This probably won’t help NASA win more money

Bloomberg News reports that a GAO report scheduled for release today finds that NASA has approved nearly the maximum amount of bonus payments on cost-plus contracts, even for those programs that fell far behind schedule and/or suffered cost overruns. “NASA paid most of the available fee on all of the contracts we reviewed – including on projects that showed cost increases, schedule delays and technical problems,” the report found, according to Bloomberg. In one example cited in the article, Boeing won 92 percent of its potential bonus—$425.3 million—on its ISS work despite major schedule and budget problems. Raytheon and Lockheed Martin are also cited in the report for large bonus payments for troubled problems. House Science and Technology Committee chairman Bart Gordon, who requested the report, told Bloomberg that “NASA has a problem that needs fixing.”

8 comments to This probably won’t help NASA win more money

  • D. Messier

    Sounds about normal. The Administration is good at rewarding big companies regardless of performance. Look at what the Parsons Corporation did in building the Iraqi police academy. A first-class frak up, but Parsons got paid anyway. The Administration and the repub Congress looked the other way.

  • Alistair

    Agree, totally typical. Same thing happens for military contracts. People get fired from companies if they don’t get the maximum bonus payment. Congress needs to step in and severely restrict bonus payments….oh wait that’s the same congress that takes legal bribes to get reelected… nevermind.

  • You guys are nothing but a bunch of conspiracy theorists.

    None of this stuff ever happens in real life.

  • Kevin Parkin

    Perhaps it would be helpful if NASA structured future contracts to include conditions under which bonuses are not awarded. The administrator or other senior officials could have the power to override those conditions, but at least it would set the default outcome correctly.

    Just a thought.

  • I don’t think this is the Administration doing something nefarious. If you look at the history of most gov’t agencies over multiple Administrations, you’ll find that very few hold contractors’ feet to the fire.

    There was a good article in the NYTimes a couple of weeks ago about how through the Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush II Administrations, the gov’t has contracted out more of its activities to contractors. In essence, the contractor has become a co-worker. And dinging your co-worker is tough, something all of us can acknowledge. So, most of the time the agency just ok’s the bonus.

    After all, it’s just money, and allot less hassle than not issuing the bonus and dealing with all of the ramifications that would follow.

  • D. Messier

    I don’t think they’re doing anything competent, either. This government has been much cozier with business interests. Much more willing to give them whatever they want, let massive contracts with no competitive bidding, and look the other way when there are problems.

  • L. Kerr

    Anyone who is surprised by this has never worked in government contracts. It’s not a conspiracy, just plain old fashioned back-scratching & greed.

  • […] and specifications, and pays contractors for their costs plus a profit based on performance (“cost-plus” contracting). In the last ten years, government has started experimenting with performance-based contracting […]

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