The Administration's guidelines and principles for executing the Space Act are laid out in a series of policy directives. We have ensured that our vision, mission, and programs are consistent with both the President's directives for aeronautics and space exploration and the statutes contained in the Space Act.
External Customers. The Concept underlying the NASA Strategic Plan is our commitment to satisfying our external customers. We recognize that our requirements cannot be self-generated. Rather, we must meet our customers' needs and address changes in their needs over time. Our performance in carrying out programs-that is, our success as an Agency-must be judged by our customers, not by ourselves.
As a Government agency, we see the following groups as our external customers and stakeholders (see figure, page 5):
Strategic Enterprises. This NASA Strategic Plan establishes a framework for making management decisions by separating the Agency's programs into five externally focused Strategic Enterprises through which we implement our mission and communicate with our external customers. These five Strategic Enterprises are as follows:
These Enterprises identify, at the most fundamental level, what we do and for whom. They focus us on the ends, not the means, of our endeavors. Each of our Strategic Enterprises is analogous to a strategic business unit, employed by private-sector companies to focus on and respond to their customers' needs. Each Strategic Enterprise has a unique set of strategic goals, objectives, and strategies that address the requirements of its primary external customers. Because each Enterprise must align its programmatic thrusts with its own customers' needs, each requires its own individual strategy. However, each Enterprise must ensure synergy with the strategies of the other Enterprises and support the Agency's common goals.
Although NASA's broad mission is driven by the Space Act, the specific programs that are conducted within our Enterprises, and the priorities placed on them, are driven by the directives of the Administration and Congress. As such, the programmatic content of our Enterprises changes over time as we respond to shifts in customer needs as well as domestic and international policy priorities. The specific content and prioritization of activities for our Enterprises will be presented in their own Strategic Plans. The development of a balanced set of Agency priorities among the Enterprises will lay the groundwork for the budget process.
Crosscutting Processes. Underlying the activities of the Agency are critical processes that NASA uses to achieve its mission. These processes are the means by which we develop and deliver our products and services to our customers. All NASA employees, in performing their jobs, participate in one or more of these processes. These processes are the interconnecting mechanisms through which we transform inputs, such as policies and resources, into outputs, such as knowledge and technology, for the benefit of our many customers.
Several of NASA's Crosscutting Processes directly address what products and services we produce and how we develop and deliver products and services to our external customers. These processes, which include the Development and Use of Aerospace Capabilities, the Generation of Knowledge, the Communication of Knowledge, and the Development and Commercialization of Technology, are primarily implemented by the Agency across its Strategic Enterprises.
Other processes focus on activities that provide both critical capabilities to our internal customers and external coordination with oversight and audit agencies of the Administration and Congress. These processes enable NASA and our Strategic Enterprises to meet external customers' requirements in the most effective and efficient manner and maintain continued public trust in NASA by ensuring internal understanding and compliance with applicable directions, policies, statutes, and regulations. These processes include Strategic Planning and Management, Management of Resources, and the provision of Information Systems and Communication capabilities.
NASA is currently defining these processes and their subprocesses, analyzing how well they are implemented, and developing ways to improve and/or redesign them to achieve increased efficiencies and higher levels of customer satisfaction. The definition, analysis, and improvement of these processes are at the foundation of our efforts to revolutionize NASA as detailed in the "Strategies to Revolutionize NASA" section located at the end of this Plan. The definition, scope, implementation, and management responsibilities for our Crosscutting Processes will be presented in the Agency's Strategic Management System Handbook and other appropriate Agency documents.
NASA's Centers of Excellence
NASA's Field Installations. One of the most important changes currently being made by NASA is the identification and implementation of defined roles and responsibilities for each Field Installation. As part of our ongoing activities to reduce overlap and streamline administrative and program functions across the Agency, NASA's Senior Management has established areas of excellence and specific missions for each NASA Center and Headquarters.
Each "Center of Excellence," as shown above, represents a focused Agencywide capability in a recognized area of technical competence in which a Center is in a position of preeminence within the Agency, if not worldwide.
The "Center Missions," which are presented in the five Strategic Enterprise sections, identify the primary Center missions and the Centers with Agencywide management responsibility for supporting the Enterprises. Other Centers may support a primary Center in carrying out an Enterprise's missions. Their detailed support role will be presented in the plans of the individual Enterprises.