3. NASA Roles, Responsibilities, and Organizational Structure

3.1 Organizational Overview
NASA's organizational structure is based on two primary levels of management responsibility. The first is Agency management, which primarily resides at Headquarters. The second is Strategic Enterprise management, which includes managing Centers and programs.

Internal integration is ensured through a number of management councils and boards that coordinate activities and planning among the individual Enterprises and between the Agency and Enterprise management levels. The following sections summarize the roles and responsibilities of these two levels of management, whose organizational structure is shown in Figure 3-1.

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Figure 3-1. Agency and Enterprise Management Structure

3.2 Agency Management
This management level is responsible for Agency leadership, managing across the Strategic Enterprises, and developing NASA's strategy ("what, why, and for whom"). Agency management serves as the principal interface with our stakeholders, including the Administration and Congress. It is the external focal point for accountability, communication, and liaison. Agency management provides budget integration, long-term NASA/stakeholder-focused institutional investment strategy, NASA policy and standards, and Agency functional leadership.

Agency management provides Strategic Enterprise definition and is responsible for cross-Enterprise efficiency, synergy, investment, performance assessment, and resource allocation. Agency management includes the NASA Administrator and officials within the Office of the Administrator, as well as supporting Functional/Staff Offices. In addition to these standing organizations, NASA uses a series of councils and boards to provide integration, coordination, and decisionmaking on critical topics that cross organizational lines. Figure 3-2 depicts the organizational structure of NASA's senior-level councils and boards.

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Figure 3-2. Agency Senior-Level Councils and Boards

3.2.1 NASA Administrator
The Administrator is the Agency's highest level decisionmaker, providing clarity to the Agency's vision and serving as the source of internal leadership to achieve NASA's mission. The Administrator aligns the strategic and policy direction of NASA with the interests and requirements of the Agency's stakeholders and constituent groups.

The Administrator and immediate senior staff provide overall strategic direction and policies for the organization and establish the Agency's relative priorities, associated budget guidelines, and performance assessment. Senior staff officials within the Office of the Administrator include the Deputy Administrator, Associate Deputy Administrator, Associate Deputy Administrator (Technical), Chief Engineer, Chief Information Officer, Chief Scientist, and the Chief Technologist.

3.2.2 Senior Management Council and Executive Council
NASA's Senior Management Council is chaired by the Administrator (or Deputy Administrator if so delegated) and consists of the "Officials-in-Charge" at Headquarters, the Center Directors, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Director. This body provides advice and counsel to the Administrator. It is responsible for developing and approving the Strategic Plan, for evaluating performance against the annual GPRA Performance Plan, and for serving as a forum for the review and discussion of issues affecting Agency management.

In addition to the Senior Management Council, the Administrator has established the Executive Council to address selected issues of a highly critical nature. The Executive Council consists of the senior officials within the Office of the Administrator. The Chief Financial Officer and the General Counsel serve as ex officio advisors. The Administrator may invite other individuals to attend selected Executive Council meetings to address specific topics.

3.2.3 Program Management Council and Capital Investment Council
NASA's Program Management Council and Capital Investment Council are both Agencywide bodies, chaired by the Deputy Administrator or Associate Deputy Administrators.

3.2.3.1 Program Management Council
The Program Management Council is responsible for reviewing new programs proposed by the Enterprise Associate Administrators as part of the annual budget cycle and making recommendations to the Administrator. In addition, the Council reviews the performance of existing programs and projects in accordance with predetermined criteria. Every NASA program must go through a Program Management Council-type review on a periodic basis. This formal review process evaluates cost, schedule, and technical content to ensure that NASA meets its programmatic commitments. The Council's operations and NASA's program review process are detailed in NPD 7120.4 and NPG 7120.5.

3.2.3.2 Capital Investment Council
The Capital Investment Council is responsible for addressing significant Agencywide capital investments and policy issues. It considers investment management decisions, regarding Agency capabilities and infrastructure, that may also serve a broader national interest. This body ensures an Agency perspective for all large, long-term investments that enable the Agency and the Strategic Enterprises to execute their programs. Investment areas include the following:

The Capital Investment Council is the key advisory group to the Administrator in resolving issues, prioritizing activities (capital investments, functional leadership initiatives, and programs), and balancing resources among the Strategic Enterprises. As such, the council resolves — or recommends options to the Administrator on — issues among the Enterprises, functions, and Centers, or combinations thereof, in terms of Agency investment in assets or functional capabilities. This council also reviews Functional/Staff Office leadership strategies and reviews and recommends budget guidance initiating each annual budget cycle. Finally, the Capital Investment Council conducts an annual assessment to ensure that Agencywide investments support the overall goals, objectives, and strategies contained in the Strategic Plan.

The members of the Capital Investment Council are the Deputy Administrator (Chair), Associate Deputy Administrator(s), Chief Financial Officer, Enterprise Associate Administrators, Center Directors (two, 2-year rotating terms), the Associate Administrator for Human Resources and Education, and the Associate Administrator for Management Systems and Facilities. In addition, the General Counsel serves as an ex officio advisor. Others may be invited by the Council Chair to attend selected meetings to address specific topics. The actual processes and operation of the Capital Investment Council are defined in section 4.3.

3.2.4 Advisory Councils of the Office of the Administrator
The Administrator also has chartered the following councils, which are chaired by individuals from the Office of the Administrator and the Chief Financial Officer.

3.2.4.1 Science Council
NASA's Chief Scientist, working with the three science Associate Administrators (Mission to Planet Earth, Space Science, and Life and Microgravity Sciences and Applications), is responsible for developing and overseeing Agencywide science policy, assisting the Administrator in formulating and widely communicating the key science questions for NASA, and providing external advocacy and coordination. The Chief Scientist is also responsible for coordinating science priorities and planning across the Strategic Enterprises.

The Science Council supports the public's interests, coordinates NASA's science activities, promotes effective public communication, and ensures the quality of the Agency's science program. By reporting to the Administrator through the Chief Scientist, this council advises the Administrator on all aspects of science related to NASA's flight and ground programs.

The council serves as a forum for reviewing Agency policies, practices, and issues as they relate to science activities, communicating and discussing interdisciplinary science goals and the national and international policies that guide their development, and developing integrated science plans. The council also participates in the Agency's process of developing recommendations for science priorities and a NASA budget for science; it shares information about operational areas of the Agency's Strategic Enterprises as they relate to the quality and content of the science program.

3.2.4.2 Technology Council
The Technology Council, chaired by the Chief Technologist, advises the Administrator on all aspects of technology related to NASA's flight and ground programs. It coordinates NASA's technology activities, including advanced research and development, and promotes the effective public communication of NASA's technology programs. The Technology Council serves as a forum for reviewing Agency policies, practices, and issues as they relate to technology activities, communicating and discussing technology goals and the national policies that guide their development, and developing integrated technology plans. The council also participates in the Agency's process of developing recommendations for technology priorities and a NASA budget for technology.

3.2.4.3 Engineering Management Council
The Engineering Management Council, chaired by the Chief Engineer, provides a forum for assessing and improving Agency engineering practices, policies, standards, procedures, and capabilities. When requested by the Chair of the Program Management Council or the Chief Engineer, this council conducts or provides support for independent technical reviews of NASA programs and technology/advanced development activities. For further details regarding the Engineering Council, refer to NASA Management Instruction (NMI) 1152.67B.

3.2.4.4 Space Operations Management Council
The Space Operations Management Council, chaired by the Associate Deputy Administrator (Technical), provides a forum for assessing and improving Agency space operations practices, policies, standards, procedures, and capabilities, while providing Agencywide policy guidance for activities associated with NASA operations.

3.2.4.5 Chief Information Officer Council
The Chief Information Officer Council, chaired by the Chief Information Officer, is responsible for establishing Agency-level information technology policies, plans, and standards. This council approves NASA's information technology plans and conducts reviews of proposed major information technology investments required to accomplish these plans. The council also serves as the supporting panel for information technology and provides recommendations on proposed information technology investments to the Capital Investment Council.

With the support of this council, the Chief Information Officer provides vision, leadership, and advice for the Agency in terms of the development of information technology strategies. This individual also serves as the principal advisor to the Administrator and other senior officials on matters pertaining to information technology plans, policies, standards, investments, and assessments as they relate to the return on investment in terms of mission outcomes.

3.2.4.6 Chief Financial Officer Council
The Chief Financial Officer Council, chaired by the Chief Financial Officer, is responsible for improving financial and resource management, strengthening communications, improving coordination, and promoting professional development. The council advises and coordinates the activities of the Agency on such matters as the development and implementation of financial and budget systems, the improvement of the quality of financial and resources information, financial data and information standards, management controls, professional development standards, and any other matters that will facilitate financial and resources management excellence.

3.2.5 Internal Senior Management Boards
To coordinate and support Agencywide management in certain key areas, NASA has established internal Senior Management Boards, which are chaired by one of NASA's Associate Administrators or, in selected cases, by a nominated Agency senior official. Documents that define the charter, scope, purpose, and responsibilities of these boards may be obtained from the responsible Associate Administrator's office. These boards include, but are not limited to, the following:

3.2.6 Functional/Staff Office Associate Administrators
The Headquarters Functional/Staff Office Associate Administrators establish and disseminate policy and leadership strategies within assigned areas of responsibility. They serve in an advisory capacity to the Administrator and work in partnership with the Enterprise Associate Administrators and Center Directors to ensure that Agency activities are being conducted in accordance with all statutory and regulatory requirements, including fiduciary responsibilities. In addition, these individuals advise the Administrator and senior managers of potential efficiencies to be gained through Agencywide standardization and consolidation, as well as coordinate the implementation of approved initiatives.

The Headquarters Functional/Staff Offices include the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Headquarters Operations, Equal Opportunity Programs, Human Resources and Education, the General Counsel, Procurement, External Relations, Management Systems and Facilities, Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, Legislative Affairs, Public Affairs, Safety and Mission Assurance, and Policy and Plans.

Functional/Staff Office activities fall into three major categories: (1) functional leadership to provide policy and standards in functional areas, as well as assessment of performance against those standards; (2) staff to the Administrator; and (3) central services provided across the Agency. Central services are specific, individual capabilities or support activities provided through the Agency-level Functional/Staff Offices to the Strategic Enterprises and Centers. They include staff support, training, internal communications services, and other services. The Functional/Staff Offices perform activities in one, two, or all three categories, depending on office function. Figure 3-3 presents a summary of NASA's Functional/Staff Office roles and responsibilities. To establish a basis for Functional/Staff Office relationships with Enterprises, Centers, and other Functional/Staff Offices, memoranda of agreement may be entered into by and between the Functional/Staff Offices and the organizations to which they provide products and services.

3.2.7 Crosscutting Process Owners
Underlying NASA's Strategic Enterprises and programs are Crosscutting Processes that reflect the manner in which work is completed. These processes are the means by which the Agency delivers its outputs to its customers. All NASA employees, in performing their jobs, participate in one or more of these processes. The processes are interconnecting mechanisms through which the Agency transforms inputs, such as policies and resources, into outputs, such as knowledge and technology, for the benefit of NASA's many constituency groups.

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Figure 3-3. Functional/Staff Office Roles and Responsibilities

Recognizing the importance of these processes, NASA has established "process owners" to lead the improvement or reengineering of each process. In this role, the process owners, who are members of the Senior Management Council, have full authority, responsibility, and accountability for the process and are expected to work with management throughout the Agency to maximize its effective and efficient execution.

Each process owner collaborates with the Enterprise Associate Administrators and other Agency personnel to develop Agency-level performance goals, the standards, strategies, and policies to achieve these goals, and the associated performance metrics to evaluate performance. In addition, it is the responsibility of the process owner to work with management across the Agency to identify ways to improve and/or redesign the processes to achieve increased efficiencies and higher levels of customer satisfaction.

NASA's four Crosscutting Processes and their owners are as follows:

3.3 Enterprise Management
The Enterprise Associate Administrators are responsible for providing stewardship for the Strategic Enterprise and establishing Enterprise strategy ("what, why, and for whom") and cross-program priorities. The Enterprise Associate Administrators serve as both members of the Senior Management Council and heads of their respective Strategic Enterprise.

The Strategic Enterprises are the principal customer interface for NASA. The Enterprise Associate Administrators establish customer requirements and satisfaction levels while providing advocacy. In addition, the Strategic Enterprises provide program definition (requirements, cross-program efficiency, and synergy) and are responsible for Enterprise-focused, long-term institutional investment strategy, integrated Enterprise budget development, program resource allocation and performance assessment, Enterprise-specific policy and standards, and the implementation of NASA policy.

NASA's Centers are responsible for program management and execution. They define "how" Enterprise programs and central services will be developed and delivered to external and internal customers. The Center Directors are responsible for providing institutional management (including capability development and maintenance), managing multi-Enterprise resource requirements, supporting Agency functional leadership and central service activities, and implementing NASA and Strategic Enterprise policies.

3.3.1 Enterprise Associate Administrators/Institutional Program Officers
NASA has established the four Strategic Enterprises to function as primary business areas for implementing NASA's mission and serving customers. Each Enterprise has a unique set of strategic goals, objectives, and implementing strategies that address the requirements of the Agency's primary customers. The Enterprise Associate Administrators determine what the Enterprise does and why, with a specific focus on the requirements of external customers. The Enterprise Associate Administrators are responsible for the following:

Where the Strategic Enterprises are composed of multiple Headquarters organizations, a Lead Associate Administrator has been appointed who is responsible for coordinating policy and requirements guidance for that Enterprise. The Enterprise Associate Administrators may designate an individual at Headquarters to sponsor specific programs in accomplishing the duties defined above. The Associate Administrator for Life and Microgravity Sciences and Applications reports to the NASA Administrator and is a key member of the Human Exploration and Development of Space (HEDS) Enterprise. Although this Associate Administrator is not an Enterprise Associate Administrator, this individual has the full responsibilities of an Enterprise Associate Administrator for activities in the areas of life sciences, microgravity sciences, and associated space product development.

To ensure alignment between programs and institutional capabilities, the Enterprise Associate Administrator with the dominant activity at each Center is designated as an Institutional Program Officer. The Enterprise Associate Administrators serving as Institutional Program Officers must have a broader perspective than their individual Strategic Enterprises. In this management capacity, the Institutional Program Officer works with the Centers and Functional/Staff Offices to accomplish the following:

Each Institutional Program Officer also ensures a broad perspective by using a coordination forum and a process that includes members from all the Enterprises that have work at the Center. This coordination forum is used to approve key policy decisions, approve the Center overhead budgets in a full-cost environment, and make recommendations on proposed capital investments for incorporation into the budget process. The Enterprise Associate Administrators who serve as Institutional Program Officers are presented in Figure 3-4.

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Figure 3-4. Enterprise Leaders and Assigned Centers

Agency-level Functional/Staff Offices provide support to the coordination forum to ensure a broad perspective on individual issues. The Functional/Staff Offices play a key role in institutional management, serving as agencywide leaders in specific areas that are necessary to conduct the Agency's programs. As leaders, they focus on improving processes, stimulating efficiency in the performance of activities related to the programs, and providing consistency across the Strategic Enterprises, often directly affecting the supplier and stakeholder communities. They have insight into the performance of their particular function across all of the Centers, as well as into external organizations performing similar functions and stakeholders who establish Governmentwide policy and requirements.

3.3.2 Centers and Center Directors
NASA's Centers are responsible for implementing the Agency plans, programs, and activities as an integral part of the Strategic Enterprises. "Center missions" and "Centers of Excellence" are two key concepts that play an important role in the management of NASA. The Center Directors serve as both members of the Senior Management Council and as heads of their respective Centers. Under this latter role, they have primary management responsibility in three areas: program management (determining how programs are accomplished), institutional infrastructure (maintaining and enhancing human and physical resources), and Centers of Excellence.

3.3.2.1 Center Missions
Center missions identify the primary concentration of capabilities to support the accomplishment of Strategic Enterprise goals. Each Center has designated areas of mission responsibility, which provide a basis for building human resources capabilities and physical infrastructure in direct support of Enterprise requirements. Enterprise program and project assignments are based on mission designations.

3.3.2.2 Centers of Excellence
Centers of Excellence are focused, Agencywide leadership responsibilities in a specific area of technology or knowledge. They are chartered with a clear definition of their capabilities and boundaries. They are not program entities but rather are fiscally supported by program and/or institutional resources with funding flowing from the Strategic Enterprises. Centers of Excellence are, by their very nature, different in scope and approach.

The designation as a Center of Excellence brings several responsibilities to the Center. It is 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. The Center of Excellence must strategically maintain or increase the Agency's preeminent position in the assigned area of excellence in line with the program requirements of the Strategic Enterprises and the long-term strategic interests of the Agency. Each Center of Excellence is individually defined in a Center of Excellence plan that is reviewed and approved at the Agency level. The Centers are available to any and all of the Strategic Enterprises to provide cost-effective and high-quality service. Figure 3¯5 presents Center of Excellence and Center Mission assignments.

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Figure 3-5. Designated Center of Excellence and Mission Areas

The capabilities to support a Center of Excellence can be distributed across multiple Centers. The Centers of Excellence lead the development of recommendations for consolidating capabilities where it is beneficial to NASA. Agency investment decisions in such areas as facilities development, human resource levels, and skill mix shall consider and support such consolidations. It is anticipated that in many cases consolidation will occur in an evolutionary manner over the next 3 to 5 years.

The Center Director is charged with Center of Excellence planning and implementation, including the determination of critical skill levels, physical capabilities, and facility augmentation across the NASA Centers to maintain the necessary resources to support the particular area of excellence. The Center Director annually assesses the state of Center of Excellence capability. If programs are insufficient to support these critical capabilities, the Center Director is charged with leading the planning to resolve such shortfalls, either by consolidating capabilities or proposing programs to maintain capabilities. If Center of Excellence issues, including plans to cover shortfalls, cannot be resolved at the Strategic Enterprise/ Institutional Program Office level, proposals are submitted for review to the Capital Investment Council by the Center Director through the Institutional Program Officer. The Capital Investment Council, in turn, provides recommendations to the Administrator.

The Capital Investment Council is responsible for ensuring the viability of the Centers of Excellence, consistent with the long-term NASA Strategic Plan. The significant augmentation of a Center of Excellence facility, human resource levels, and skill mix are all Agency investment decisions and, therefore, reside with the Capital Investment Council. This council also addresses proposals to change or designate new Centers of Excellence.

3.3.2.3 Lead Center Directors for Center Missions and Programs
In general, each NASA program is assigned to a Lead Center for implementation. In making such assignments, the Enterprise Associate Administrators will consider Center mission and Center of Excellence responsibilities. Lead Center designations for NASA's current programs and processes will be listed in Appendix A of the World Wide Web version of this document. The Lead Center Directors have full program management responsibility and authority and, thus, full accountability for assigned missions or programs, ensuring that they are being managed to agreed-on schedule milestones, budget guidelines, technical requirements, and all safety and reliability standards.

The Enterprise Associate Administrator establishes specific performance-level requirements for each program (refer to NPG 7120.5 for details). The level and number of Enterprise Associate Administrator controlled requirements should be held to an absolute minimum, consistent with external customer, statutory, and regulatory requirements. The Enterprise Associate Administrator must configure each program so that it can be efficiently and effectively accomplished within the framework of Lead Center assignments. The Lead Center Directors establish supporting assignments for other Centers (Supporting Centers) considering Center mission and Center of Excellence responsibilities. The Center Directors delegate management responsibility to the Program Managers who report to them.

3.3.2.4 Program and Project Managers
The Program Manager ensures the most expeditious and cost-effective implementation approach for a program, while considering Center of Excellence and Center mission assignments. Each Program Manager is designated by and reports to the Lead Center Director. If individual project elements exist within a program, they are managed by Project Managers who report to the Program Manager. A general model for the roles and responsibilities for Strategic Enterprise program management is shown in Figure 3-6. For programs and projects covered under NPD 7120.4 and NPG 7120.5, refer to these documents for the detailed responsibilities and procedures for Program and Project Managers.

3.3.2.5 Science Management
The responsibilities for the management of scientific research programs are shared by the Chief Scientist, the Enterprise Associate Administrators, the Center Scientists, and the Program and Project Managers at the appropriate Center. In addition to the responsibilities discussed in section 3.3.1., the three science Enterprise Associate Administrators — Mission to Planet Earth, Space Science, and Life and Microgravity Sciences and Applications — oversee scientific research programs (Figure 3-7).

NASA's scientific research programs are based on open peer-reviewed competitions that involve the Centers and external organizations. As a result, the science Enterprise Associate Administrators' roles in science research include Implementation Planning and the selection and ongoing evaluation of research and mission proposals.

NASA's Center Scientists are involved in enabling scientific research, including serving as project scientists and developing instruments. In addition, the Center Scientists conduct research to maintain their scientific excellence and to retain their capabilities to be creditable "enablers." While flight and ground systems development and operations management responsibilities are delegated to the field, scientific research management remains a Headquarters responsibility. The Enterprise Associate Administrators maintain the capability within their respective offices to interact with the non-NASA science communities, establish science priorities, issue NASA Research Announcements and Announcements of Opportunity, manage the peer review of proposals, select proposals to be funded, oversee research, assess performance, and ensure that research results are broadly communicated.

3.3.2.6 Center Functional Delegations
In addition to program management responsibilities, the Centers can also be assigned Agency-level functional specialty areas, when it is determined that certain operational responsibilities can be more appropriately executed at a Center. The Agency-level Functional Staff Office (or the Office of the Administrator, depending on the specialty area) selects the Center that can best execute the function on behalf of NASA. The delegation of authority for the conduct of these responsibilities is negotiated and documented with a memorandum of understanding (MOU), signed by the Functional/Staff Office Associate Administrator (or appropriate Office of the Administrator official), the Institutional Program Officer, and the Center Director. The MOU contains provisions for direction and funding flow, as well as review of performance. As the delegated function matures at a Center, greater latitude to perform that function may be granted.

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Figure 3-6. Enterprise Program Management Roles and Responsbilities

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Figure 3-7. Science Management Roles and Responsibilities

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