Chapter 3—Strategic Planning

3.1 The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993

3.2 NASA Strategic Planning Requirements

3.3 NASA's Strategic Plan

3.4 Enterprise Strategic Plans

3.5 Capital Investment Planning

3.6 Functional Office Planning



NASA's purpose as an Agency of the U.S. Government is defined by its enabling statute, the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, as amended. This and other Federal statutes and regulations elaborate on the kinds of programs Congress and the President have directed NASA to carry out, as well as the regulations that govern how NASA manages the national resources entrusted to it by the American people. Not long after it was established, the Agency undertook the first in a series of long-range plans to ensure that it used those resources effectively, not only to meet current expectations, but also in anticipation of future needs. These long-range plans evolved into the NASA Strategic Plan.



The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993

In 1993, Congress passed the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) to "improve the confidence of the American people in the capability of the Federal Government, by systematically holding Federal agencies accountable for achieving program results . . . [by] setting program goals, measuring program performance against those goals, and reporting publicly on their progress." GPRA requires the following of Federal agencies (including NASA):
a. Develop periodic Agency strategic plans, setting forth NASA's mission, long-term goals, and associated resource requirements. The Strategic Plan is to "cover a period of not less than 5 years forward from the fiscal year in which it was submitted." Updated Strategic Plans must be submitted every 3 years.
b. Prepare and submit to the President and Congress annual performance plans that establish performance goals, measurable objectives, and associated resources required to achieve long-term goals.
c. Submit annual performance reports that "set forth the performance indicators established in the Agency performance plan . . . along with the actual program performance achieved." When performance goals have not been achieved, explanations should be provided, along with plans for meeting the unattained goals, or reasons for revising performance goals.



NASA Strategic Planning Requirements

In response to GPRA, the Strategic Plans developed for the Agency and the Strategic Enterprises will contain:
a. A comprehensive mission statement covering NASA's major functions and operations
b. General goals and objectives, including outcome-related goals and objectives, for major functions and operations
c. A description of how the goals and objectives are to be achieved
d. An identification of those key factors, external to the Agency and beyond its control, that could significantly affect the achievement of the general goals and objectives
e. The program evaluations used in establishing or revising general goals and objectives



NASA's Strategic Plan

NASA's Strategic Plan articulates the Agency's vision, mission, goals, and objectives, as well as Agencywide strategies for achieving them. In so doing, it gives direction to the work of all NASA organizations and employees. Strategic planning is a continuous process. NASA's Strategic Plan is fully reviewed and updated at least every 3 years. Interim adjustments may be made as needed, in parallel with the annual performance planning process (see Figure-1).

Figure 3-1 NASA Strategic Planning and Budget Schedule for FY X

Figure 3-1. NASA Strategic Planning and Budget Schedule for FY X



Enterprise Strategic Plans

Enterprise Strategic Plans will elaborate on their respective missions and goals, in alignment with NASA's Strategic Plan, with detailed objectives, implementing strategies, and brief descriptions of their principal programs and/or processes. They must be signed by their respective Enterprise Associate Administrators. Enterprise Strategic Plans will be reviewed by the Office of Policy and Plans for consistency with NASA's Strategic Plan and other Enterprise Strategic Plans. Enterprise Strategic Plans are reviewed by the Senior Management Council and approved by the Administrator. To ensure that they remain current, Enterprise plans will be reviewed and updated as part of any update to the NASA Strategic Plan, but in any event, not less than every 3 years.



Capital Investment Planning



NASA has established an Agencywide capital investment planning process because the size, scope, time horizon, and technical nature of these investments are critical to long-term Agency viability. In addition, such investments must be balanced across NASA organizations and prioritized on an Agencywide basis, consistent with external financial constraints and partnership opportunities. This planning process also supports NASA compliance with related Federal guidance on capital/asset investments (Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-11, Part 3).



Capital investment planning represents a key activity in the strategic management process and an important element of NASA's 5-year financial planning and budget activities. NASA's Capital Investment Council (CIC) advises the Administrator during preparation of the Agency's Program Operating Plan (POP) guidance at the beginning of the implementation planning process and during the annual budget development process. The council meets as often as the chair deems appropriate. Its meetings will examine interrelated Agencywide issues, such as information technology and security, critical infrastructure protection, human resources, technical capabilities, high-risk generic technologies, Functional Office initiatives, and facilities.



The CIC ensures the integration of Enterprise, Center of Excellence, and other investment plans; it reviews and recommends investments and provides guidance to NASA entities for subsequent implementation. The council also examines such proposals as Agency-level downsizing or restructuring.


  The implementation planning process produces annual budget formulation guidance and performance plans to achieve the goals and objectives identified during the Strategic Planning process. It is a cyclical process that is ongoing throughout the development of NASA's Strategic Plan and Enterprise Strategic Plans, capital investment plans, and Agency budgets and forms the basis for performance evaluation.

Functional Office Planning



The Functional Offices formulate Functional Leadership Plans, with Enterprise support, to implement the Agency's Strategic Plan, improve Agency management, and respond to new external direction. A Functional Leadership Plan establishes the overall purpose and direction of functional activities, including goals, objectives, and performance metrics or indicators used to assess success. It is based on the Enterprise Strategic Plans, self-assessments, and externally mandated requirements. Each plan must include a general description of proposed and statutorily required functional initiatives deemed necessary to implement the Agency Strategic Plan and statutory mandates. The Senior Management Council must receive a presentation of and concur with the Functional Leadership Plans, and then the Administrator must approve them. The plans are updated, reviewed, and approved again as required by the Administrator.


3.6.2 Following presentation to and concurrence with the Functional Leadership Plans by the Senior Management Council and approval by the Administrator, decision and guidance are to be documented for inclusion in the NASA POP guidance and, in the case of new policies, for formal coordination and dissemination. The Functional Offices also ensure that the appropriate metrics or performance indicators are developed to evaluate function performance.


Contents | Preface | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Appendices