into Space Act Agreements
NASA Policy Directive 1350.3A: Strategic Alliances: Building Partnership to Achieve NASA's Mission and Goals
NASA Policy Directive 3310.1B: Distinguishing Between Contractor and Civil Service Functions
NASA Policy Directive 3451.5C: Acquisition Improvement Awards
NASA Policy Directive 7410.3J: Performance of Commercial Activities
NASA Policy Directive 9501.1H: NASA Contractor Financial Management Reporting System
NASA Procedural Requirements 9501.2D: NASA Contractor Financial Management Reporting
NASA Policy Directives and Procedural Requirements 5000-5999: Procurement, Small Business, and Industrial Relations


Abramson, Mark A., and Roland S. Harris III. The Procurement Revolution. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2003.
KF849 .P76 2003 BOOKSTACKS
Cohen, Steven, and William Eimicke. The Responsible Contract Manager: Protecting the Public Interest in an Outsourced World. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2008.
HD3861 .U6 C64 2008 PPM-STACKS
Drewry, Gavin, Carsten Greve, and Thierry Tanquerel. Contracts, Performance Measurement, and Accountability in the Public Sector. Washington, DC: IOS Press, 2005.
K840 .C66 2005 BOOKSTACKS
Fournier, Eddie (ed.). Best Practices for Resolving Government Contract Disputes: Leading Lawyers on Preventing Disputes, Meeting the Client's Objectives, and Achieving a Successful Outcome. Boston, MA: Aspatore, 2008.
HD3858 .B478 2008 BOOKSTACKS
National Academy of Engineering Committee on the Offshoring of Engineering. The Offshoring of Engineering: Facts, Unknowns, and Potential Implications. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2008.
TA23 .N275 2008 BOOKSTACKS
Nelson, C. Robert. Building the Optimum Organization for Federal Agencies: The Guide for Developing the MEO Through Functionality Assessment, A-76 or Other Strategic Sourcing Study. Huntsville, AL: FPMI Communications, Inc., 2001.
JK468 .P75 N45 2001 PPM-STACKS
Sclar, Elliott. You Don't Always Get What You Pay For: The Economics of Privatization. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2000.
HD3888 .S35 2000 BOOKSTACKS
Solomon, Lewis D. The Privatization of Space Exploration: Business, Technology, Law, and Policy. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2008.
HD9711.75 .A2S59 2008 BOOKSTACKS
United States. Government Accountability Office. Implementation of OMB Circular no. A-76 at Science Agencies. Washington, DC: U.S. Govt. Accountability Office, 2007.
KF869 .A76 G36 2007 BOOKSTACKS
__________. Federal Contractors: Better Performance Information Needed to Support Agency Contract Award Decisions. Washington, DC: U.S. Govt. Accountability Office, 2009.
HF5686 .P923 F434 2009 BOOKSTACKS
United States. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Office of Inspector General. Assessment of Agencywide Use of Support Service Contractors at NASA. Washington, DC: The Office, 2000.
TL521.312 .A87 2000 BOOKSTACKS
Vaillancourt Rosenau, Pauline (ed.). Public-private Policy Partnerships. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000.
H97 .P84 2000 BOOKSTACKS


All e-books listed here are available to NASA civil servants and contractors through the Books 24x7 service of SATERN.
Beyster, J. Robert, and Peter Economy. The SAIC Solution: How We Built an $8 Billion Employee-Owned Technology Company. John Wiley and Sons, 2007.
Burkholder, Nicholas C. Outsourcing: The Definitive View, Applications, and Implications. John Wiley and Sons, 2006.
Marchington, Mick, et al. (eds.). Fragmenting Work: Blurring Organizational Boundaries and Disordering Hierarchies. Oxford University Press, 2005.
Roland, Gerard (ed.). Privatization: Successes and Failures. Columbia University Press, 2008.

Articles and Reports

Bowen, Brent, Patrick O'Neil, and Richard Box. "NASA Spaceport Research: Opportunities for Space Grant and EPSCoR Involvement", in: Proceedings of the NASA Aerospace Technology Symposium 2002, Las Cruces, NM, March 3-5, 2002.
(20030112018: (Nov. 2004) NTRS)
Engelbeck, R.M. "Using Metrics to Measure Contractor Performance", in: Proceedings of the First Annual Acquisition Research Symposium of the Naval Postgraduate School: Charting a Course for Change: Acquisition Theory and Practice for a Transforming Defense, Monterey, CA, May 13, 2004.
(ADA498967: (June 2009) DTIC)
Feeney, Mary K., and Craig. R. Smith. "Social Embeddedness in Outsourcing: What Shapes Public Managers' Perceptions?", Public Performance and Management Review, vol. XXXI, no. 4 (June 2008), p. 517-546.
Kelly, D.S. "Successful Privatization of Hanford Site Fabrication Services", in: Waste Management 2005 Conference, Tucson, AZ, Feb. 27, 2005.
(834858: (Feb. 5, 2008) DOE Information Bridge)
Kremic, Tibor, and Oya Tukel. Assisting Public Organizations in Their Outsourcing Endeavors: A Decision Support Mode. NASA/TM-2006-213809. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH, April 2006.
(20060017043: (April 2006) NTRS)
Mehta, Shreefal and Lois S. Peters. "Outsourcing a Core Competency", Research Technology Management, vol. L, no. 3 (May/June 2007), p. 28-34.
Mobley, Garland T. An Investigation of Knowledge Transfer and Retention in a Government Procurement Office, Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH, March 2009.
(ADA499477: (June 2009) DTIC)
Murphy, LM, P Jerde, L Rutherford, and R Barone. Enhancing Commercial Outcomes from R and D: A Framework for a Public-Private Partnership to Increase the Yield of Federally Funded R and D Investments and Promote Economic Development. NREL/TP-110-40463. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO, May 1, 2007.
(908011: (June 11, 2007) DOE Information Bridge)
Oakley, B.T., et al. Privatization Financing Alternatives: Blending Private Capital and Public Resources for a Successful Project. PNNL-11916. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, Oct. 19, 1998.
(938: (Feb. 4, 2008) DOE Information Bridge)
Person, J.C. "Privatization and Other Post-Contract Reform Project Delivery Methods: What Works Best and Why", in: Waste Management 2003 Conference, Tucson, AZ, Feb. 27, 2003.
(827132: (July 30, 2009) DOE Information Bridge)
Rainey, Hal G., Barry Bozeman, and Gordon Kingsley (eds.). "Privatized Administration of the National Laboratories: Developments in the Government-Owned, Contractor-Operated Approach", Public Performance and Management Review, vol. XXVIII, no. 2 (Dec. 2004), p. 157-166.
Note: This issue of Public Performance and Management Review covers different facets of the public-private arrangements that the Department of Energy made to run its labs.
Riley, Patrick G., and Patrick R. Buckley. "The Best Scientists Are Becoming Free Agents", Research Technology Management, vol. LI, no. 3 (May/June 2008), p. 9-12.
Scott, M.J., et al. Evidence of cost growth under cost-plus and fixed-price contracting. PNNL-11984. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, Sept. 1, 1998.
(665982: (Feb. 5, 2008) DOE Information Bridge)
Slowinski, et al. "Effective Practices for Sourcing Innovation", Research Technology Management, vol. LII, no. 1 (Jan./Feb. 2009), p. 27-34.
Sweet, Gerald L. The Next Step to Creating a More Efficient Form of Paperless Contracting. Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA, Sept. 2008.
(ADA488886: (Nov. 19, 2008) DTIC)
Tulenko, Edward. Outsourcing and Privatization: Proceed with Caution. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA, Aug. 21, 2002.
(ADA404414: (March 16, 2003) DTIC)

Internet Resources

International Association of Outsourcing Professionals. 2009 [Aug. 11, 2009].
Lee, Naeemah. NASA Office of Small Business Programs. April 28, 2009 [Aug. 11, 2009].
Marucci, Susie. NASA Office of Procurement. Feb. 27, 2009 [Aug. 11, 2009].
National Contract Management Association. 2009 [Aug. 27, 2009].
National Council for Public-Private Partnerships. 2009 [Aug. 11, 2009].
Office of Management and Budget. Circular no. A-76: Performance of Commercial Activities. 2003 [Aug. 11, 2009].
Office of Management and Budget. White House to Save $40 Billion Annually through Contracting Reforms. July 29, 2009 [Aug. 11, 2009].
Small Business Administration. May 2009 [Aug. 11, 2009].
Turner, Janelle. NASA Innovative Partnerships Program. July 30, 2009 [Aug. 11, 2009].

Last Updated: Aug. 2009