NASA's Centers of Excellence  
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Centers of Excellence

Centers of Excellence

Headquarters and NASA Centers

NASA's programs are implemented through its nine Centers and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our programs, we have defined the roles and responsibilities for each Center. To reduce overlap and streamline administrative and programmatic functions, NASA's senior management has established areas of excellence and specific missions for each Center and Headquarters.Agency management, which primarily resides at NASA Headquarters, is responsible for leadership and management across the Strategic Enterprises as well as the development of strategy ("what, why, and for whom"). It serves as the principal interface with the Administration and Congress and is the focal point for accountability, communication, and liaison with external entities. It also provides budget integration, long-term institutional investment strategy, Agency policy and procedures, and functional leadership.

Each Center of Excellence represents a focused, Agency-wide leadership responsibility in a specific area of technology or knowledge. Centers of Excellence are chartered with a clear definition of their capabilities and boundaries. They are charged to be preeminent within the Agency, if not worldwide, with respect to the human resources, facilities, and other critical capabilities

associated with the particular area of excellence. Each Center of Excellence must maintain or increase the Agency's preeminent position in the assigned area in line with the program requirements of the Strategic Enterprises and the long-term interests of the Agency. The capabilities to support a Center of Excellence can be distributed across multiple Centers. These capabilities are available to all of the Strategic Enterprises. Center Missions, which are described in the four Strategic Enterprise sections, identify the concentration of capabilities to support the accomplishment of Strategic Enterprise goals. Each Center has been assigned responsibilities, which provide a basis for building human resource capabilities and a physical infrastructure in direct support of Enterprise requirements. Enterprise program and project assignments are based on Center Mission designations. Other Centers may support a primary Center in carrying out an Enterprise's missions. 

In general, each NASA program is assigned to a Lead Center, which is responsible for implementation, accountability for meeting schedule and budget guidelines, and safety and reliability standards.