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The Institutional Readiness Project (IRP) was initiated in response to a Strategic Management Council (SMC) action from August 2009 to address unresolved shortfalls in the institutional budget. Data shared in the SMC meeting showed that institutional needs at NASA are growing at a faster rate than the overall NASA budget which identified a critical need to improve the balance between program content and the sustainment of the institution. Following discussions, Administrator Bolden charged Deputy Administrator Garver with creating a robust and balanced plan for institutional management across the Agency.

In response to this action, the Deputy Administrator presented a plan for the IRP at the following SMC meeting in September 2009. At this time the Project Plan was approved for implementation and the IRP Team was established.

The new IRP Team followed a three-level strategic process approach that incorporated strategic analysis, strategic goal setting and recommendations/implementation steps. The process allowed them to identify and address the root cause of imbalance between institutional budget, program content, and to identify a set of recommendations both feasible for implementation and significant enough to affect change and achieve the project mission.



The mission of the IRP was to:

Create greater alignment and improved engagement of all NASA organizations in the institutional management of NASA, which we define as the conduct of drafting, implementing and evaluating cross-functional decisions that will enable NASA to achieve its long-term strategy and goals.

The three primary objectives of the IRP were:

  • An efficient, modern, streamlined institutional infrastructure that enables effective support of NASA's strategic goals.

  • Enhanced mission success through improved balance of institutional capability with program content.

  • Alignment of all NASA activities and organizations with strategic direction through thinking and acting corporately.

The project developed four overarching goals, which are described below:

Goal 1: Strategic Alignment. Corporate institutional strategy shall align with and support programs and missions consistent with Agency and National Priorities.

Goal 2: Institutional Capability Balanced with Program Content. Balance NASA's budget so that institutional capabilities are properly planned, appropriately sized, and adequately funded as the foundation for successful NASA programs and missions.

Goal 3: Efficient and Effective Institution. Optimize corporate management of institutional capabilities that are effective, capable, and ready to support NASA programs and missions.

Goal 4: Improved Governance. Decision making consistently advances or sustains the corporate strategy.


PDF Link

+ IRP Final Report

IRP Report


+ Memo from Administrator (PDF)

The IRP recommendations were vetted through the Mission Support Council and final recommendations were presented and approved by Administrator Bolden on August 2010. Following approval, Administrator Bolden designated and directed Offices of Primary Responsibility (OPRs) to begin implementation planning of assigned recommendations.

  • 1. NASA Corporate Portfolio Management

    Brief Description: Establish a framework to identify and evaluate Agency mission-enabling capabilities and group these capabilities into a set of corporate portfolios.

    OPR: MSD

    Recommendation Details: Corporate portfolio management is a method to ensure that the capabilities required across the whole of NASA are healthy regardless of mission. These capabilities are rooted in our people, processes, infrastructure, technology, and know-how. We seek to align these capabilities wherever they exist into a cross-Center portfolio that meets current and strategic requirements for programs and projects. These portfolios can be measured against requirements to evaluate gaps and overlaps, realigned to improve effectiveness, and optimized to reinvest in the most crucial areas.

  • 2. Improve Governance

    Brief Description: Evaluate the NASA governance structure and procedures and provide options for a revised structure and/or other changes that address recognized problems, hierarchy and integration of councils, appropriateness and transparency of decision-making, and level of strategic/tactical topics.

    OPR: Deputy Administrator

    Recommendation Details: Proposed implementation suggests some immediate steps in improving the overall conduct of Agency governance councils such as: (1) moving from a “what” focus to “why”; (2) ensuring agenda topics meet the criteria defined by the Governance Handbook; (3) encompassing the entire Agency in the governance construct in three basic areas: strategic direction and planning, missions, and mission-enabling. Additionally, the Agency intends to seek an external review of our overall governance construct and decision-making processes.

  • 3. Agency Tiered Strategy

    Brief Description: Enhance the Agency’s strategic planning framework to better effect horizontal and vertical alignment, effective allocation and utilization of resources, and strategic focus in decision making. It should utilize a tiered approach whereby roles and missions are aligned to Center capabilities through Mission Directorate objectives.


    Recommendation Details: This recommendation seeks to strengthen our strategic planning by more effectively communicating future state transitions, cascading strategy organizationally, and applying scenario analysis to strategy development.

  • 4. Mission Support Directorate (MSD) Strategy

    Brief Description: Develop a Mission Support Directorate Institutional Strategy that addresses institutional implementation requirements over the master-planning horizon consistent with the NASA Strategic Plan.

    OPR: MSD

    Recommendation Details: Closely related to recommendation 3, this recommendation should provide an umbrella that integrates the multifaceted components of functional offices, Centers, and support/service providers.

  • 5. Enhance Intra-Agency, Inter-Agency and International

    Brief Description: To respond full to the new National Space Policy and to ensure proper International, Intra-Agency and Inter-Agency collaboration focus and visibility, assign overall coordination reponsibility to the NASA Deputy Administrator for three significant focus areas: A) Industrial Base Management and Supply Chain Management; B) Inter-Agency Partnerships/Working Groups; and C) International Collaboration.

    OPR: Deputy Administrator

    Recommendation Details: Until recently, Administrators since 1958 have been advised on matters of policy by a staff office, planning board, or working group—all reporting to the Office of the Administrator. NASA is involved in numerous inter-Agency working groups with no principal Agency point of contact for integrating/managing Industrial Base, Supply Chain, and International Partner support to missions to realize alignment with National Space Policy and international commitments and the leveraged efficiency and assurance of strategic capacity. The Deputy Administrator, with support from the Associate Deputy Administrator for Policy Integration will now be the primary senior official responsible for these areas.

  • 6. Continue Key Initiatives

    Brief Description: The IRP recommends continuation of some key initiative in: (A). IT systems development, operation and management; (B) Procurement enhancements such as NASA-wide sourcing opportunities, strengthening cost estimation, proposal evaluation, and cost/price analysis; (C) Budget preparations based on data produced during the Baseline Service Level initiative.

    OPR: Various

    Recommendation Details: The IRP discovered many initiatives well underway that contribute to the overall IRP goals. Rather than integrate them into IRP recommendations the team chose to highlight the efforts to senior management and foster their implementation.

  • 7. Agency Data Management and Interoperability

    Brief Description: Develop and implement an Agency Data Management and Interoperability Plan.


    Recommendation Details: In our data-rich culture the Agency needs the ability to effectively discover and efficiently access information across NASA and its contractor community for mutual benefit.

  • 8. Science Innovation Fund

    Brief Description: To ensure a balanced science portfolio across the Agency, provide the Chief Scientist with options for management of the program, policy, and reporting requirements, both at the HQ and Center levels, including a Center-directed science Research and Development (R&D) fund that complements the Office Chief Technologist’s Technology Center Innovation Fund.

    OPR: Administrator/Office of the Chief Scientist

    Recommendation Details: This fund is intended to be a Center-directed research and development pool to enhance early scientific experimentation.

  • 9. HQ Policy/Direction Clearinghouse Function

    Brief Description: Establish a clearinghouse function within the governance structure to ensure that data calls, requirements, directives, policies, and new systems/procedures are fully coordinated and enact measures requiring all new guidance policies and/or procedures to provide cost/benefit analysis prior to approval.

    OPR: MSD

    Recommendation Details: The IRP discovered that integration of Agency level requirements and data-calls is inadequate, and the level of resources required for compliance is not adequately considered. Additionally, an effort to periodically evaluate all requirements and policies for current applicability will be considered.

  • 10. Increase NASA Shared Services Center (NSSC)

    Brief Description: Evaluate increased utilization of the NSSC for high-volume, transactional work and also implement Agency-wide standard processes for the same. Evaluate benefits of a ‘Recovery Audit’ pilot program. Identify additional information technology opportunities for work that could be transferred to the NSSC.

    OPR: MSD

    Recommendation Details: In some cases the Agency has not fully completed the planned, full transition of transactional tasks to the NSSC. An internal business case review will be performed to justify any further transition. This review will also consider Agency standardization that may present obstacles in reaching full efficiency.

  • 11. Sustainability (Green Initiative)

    Brief Description: Commit the appropriate resources and leadership emphasis to meet Presidential mandates for the ‘Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance’ in NASA’s Green Initiative.


    Recommendation Details: NASA Centers have been addressing environmental improvements individually. An integrated sustainability strategy can improve our overall “greening” of NASA in a manner that demonstrates the value of such investments.

  • 12. Embed OSI and OCIO Personnel in Mission

    Brief Description: Involve the Office of Strategic Infrastructure (OSI) and the Office of the Chief Information Officer early in the program/project and assess embedding of OSI and OCIO personnel in Mission Directorates to enhance overall effectiveness.


    Recommendation Details: This recommendation seeks to provide additional transparency in facility/infrastructure supply and demand to effect consistent and appropriate utilization opportunities early in a program/project life cycle.


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