Mission not quite accomplished

One of the primary goals for Sean O’Keefe when he took the reins of NASA a little over three years ago was to reform its finances to restore its credibility with Congress and others. While O’Keefe made considerable progress towards that goal, as he leaves there appears to be considerable work left for his successor. The GAO included NASA’s contract management system in its comprehensive list of “high-risk” government programs. (Turn to page 74 for the discussion about NASA; see also this Orlando Sentinel article.) The GAO notes that the agency has made progress in recent years, but still must do more to fully implement its integrated financial management system, get more information from contractors on the performance on their contacts, and improve cost estimation processes. One thing to keep in mind before putting too much blame on O’Keefe for not fixing all the problems: he had only three years to address a problem the GAO first identified as high risk back in 1990.

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